Right to travel abroad is a basic human right: SC

A view of the Supreme Court of India in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The right to travel abroad is a genuine and basic human right like marriage and family, the Supreme Court has observed in a recent order.

“The right to travel abroad is an important basic human right for it nourishes independent and self-determining creative character of the individual, not only by extending his freedoms of action, but also by extending the scope of his experience,” a Bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao said in its order.

The court was hearing an appeal filed by an IPS officer who was refused permission to take a private trip abroad to visit relatives as he had a departmental enquiry pending against him.

Satish Chandra Verma, Inspector General of Police/Principal, Central Training College, Central Reserve Police Force at Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu said he was denied permission despite the fact that he had no criminal case against him.

Yet both the Central Administrative Tribunal, Chennai Bench, and the Madras High Court denied him his right. The High Court upheld the tribunal’s position that he cannot travel abroad without vigilance clearance.

Setting aside the order, the Supreme Court referred to its Maneka Gandhi judgment upholding the right to travel and the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case of 1958 Kent vs Dulles. The Bench quoted the majority opinion of Justice William O. Douglas in the latter case which said “freedom to go abroad has much social value and represents the basic human right of great significance”.

The court said that this basic human right “also extends to private life; marriage, family and friendship”. These are part of human nature which can be “rarely affected through a refusal of freedom to go abroad”.

“We are of the opinion that pendency of departmental proceedings cannot be a ground to prevent the appellant from travelling abroad,” the court ordered.

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Printable version | Mar 3, 2021 5:52:42 PM |

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