Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court: Sanjeev Kumar, J., allowed the petitioner, who was involved in NDPS case, to travel abroad to pursue higher studies. Noticing that the charges against the petitioner were not grave, the Bench observed, 

“The petitioner cannot be denied the right to go abroad to pursue studies only on the ground that he is involved in a criminal case. Looking to the gravity of charge and the young age of the petitioner and his quest to acquire quality education, the request made appears to be genuine.”

The instant revision petition was filed to challenge the order of Additional Munsiff (Forest)

Judicial Magistrate whereby the petitioner’s application seeking permit to allow him to travel abroad to pursue higher studies was dismissed.

The case against the petitioner was that he was about 60/70 grams charas was recovered from his vehicle and an FIR was registered against him under Sections 8/20/29 of Narcotic Drugs And Psychotropic Substances (NDPS), Act, 1985. The Petitioner was granted bail by the Trial Court on the condition that he should not leave the territorial jurisdiction of UT of Jammu and Kashmir during bail period. Subsequently, the petitioner filed another application before the Trial Court seeking permission to travel abroad to pursue higher studies which application came to be dismissed on the ground that the petitioner was named as an accused in a case under NDPS Act and there was high probability that he would evade process of the Court if allowed to travel abroad.

The petitioner submitted that he was a 20 year old boy who passed his class 12th examination in the year 2020 securing 86% marks. It was further submitted by the petitioner that he intended to pursue his studies abroad and had received offer letter from the University of York, London. The petitioner urged that he was ready to give an undertaking to the effect that he will cooperate with the investigation and will appear before the Police or the Court as and when required still the Trial Court had denied to grant such permission putting his career to irreparable loss.

Noticing that charge sheet had not been filed and there was likelihood that the trial would take some time to start, moreover, the charas recovered weighed 60/70 gms which fell within the definition of “small quantity”, the Bench stated that in such a situation, the charge against the petitioner could not be said to be that serious as would justify putting fetters on his right to pursue higher studies abroad.

Hence, considering that the petitioner was ready to give an undertaking to appear as and when required by the Police for the purpose of investigation or trial, the revision petition was allowed and the impugned order along with the order of conditional bail was set aside. The petitioner was directed to deposit a security of 1 lakh rupees.

However, before travelling abroad, the petitioner was directed to file an undertaking before the Trial Court giving detail of the place where he was going to travel along with his contact number and address and nominate a lawyer to appear and receive processes on his behalf from the police and the Court. [Jivitesh Syal v. UT of Jammu and Kashmir, 2021 SCC OnLine J&K 645, decided on 03-09-2021]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Appearance by:

For the Petitioner: Ayushman Kotwal, Advocate

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