The Supreme Court on Friday directed central government to initiate action to bring back those people who have taken shelter in foreign countries to evade court proceedings.
Expressing concern over fugitives easily flying out of the country, the bench of Justice JS Khehar and Justice Arun Mishra said that the government must ensure that they are brought to justice.
"We are seeing that everybody is running away now-a-days to evade proceedings. It is necessary to get such people back to send a message that law can catch hold of them. We must set a precedent," the bench observed without naming liquor baron Vijay Mallya, against whom courts have issued NBW loan default case.
Mallya is believed to be hiding in London in order to evade court proceedings in loan default case.
The court made this observation while referring to the case of Ritika Awasty, who fled to London after getting permission on the pretext of taking care of her husband there.
The court directed the centre to take all necessary steps to bring back the businesswoman, who is accused in a criminal case.
The apex court had in January this year allowed the woman to travel to UK and the relief was again extended in April till May 31 on the ground that she was looking after her husband who was in urgent need of medical care.
Ritika, however, has not returned to India in compliance of her undertaking.
The court had even directed the centre to revoke her passport and asked the Indian High Commission in London to initiate action to bring her back to India.
But solicitor general Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the centre, told the bench that the government did not have details of her passport and steps to bring her back could be taken only after details were provided to it.
"It is your job to bring her back to face proceedings in court. You tell us how and when you are bringing her back... Passport and immigration come under you. Somewhere we are getting a feeling that you are not interested in getting her back," the bench said.
The SG said the passport was handed over by UP police to her on the direction of the SC and the Centre was not involved in it.
He, however, assured the court that the government could revoke the passport within 24 hours after getting her details. The court granted the Centre time till December 15.