A Delhi court recently made an important ruling, affirming that an individual’s right to travel abroad is a valuable fundamental right that should only be restricted in exceptional circumstances. Special Judge Anil Antil delivered this verdict while granting permission to a businessman accused of a Rs 135 crore bank loan fraud to travel to the United States for his son’s graduation ceremony. The court allowed Raman Sethi to travel from June 12 to June 30, emphasizing that he must not tamper with evidence or attempt to influence witnesses.
Upholding Fundamental Rights in Travel
The judge highlighted the significance of the right to travel abroad and emphasized that it can only be curtailed under exceptional circumstances. He stated that the existence of a pending case against an individual does not disqualify them from enjoying their fundamental right to travel according to their desire. The court’s decision reiterates the importance of safeguarding this right while balancing it with the need for legal proceedings.
Background of the Case
Raman Sethi, the accused in the bank loan fraud case, had previously traveled to the UAE from May 6 to 12, 2023, and had returned successfully. In his application, Sethi claimed that despite being the whistleblower in the present case, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had issued a Look Out Circular (LOC) against him. The fraud case was initiated in response to a complaint filed by Union Bank of India against PCL Oil & Solvents Ltd, a company, and its directors/guarantors for loan default. The CBI alleged that the accused company and individuals had misappropriated funds, totaling Rs 135.5 crore, between 2012 and 2020 by manipulating the company’s financial records.
CBI’s Opposition and Early Stage Investigation
The CBI, responsible for investigating the case, opposed Sethi’s application to travel abroad, arguing that the investigation was still in its early stages. However, the court took into account the accused’s fundamental right to travel and the absence of exceptional circumstances warranting restriction. As a result, the court allowed Sethi to travel to the United States for his son’s graduation while cautioning him against interfering with the legal process.
This ruling by the Delhi court reaffirms the significance of the right to travel abroad as a fundamental right, ensuring that it is protected unless compelling circumstances dictate otherwise.
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