A single judge bench of AP High Court held as follows while directing to release passport of the petitioner.
6. The law is now fairly well settled that the Courts have no power to direct the accused to deposit or surrender the Passport, even when a criminal case is pending against the accused in the Court of law. It is only the Passport Officer, who is the competent authority under Passports Act, to impound the Passport of any citizen of the country. If the police got any apprehension that the accused, who is facing trial in the criminal case, may leave the country and he may not be available for trial of the case, they have to approach the Passport authority concerned with a request to impound the Passport of the said person on the ground that he is facing trial in a criminal case. If the Court, before whom the accused is facing trial, is of the opinion that if the accused leaves the country and goes abroad that he may not be available for trial, the Court can issue necessary direction to the accused not to leave the country without prior permission of the Court or on a petition filed by the prosecution to that effect, the Court can pass appropriate order in this regard.
From Para 8, the Precedent
Kuchiraju Srinivasa Rao Vs State of Andhra Pradesh on 28 Jan 2020
8. Therefore, in view of the dictum laid down in aforesaid Judgment of the Hon’ble Apex Court, the impugned order directing the petitioner to surrender his Passport or to deposit the same in the Court is ex-facie illegal and it is clearly unsustainable under law.