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Journalist and human rights activist Aakar Patel (File photo)
Journalist and human rights activist Aakar Patel (File photo)

Delhi Court directs Aakar Patel not to leave India without prior permission

ANI | Updated: Apr 08, 2022 17:56 IST

New Delhi [India], April 8 (ANI): A Sessions court on Friday ordered activist Aakar Patel not to leave the country without its prior permission while hearing the revision petition of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against the order to withdraw the LookOut Circular issued against Patel.
The Court also stayed an order directing the CBI director to file an apology.
The matter was heard by the additional session Judge Santosh Snehi Mann on Friday. He said, "It was necessary that due opportunity be given to file a formal reply if any."
The court stayed the operation of the order passed by the magistrate court on Thursday regarding the direction to the CBI director for compliance with regards to the observations made in the order regarding 'written apology'.
Appearing for CBI, Advocate Nikhil Goel submitted that no time was given to them to challenge the order.
The Sessions Court, after taking notes of the submission on the revision petition, sought the response of Aakar Patel and listed the matter to be taken up on April 12 for reply and arguments.
A Special Magistrate Court on Thursday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to withdraw the Look Out Circular (LOC) issued against journalist and human rights activist Aakar Patel in connection with the violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).
Despite the Court order on Thursday for withdrawal of the CBI Look Out Circular (LOC) against Aakar Patel, he was prevented from flying out of the Bengaluru International Airport late on Thursday night, he also tweeted in this regard.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pawan Kumar of Rouse Avenue Court on Thursday said, "Considering the facts and circumstances of this case and the law laid down by the High Court of Delhi, this court is of the considered view that the LOC is liable to be set aside, therefore, the CBI is directed to withdraw/recall the LOC issued against the accused immediately."

In the present scenario, the Director of CBI is expected to sensitize the officials who are part of the issuance of LOC. It is further expected that accountability of the officials concerned, in this case, be fixed, also said the court.
The CBI was directed to take the appropriate action and give intimation to the authority concerned regarding the same. A compliance report of the withdrawal of LOC will be filed on April 8.
"The fundamental rights of any person can not be curtailed without any procedure established by law. Apparently, the LOC in the present case was issued in violation of the guidelines laid down by the High Court of Delhi and office memorandum of the concerned Ministry," the Court said.
During the arguments, the CBI opposed the application saying that the charge sheet was filed without arrest and that the application was moved in anticipation that Patel will flee from justice, there was the likelihood of the accused fleeing from justice if he was allowed to leave the country.
Appearing for Aakaar Patel, advocate Tanveer Ahmed Mir had submitted that citizens' rights cannot be railroaded by an agency like this. The time has come that we should send a suitable reply to law enforcement/ agencies and society. He clearly said that the CBI Investigation Officer has even failed to inform the applicant about the issuance of LOC against him.
Patel, who was stopped at Bengaluru Airport from boarding a flight to the United States on Wednesday, moved the court sought removal and withdrawal of LOC issued against him.
The former chief of Amnesty International India took to their Twitter account, which is not verified, to tweet: "Stopped from leaving India at Bangalore airport. Am on the exit control list. Got passport back through court order specifically for this trip to the US."
Notably, in September 2020, Patel was booked under Sections 153 A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence); 295 A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings); spreading a fake message with the intent to incite, any class or community of persons to commit any offence against any other class or community under 505 (1) B, 505 (1) C; Defamation under Sections 499, and 500 of the Indian Penal Code for three of his tweets against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and Ghanchi caste.
In June 2020, an FIR was registered against Patel under Sections 117 (abetting commission of an offence by the public or by more than ten persons), 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), and 505-1-B (intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the JC Nagar police station over his controversial comments on social media under charges pertaining to provocation with intent to cause riots. (ANI)