Look out circular (loc) issued against an nri!


What is a “Look Out Circular”?

A “Look Out Circular” (LOC) is a notice issued by authorities to prevent a person from leaving the country or to track their movements. It’s typically issued against individuals who are wanted by law enforcement agencies for various reasons such as investigation, trial, or arrest warrants. LOCs are used to ensure that individuals under investigation or involved in legal proceedings cannot leave the country until the matter is resolved.

A  “Look Out Circular” is issued not only to prevent a person from leaving India but also to apprehend the person when he/she enters India.

Who can issue LOC ?

➤Any police officer over and above the rank of the Superintendent of Police can send a request for opening of LOC.

➤Any magistrate in whose court the trial is pending can order the issuance of LOC.

➤Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Directorate of Enforcement (ED),the Customs and Income Tax Department, and the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) can also send a request for opening of LOC.

Against whom LOC can be issued?

LOCs can be issued against persons who are deliberately evading arrest in courts or when a non-bailable warrant has been issued against them and there is a likelihood of their evading arrest/trial. LOCs are issued primarily in cases where cognisable offences were alleged to have been committed or had been committed under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) or other penal laws.

In some cases, it has been seen that the LOC has been issued on the onset of the FIR itself even though the investigation is yet to be completed in that particular case. The most draconian aspect of the issuance of LOC against a person or an NRI is that in many cases no intimation is sent to the person against whom the LOC has been issued. And in such a scenario when an NRI lands in India completely unaware about the issuance of LOC, he/she is detained at the airport itself and is then handed over to the concerned police authorities.

What to do if an LOC is issued against an NRI?

Letter/Representation is sent to the issuing agency/authority to lift theLOC. In case of an ongoing investigation, it is extremely difficult to get the LOC lifted from the agency/authority.

Approach the court of competent jurisdiction for grant of interim travel permissions/stay the operation of LOCs or quash them completely. Writ petition can be filed in the Hon’ble High Court for quashing of  the LOC or for grant of stay on the operation of the LOC.

From the esteemed team at NRI LEGAL CONSULTANTS, Advocate Jaspreet Benipal had skillfully represented a matter pertaining to stay on the operation of LOC. In this case the court had given paramount importance to right to life and liberty which further highlights that LOCs are coercive measures employed during ongoing criminal investigations, and they must not be open-ended.


Although there is no specific statute which governs the issuance of LOC but time and again the courts have given paramount importance to the fundamental right to life and liberty and have  emphasised that the right is a fundamental right of Indian citizens and reaffirmed that Indian citizens have a fundamental right to travel abroad, as protected by the Passports Act, 1967.

NRIs must follow the procedures laid down by law with due diligence inorder to avoid any untoward situation and in case of any ongoing cases, NRIs must take note of the court/case proceedings that are being undertaken before flying in/out of the country.

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