What is Lookout Notice and why is it issued?

Lookout Notice also known as Lookout Circular (LOC) is a circular letter used by immigration officials to prevent an accused from leaving the country. Lookout Notices or Circular is used in nabbing the wanted people or criminals at the international borders, international airports, maritime areas and Ports etc.
Created On: Aug 1, 2019 12:35 IST
Modified On: Aug 21, 2019 12:40 IST
Lookout Notice
Lookout Notice

Central Bureau of Investigation has issued look out notice to the former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in the INX media case.The Lookout Circulars (LOC)/Notices are issued to trace the absconding criminals.

This type of notice can also be issued to prevent and monitor the entry or exit of persons who may be wanted by the different law enforcement agencies of the country like CBI and Enforcement Directorate.

The basic guidelines (regarding the publication of the LOCs in relation to Indian citizens) are issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

If the immigration officers of a country have Lookout Circular against any absconding offender then the absconding person can be nabbed by the officer. As we randomly listen the news that a particular offender is caught on a particular airport or port.

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A s we hard that few months back the CBI has issued a Lookout Notice against former CEO of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak and MD of Videocon Group Venugopal Dhoot so that they can not go to abroad.

The basic guidelines regarding the publication of the LOCs in relation to Indian citizens issued by the MHA have the following four principles:

1. The request to issue LOC must be issued with the approval of an officer not below the rank of Deputy Secretary to the Government of India/Joint Secretary in the State Government/Superintendent of Police concerned at the district level.

2. Lookout Notice for all immigration check posts against any Indian person can be issued only in the format prepared by the Home Ministry.

3. The notice issuing agency must give full identification details of the accused person on an already prescribed format. LOC will not be issued for less than three identity parameters other than name of the accused.

4. Generally Lookout Notice is valid for one year from the date of issue. However, if the originating agency wants to increase the period of this notice, it may do so before the completion of one year.

Since 2011 a rule made that if no request is made for the extension of the LOC within the stipulated period of one year, the concerned Immigration officer is authorised to suspend the LOC.

Keep in mind that in the case Lookout Notices are issued by the Court and Interpol, Lookout Notices does not expire within one year.
Misuse of Lookout Notice

In many cases, Lookout Notice has also been misused. It has been observed that even the person against whom Lookout Notice is issued is not aware about Lookout Notice. The person might not expect that the Lookout Notice has been issued against him/her.

The accused person comes to know about such notice only when he/she is stopped or arrested by the immigration authorities at the airport/border etc. However, this kind of incidence does not seem right in the era of information technology revolution.

Sometimes the Lookout Notices are issued without complying with all rule rules. These cases are linked to suspected persons, anti-national elements etc.

Any person affected by such cases can approach the Human Rights Commission or the High Courts to claim the compensation for mental and physical harassment. However, this process may take many years and can be expensive too.

Impact of the Lookout Notice;

It is not clear that Lookout notices have created fear in the criminals. In many cases, it has been observed that some many criminals and accused person are living and travelling abroad even Lookout Notices have been issued against them in India. There is no authentic data available that how many Lookout Notices have been issued till date.

It is expected that after reading this article, you may have understood that what is the Lookout Notice and why is it issued?

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