Sunday, August 14, 2022

Delhi Court directs Aakar Patel not to leave country without its permission

A Delhi court on Friday directed the chair of Amnesty International India Board Aakar Patel not to leave the country without its prior permission and stayed an order directing the CBI to withdraw a Look Out Circular (LOC) issued against him in a case relating to the alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).
Special Judge Santosh Snehi Mann passed the order on a petition filed by the CBI seeking revision of the order passed on Thursday by a magisterial court which also asked the agency to apologise to Patel.
The judge said it was necessary that due opportunity was given to Patel to file a formal reply if any to CBI’s revision application.
“In the meantime, it is necessary that the cause is not frustrated. During the course of arguments, it was pointed out by Nikhil Goel (advocate for the CBI) that respondent made an attempt to leave the country yesterday,” the court said.
It stayed the operation of the order passed by the trial court on Thursday regarding the direction to the CBI director for compliance with regards to the observations made in the order regarding “written apology.”
In the order, the court said “this is also with regard to the condition that respondent (Patel) will not leave the country without the permission of this court. Put up for reply and arguments next week.”
The court posted the matter for further proceedings on April 12.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Pawan Kumar on Thursday passed the order and directed the probe agency to withdraw the LOC immediately, apologise to the activist and file a compliance report by April 30.
Patel, meanwhile, was stopped again last night at an airport and was informed that the CBI had not withdrawn the LOC.
The court had noted that apart from the monetary loss, the applicant had suffered mental harassment as he was not allowed to visit at the scheduled time.
“The applicant can approach the court or other forum for the monetary compensation. This court is of the considered opinion that in this case, a written apology from the head of the CBI ie. Director, CBI acknowledging the lapse on the part of his subordinate, to the applicant would go a long way in not only healing the wounds of the applicant but also upholding the trust and confidence of the public in the premier institution,” the ACMM had said.
Patel’s application had further sought the court’s permission to visit the US to take up his foreign assignment and lecture series organised by various universities till May 30.
It had submitted that Patel was stopped by immigration authorities at the Bangalore International Airport on Wednesday while he was boarding a flight to the US.
The application claimed that the action was taken despite an order by a Gujarat court granting him permission to travel abroad.

SourcePTI

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