Explained: What is a Lookout Notice and Why is It Issued

You might have read many times in the news about the issuance of a lookout notice. But do you know what a lookout notice is and why it is issued? 

 

So, through this article, we will let you know all pieces of information about a Lookout notice. Also, know how it differs from the red corner notice.

A lookout Notice (LOC) is issued to arrest criminals absconding from the law. Look Out Notice is also known as Look Out Circular. Many times lookout notices are also issued against those people for whom a request is made by law enforcement agencies. Lookout notice for Indian citizens is issued based on certain guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

 

Here we are going to tell you those four basic rules based on which lookout notice is issued against any Indian citizen.

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The Four Guidelines to Issue a Lookout Notice

The basic guidelines on which a lookout notice is issued are-

1) It is not that any police officer or law enforcement officer can issue a lookout notice against anybody. To issue a lookout notice, the officer must hold a significant position. For example, at least a deputy secretary-level officer in the central government, at least a joint secretary-level officer in the state government and at least a supervisory police officer rank officer at the district level can approve issuing a lookout notice against someone.

2) It is not even that a lookout notice will be issued against any person after printing it on any paper. For this, there is a whole process. A notice can be issued at the immigration checkpoint against an Indian only on the form prepared by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

3) It is very important to give all the information against that person to the agency issuing the lookout notice in a predetermined format. In addition to the name of the person against whom the lookout notice has been issued, it is necessary to give more than three other identifications in the lookout circular. So that that person cannot cheat the law in any way.

4) The day the lookout notice is issued, after that it is valid for the next year.

However, the agency that issues the lookout circular can extend its time even before the completion of one year.

Now, if after the completion of one year, no request is received from the Immigration Officer for an extension of the Lookout Notice, then he has the right to cancel it. However, the thing to keep in mind here is that the lookout notice issued by Interpol i.e. the International Police and the Court does not expire in a year.

Why a Lookout Notice is Issued

Normally, LOC is issued when a person is absconding in a particular case registered against him and there is apprehension that the person might leave the country. In some other cases, the police can approach the court to impose restrictions on the movement of a person outside the country. The police do this when a person is a suspect or accused in a case and the authorities fear that he or she will not cooperate with the investigation process.

What is the Difference Between a Lookout Notice and an Interpol Notice?

If we want to know What is the purpose of any agency in issuing a lookout notice? That is, the suspect of any crime or crime should not leave the country or go to a country from where it is almost impossible to catch him. Interpol’s Red Corner Notice (RCN) ensures that a person suspected of absconding after committing a crime is apprehended while trying to reach or escape from any country.

The person against whom the Red Corner Notice is issued is caught whenever he goes to another country. As soon as he arrives, the immigration officer immediately informs the country which had issued a Red Corner notice from Interpol to take him into custody.

Is the Lookout Notice a Guarantee of Arresting the Criminal?

From a point of view sometimes a lookout notice is not a guarantee of the arrest of a criminal. There are many such criminals, against whom lookout notices have been issued in India, but they roam around the world. Despite the issuance of red corner notices, many criminals continue to sit in such countries of the world, where the police and the administration keep sheltering them.

There are many types of lookout notices. Some of these are such that there is a restriction on a person to go out of the country. Sometimes lookout circulars are also issued to prevent a person from entering the country. Lookout notices are issued even just to give information to the investigating agencies. The lookout notice also contains a request for the person to be taken into custody by the local police station or investigating agency, who is then arrested. 

But, according to the proforma, the authorities have many such tricks with the help of which the convicted person can be prevented from leaving the country. The government can be informed about the person against whom the LOC has been issued and who is leaving the country. The authorities may also undertake to impound their travel documents and send them to the agency. Informing the investigating agencies even at the time of entering the country by the guilty etc. are tricks to make the guilty leave the country. The highest level of LOC involves handing the person over to the local police, which usually results in an arrest.

Whenever a person with an RCN arrives at an airport in another country, immigration officials inform the country from where the person was requested to be detained.

The Impact of a Lookout Notice

It cannot be said with any certainty whether the lookout notice has made any improvement in the crimes or not. In many cases, it has been observed that even after lookout notices have been issued against them in India, many criminals and accused persons are living and travelling abroad. No authentic data is also available as to how many lookout notices have been issued so far.

Example of a Person Who Has Gotten a Lookout Notice

In 2022 the difficulties of Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had been increasing day by day. After the CBI raid, a Look Out Notice had been issued against Manish Sisodia. This notice had been issued in the matter related to the alleged excise scam. At the same time, apart from Sisodia, that Look Out Circular had been issued against 12 people in that matter.

Some Important FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) On Lookout Notice

Lookout notice can be issued only by the authorized officer. No officer below the rank of deputy secretary can issue it. It cannot be issued by an officer below the rank of Joint Secretary in any state.

It can be issued by the collector of a district or the designated officer of the investigating and security agencies like SP, CBI or ED as well as the designated officer of Interpol. No officer below the rank of Additional Director in the Serious Fraud Investigation Office and Ministry of Corporate Affairs can issue it.

In 2018, the government empowered heads of state-owned banks to directly seek the issuance of look-out notices against willful defaulters. That is, the officers of the rank of Chairman, Managing Director and CEO of a government bank can demand this.

The lookout notice can be modified or withdrawn at the request of the authority on whose request it was issued. The lookout notice can be challenged in court. This means the court can also cancel it and give relief to the accused.

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