The Bombay High Court has refused permission to an NRI husband for renewing his passport in Canada, insisting on his personal presence in a pending domestic violence case in India. The court has also directed that a ticket be issued to the husband under the ‘Vande Bharat’ scheme on priority basis so that he can come here and complete his formalities.
Nahar Sanjay Joshi, originally hails from Ahmedabad and is an NRI currently based out of Canada. Joshi is a software engineer employed with Thornhill Medical, engaged in the production of emergency mobile medical devices including ventilators, which falls under the essential service categories.
He has been embroiled in a domestic violence case in Pune and his passport is soon going to expire on August 15. A division bench of Justices RD Dhanuka and VG Bisht of the Bombay High Court said they were not inclined to permit Joshi to renew his passport and he was required to come to India to do the same.
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Due to this, Joshi’s counsel Tapan Thatte requested court that his client may be granted a ticket under the special air scheme, since there are no other regular flights operating to India due to the corona pandemic. Also, Thatte told court that since Joshi was an Indian with Canadian citizenship, he would not be eligible to get a ticket himself under the government run Vande Bharat option.
Domestic Violence Matter
Public Prosecutor Deepak Thakare told court that they had already filed chargesheet in Joshi’s case last year which was pending with Pune police. The husband has been accused of charges under domestic violence and criminal intimidation under:
- Section 498-A
- Section 323
- Section 504
- Section 506 Part II of the Indian Penal Code
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Thakare further told court, that Joshi had been issued several notices, however, he was yet to appear in court.
Advocate Roopenshu Pratap Singh, Delhi High Court & Supreme Court shared his thoughts in general with regards to pending matrimonial litigations for NRI Husbands. He quoted,
Why don’t complaints of NRIs ever get registered in the country of matrimonial home (Canada in this case)? We have witnessed many such cases so far, where several wives return to India and take advantage of Women Centric Laws.
This puts pressure on the NRI husband to be present in India where he does not reside. NRI husbands are also subjected to mental harassment due to litigation filed in India and not the country of residence after marriage.
In all such matrimonial cases, Indian government should initiate a separate window for joining the investigation under 41a CRPC notice via video conferencing for people living abroad, because if they fail to join investigation physically, Look Our Circular (LOC) & Non-Bailable Warrant (NBW) gets issued against them.
Heard learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner and learned Public Prosecutor appearing for the respondent -State.
2. By this petition, the petitioner seeks permission to renew his passport bearing No. XXX whilst being beyond India after observing other procedural mandates as required by the Passports Act, 1967.
3. The learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner states that his client is on permanent job in Canada. His passport is expiring on 15th August, 2020. It would be thus not possible for the petitioner XXX to remain present personally for the purpose of renewal of his passport in India.
4. Mr. Thakare, learned Public Prosecutor, on the other hand, states that the prosecution has already filed a chargesheet in pursuance of FIR No. XXX of 2019 dated 14th May, 2019 under Sections 498-A, 323, 504 and 506 Part II of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 registered with Sinhagad Police Station against the petitioner. He further states that several notices under Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure,1973 were issued against the petitioner. However, there is no compliance with the said notices by the petitioner.
5. It is not in dispute that the petitioner has not been granted bail so far. The chargesheet is already filed pursuant to FIR dated 14th May, 2019 against the petitioner. We are thus not inclined to grant permission to apply for renewal of the passport whilst being beyond India. The petitioner will have to remain present personally before the concerned Court for seeking permission for renewal of his passport.
6. At this stage, learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner made a request that to enable his client to remain present in India before 15th August, 2020 for the purpose of renewal of his passport, he may be issued air ticket under ‘Vande Mataram’ scheme by the airline immediately.
7. There is no merit in this petition. We therefore pass the following order :
(a) Criminal Writ Petition-ASDB-LD-VC No. 112 of 2020 is dismissed. However, it is made clear that the petitioner shall be issued a ticket on priority basis from Canada to Mumbai under ‘Vande Mataram’ scheme by the concerned airline. The concerned airline to act on an authenticated copy of this order;
(b) No order as to costs.
8. This order will be digitally signed by the Personal Assistant of this Court. Associate of this Court is permitted to forward the parties copy of this order by e-mail. All concerned to act on digitally signed copy of this order.
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