In the first week of June, Jignesh Shah, the founder of 63 Moons Technologies Limited, found some relief when the Bombay High Court stood in his favor. Justice Nayak held the impounding of Jignesh Shah’s passport as ‘illegal and contrary to law’. Under the Passport Act, section 10 (3) CBI has the authority to seize his passport but not impound it. Only the Passport Authority has the jurisdiction to impound his passport. Justice Nayak passed the application that was presented challenging the September 2017 order which had rejected the application seeking the return of Jignesh Shah’s passport.
When the first generation entrepreneur received bail on 22nd March, judging from the sensitivity of the case, certain restrictions were imposed on him. Jignesh Shah was barred from travelling abroad without the consent of CBI. The condition of the case was determined to be too severe and so they had asked the court to seize his passport. They stated that there was a huge chance of him fleeing the country. Now the circumstances have changed, there have been new developments in the case and CBI has also filed a charge sheet, but the restriction on his passport stands to date.
Senior advocate Amit Desai, on behalf of Jignesh Shah, filed an application in the Bombay high court seeking justice. The application stated that now that the investigation of the CBI is over, the passport should be returned to the entrepreneur. He also pointed out that under Section 102 of CrPC, the CBI only has the authority to seize a passport but they cannot confiscate it. The CBI counsel, Hiten Venegaokar, opposed the application by saying that considering the applicant’s role, there is a huge chance of ‘applicant fleeing away from justice’, and hence the passport should be withheld.
The court accepted the Jignesh Shah’s plea to revoke the restrictions on his passport under section 102 of CrPC and said “The illegality (retention of passport by CBI) cannot continue in perpetuity. The passport needs to be handed over to the applicant (Shah). The passport authority is free to take action towards impounding the passport under section 10(3) of the Act,”