Issuance and cancellation of the lookout circular (LOC)
The Hon'ble High Court of Punjab and Haryana under article 226 directed the Bank of India to pay compensation to the petitioner in the case of issuing a lookout circular (LOC) without application of mind against an individual.
A lookout circular, also known as a lookout notice, is issued in the case of an absconding criminal. So that an offender attempting to flee the country can be captured by immigration officers.
You have probably heard about such events in the news. However, things went awry when a student travelling to Dubai was halted by the airport authority due to a LOC.
The Bank of India issued the lookout circular as a result of a loan default for which the petitioner was the guarantor. The court found the bank had abused its jurisdiction because the petitioner had no criminal background and the LOC was only given owing to the company's debt arrears.
When there was no FIR filed against the petitioner, the court questioned how she came to be ‘Accused’ as the term mentioned in the LOC. The bank was deemed to have made the LOC with blatant disregard for the petitioner's interests, and the bank was ordered to pay the petitioner 1 lakh INR in compensation.
Facts about Lookout Circular
· Only an authority with the status of Deputy Secretary to the Government of India/Joint Secretary in the State Government/Superintendent of Police concerned at the district level can issue the lookout circulation.
· The LOC is issued in a format that is prepared only by the home minister.
· The LOC is only issued if the three identifying parameters, other than the accused's name, are provided in detail according to the prescribed format.
· The LOC is valid for one year from the date of issuing. It can, however, be extended if the original agency requests it.
· If no extension request is received within a year, the LOC may be suspended by the concerned immigration office.
· The LOC is not expired in one year if it is issued by the court or Interpol.
In certain circumstances, it has been noticed that a LOC was issued against a person without prior notice, and the person only learned about it when they were detained at the airport for immigration.
In addition, the LOC may not always follow the issuing regulations. These terms come under the category of misuse of LOC. Anyone affected by these can file a lawsuit in High Court or approach the human rights commission to claim compensation for mental and physical harassment.