Look out Circulars (LOC)

The Issue

The Punjab and Haryana High Court gave the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Bureau of Immigration (BOI) omnibus instructions to serve a copy of an issued LOC to the affected person, state the reasons for issuing the LOC, and provide a "post-decisional opportunity." The Supreme Court, on the other hand, stayed this section of the High Court order.

The Government of India moved Supreme Court and the apex court stayed the particular paragraph of the High Court order. The High Court in its judgement has said that the action of the Bank of India to issue an LOC against Ms. Paul who was a guarantor to a loan procured by her father was “arbitrary, illegal and violative of Article 21 of the Constitution

After several businessmen fled the country after defaulting on loans, the MHA amended the 2010 guidelines in 2018, allowing executives of all public sector banks to create LOCs against individuals who could harm the country's economic interests.

Look out circular: About

It is a notice to stop any individual wanted by the police, investigating agency or even a bank from leaving or entering the country through designated land, air and sea ports.

The immigration is tasked to stop any such individual against whom such a notice exists from leaving or entering the country. There are 86 immigration check posts across the country.

A large number of agencies which includes the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Income Tax, State police and intelligence agencies are authorised to generate LOCs.

The officer should not be below the rank of a district magistrate or superintendent of police or a deputy secretary in the Union Government.

After several businessmen including liquor baron Vijay Mallya, businessmen Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi fled the country after defaulting on loans, the MHA in 2018 brought changes to the 2010 guidelines authorising the chairman, managing director and chief executives of all public sector banks to generate LOCs against persons who could be detrimental to economic interests of the country.

The 2010 Ministry guidelines give sweeping powers to police and intelligence agencies to generate LOCs in “exceptional cases” without keying in complete parameters or case details against “suspects, terrorists, anti-national elements, etc, in larger national interest.”

Many citizens have moved courts to get the LOC quashed. The MHA has asserted that “LOCs cannot be shown to the subject” at the time of detention nor can any prior intimation be provided.

Source: The Hindu

Posted by on 23rd May 2022