Introduction:- Right to Travel
Right to Travel: The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi’s most recent decision may brighten your day if you have a wanderlust and enjoy seeing new locations.
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We are all nomads in the modern world, as it is stated, seeking purpose in an otherwise meaningless existence.
One of the six freedoms listed in Article 19(1) of the Indian Constitution is the freedom of movement. The freedom of movement has two dimensions, viz, internal (right to move inside the country) and external (right to move out of the country and the right to come back to the country).
Only the first dimension is covered under Article 19 while Article 21 deals with the second dimension (right to life and personal liberty).
On February 3, the Delhi High Court granted permission for a man convicted in a case brought under the Prevention of Corruption Act to travel to Dubai, stating that the ability to travel is a valuable Fundamental right that may only be restricted in “exceptional circumstances.”
A Fundamental Right
Every citizen of India has the right to unrestricted movement across the nation’s territory under Article 19(1)(d) of the Constitution.
Only governmental activity, not private person action, is prohibited under this right.
Additionally, it is only accessible to firm shareholders and nationals, not to foreigners or other legal entities like corporations or companies, etc.
Internal (right to move within the nation) and exterior (right to go abroad) movements are both aspects of freedom of movement (right to move out of the country and right to come back to the country).
Only the first dimension is protected under Article 19. Article 21 deals with the second dimension (Right to life and personal liberty).
According to Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, no one may be deprived of their life or personal freedom without following the legal process.
Article 21 of the Constitution is said to provide the rights to leave the country, to go abroad, and to return to India. The petitioner in Satwant Singh V Assistant Passport Officer, New Delhi, AIR 1967 SC 1836 was an Indian national.
He regularly had to travel overseas for work purposes. His passport was impounded by an order from the Indian government, preventing him from leaving the country.
According to Article 21 of the Constitution, the petitioner objected to the order, arguing that it violated his personal freedom and rights and that it could only be revoked in accordance with legal procedures.
Since a passport is a need for international travel, seizing one is a breach of Article 21’s guarantee of personal liberty. Therefore, in order to govern the ability to go abroad, the Parliament passed the Passport Act of 1967.
J. Bhagwati held that the freedom to go abroad is a fundamental human right in Maneka Gandhi V. Union of India, AIR 1978 SC 597. At the same time, it enables the person to develop and enhance his talent.
As a result, it is believed that our birth as human beings establishes that we are endowed with a number of basic and essential rights. Similarly, everyone should be able to exercise their right to freedom of movement.
Recent Judgement of Hon’ble High Court of Delhi
The Delhi High Court has ruled that the pending appeal of a sentence after it has been suspended cannot be a “exceptional circumstance” under which a right can be restricted. The court noted that the ability to travel is an important Fundamental Right.
In the light of this, the freedom to travel is an important fundamental right that should only be restricted under unusual situations.
The single-judge panel of Justice Jasmeet Singh stated that the pending status of an appeal in cases where the sentence has been suspended does not fall under the definition of “exceptional circumstances.”
The Delhi High Court stated that as the ability to travel is a crucial fundamental right and a sentence’s suspension cannot be considered a “exceptional situation,” this right cannot be restricted during the appeals process.
“In my opinion, the ability to travel is an important basic right that should only be restricted in extreme cases. The single bench of Justice Jasmeet Singh stated, “Pending an appeal when the sentence has been postponed does not come under the ambit of an unusual situation.
The court granted permission for one Nitya Nand Gautam, who was convicted in a case filed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, to visit his daughter in Dubai for one month, from February 15 to March 15.
The court approved the application on the condition that he pay a personal bond and surety bond in the amount of Rs 1 lakh each. It was also stipulated that he provide the investigating officer his mobile number, which had to be kept active at all times.
After his daughter sent him an email on December 9, 2022, asking him to visit her in Dubai, Gautam recently made a request to travel overseas for one month.
The ability to travel internationally is restricted in accordance with the “process set by legislation”. Restrictions must adhere to the fundamentals of natural justice and be fair, just, and reasonable.
The Constitution doesn’t explicitly list the situations that might warrant a restriction on the freedom to travel abroad.
The Passports Act of 1967’s Section 10(3), however, outlines specific situations under which the passport authorities may cancel, revoke, alter, or imprison the passport or travel document.
There are several situations when it’s possible the passport was obtained dishonestly or was obtained unlawfully.
A few of the most significant occurrences are as follows:
- Where the cancellation of a passport is based on India’s sovereignty and integrity, national security, good relations with any other government, or the interests of the general public.
- When the passport bearer has been found guilty by an Indian court of a crime involving moral corruption and is subsequently sentenced to a minimum of two years in jail.
- According to the Passports Act, a court that has found the passport bearer guilty or confirmed their conviction may take action to withdraw their passport.
- While a criminal case involving an alleged crime committed by the passport bearer is ongoing in India.
- When a court issues a summons for the foreign passport holder’s attendance or arrest, the court forbids the person’s departure from India by order.
- If one or more of the requirements for acquiring the passport or travel document were broken.
The Supreme Court has declared the ability to travel internationally to be a basic right, making it an important right. It is suggested that Article 21 be followed by a new article, Article 21A, with the heading “21A. (1) Everyone has the right to leave Indian territory and everyone who lives in India has the right to come back. (2) The State may enact laws imposing reasonable limits in the interests of India’s sovereignty and integrity, friendly relations with other countries, and the general welfare without being hindered by section (1).
Contributed by Sanal Pillai
Edited by Imtiaz Ullah