Right to travel abroad is part of fundamental right to dignity, personal liberty: Supreme Court

This right cannot be merely illusory, says Bench

October 24, 2020 05:22 am | Updated 05:22 am IST - NEW DELHI

The Supreme Court of India. File

The Supreme Court of India. File

The Supreme Court has held that the right to travel abroad is an inseverable part of the fundamental right to dignity and personal liberty.

This right cannot be merely “illusory”. A recent judgment by a Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud decided the “interesting” question whether a court can make the ban on travelling abroad a condition for granting bail.

The appellant, Parvez Noordin Lokhandwalla, wanted leeway to visit the U.S. to revalidate his green card.

The competent court is empowered to exercise its discretion to impose “any condition” for the grant of bail under Sections 437 (3) and 439 (1) (a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, Justice Chandrachud noted.

However, this discretion of the court has to be “guided by the need to facilitate the administration of justice, secure the presence of the accused and ensure that the liberty of the accused is not misused to impede the investigation, overawe the witnesses or obstruct the course of justice.”

The nature of the risk has to be carefully weighed by the courts individually in each case for permission to travel abroad while out on bail. The conditions for the grant of permission have to balance both the public interest in the enforcement of criminal justice with the rights of the accused.

“The human right to dignity and the protection of constitutional safeguards should not become illusory by the imposition of conditions which are disproportionate to the need to secure the presence of the accused, the proper course of investigation and eventually to ensure a fair trial,” Justice Chandrachud cautioned.

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