Foreign national held for smuggling foreign currency granted permission to visit native place: The High Court of Delhi

Lady aged 54, caught in currency smuggling case allowed by the Delhi High Court to visit her native place keeping in view several factors including age, medical conditions and family requirements, on deposit of a certain amount and promise to return unconditionally after 6 months duration. The aforementioned was the act of courtesy displayed by the Delhi High Court in the case of Chen Hsui Yun v. Directorate of Revenue Intelligence [CRL.REV. P. 137/2021] by the single judge bench comprising Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar on 11th June 2021.

The facts of the case are as follows. It was alleged in a secret information received that five passengers of Chinese origin who were travelling to Hong Kong from IGI Airport, New Delhi would be carrying huge amount of huge quantity of foreign currency on their persons or in hand baggage or in their checked-in-baggage, and would attempt to smuggle out the same. It is alleged that the respondent officers reached at T-3 IGI Airport and intercepted the above mentioned 5 passengers at Boarding Gate No. 15. It is alleged that their checked-in-baggage was searched and a total of USD 4,49,600 equivalent to Indian Rs.3,25,51,040 was recovered. It was alleged that the petitioner was found in possession of foreign currency equivalent to Rs.65,00,000/- in her check-in-baggage. This was followed by the petitioner being granted bail by the CMM Patiala House Courts. In another application, petitioner sought release of her passport which was initially granted by the CMM Patiala House by was later revoked by the learned District and Sessions Judge, PHC, New Delhi, and vide order dated 10.7.2020 about which the petitioner remained unaware. It is further averred that the petitioner, thereafter, filed an application seeking permission to go abroad to her native country for a period of six months as the petitioner is a foreign national, and is facing immense financial hardship learned CMM, PHC, in view of the facts and circumstances of the case, allowed the petitioner to visit abroad for a period of six months on certain conditions. The said order of learned CMM was challenged by the Department-respondent before the District and Sessions Judge, Delhi and was set aside.  In the reply, it was contended by the counsel for respondent that there is no infirmity or illegality in the impugned order and that petitioner is a foreigner so she has no interest in India and in case the petitioner is allowed to go abroad she would not return India to face trial. It was further submitted that in any event, if the order of learned CMM is upheld and the petitioner is allowed to travel abroad, the petitioner may be directed to deposit in cash or FDR for an amount at least 50% of the foreign currency in INR recovered from the petitioner. The counsel further denied that the right to travel is inbuilt fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. On the other handed it was submitted by the counsel for petitioner that petitioner is a lady aged about 54 years and her husband, who is aged about 64 years, is suffering from various old aged ailments and requires regular check up and care. He submitted that the sister of the petitioner has met with an accident and is in serious condition in the hospital. It is further submitted by the counsel for the petitioner that respondent is not averse to the petitioner going abroad but subject to deposit 50% of the amount of recovered foreign currency from the petitioner, which is onerous.

After perusal of the facts, arguments and the orders of various authorities, it was declared by the learned Court that “Therefore, in my opinion, justice would be met if the petitioner, in the facts and circumstances discussed herein above, is allowed to travel abroad to her country, i.e. Taiwan, for a period of six months i.e. from 12.06.2021 to 11.12.2021 on deposit of amount of Rs.15,00,000/- lakhs in the form of an FDR in the name of Registrar General of this Court, and also subject to the certain conditions.”

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