A Sessions Court has set aside the magistrate order impounding the passport of filmmaker Leena Manimekalai, the Madras High Court was informed on Friday. .Manimekalai's passport was impounded last month citing a pending 2019 defamation case filed by film director and producer Susi Ganeshan, against whom Manimekalai had levelled sexual harassment allegations in 2018. Orders to this effect were passed by a Saidapet Magistrate and the Regional Passport Authority. .On October 20, a Chennai Sessions Court found that the Magistrate had improperly invoked Section 104 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in ordering the impoundment of Manimekalai's passport. .Section 104, CrPC gives courts the power to impound any document if it is produced before the court under the CrPC. In this case, the passport was not produced in court, the Sessions Court observed. As such, the impoundment of the passport by the magistrate was not proper, the Sessions Court said. "Because there was a direction to dispose of the case in a stipulated time, no order can be passed impounding the passport, which directly affects the personal liberty of the citizen and thus, this court is of the considered view that the revision deserves to be allowed," Principal Sessions Judge, R Selvakumar had opined further. .On these grounds, the magistrate's order dated September 6, 2021 was set aside..Justice R Mahadevan of the Madras High Court was informed of this Sessions Court order while hearing a petition moved by Manimekalai challenging the move of the Regional Passport Authority to impound her passport..The High Court then posted the case for hearing on October 27 after it was apprised that the parties were yet to receive a certified copy of the Sessions Court order. .Justice Mahadevan asked Advocate Infant Dinesh, appearing for the Passport Authority, to file a counter affidavit in the matter. Copies of the Sessions Court order are to be served upon the authority as well as Susi Ganeshan, who has moved an impleading application before the High Court. Advocate Abudu Kumar Rajarathinam appeared for Manimekalai. .Manimekalai has submitted that the passport impoundment order came at a time when she has been asked by York University in Toronto, Canada to be present on campus for research work, as part of the graduate program in film she has been pursuing since last year..Further, the mere pendency of the defamation case cannot be a ground to impound the passport, which was not obtained by suppressing the criminal case, it was stated. Manimekalai, therefore, contended that the impoundment order is unwarranted and deserves to be set aside..It was reported last year that Ganeshan had earlier moved another plea under Section 104 CrPC (power to impound document, etc., produced) before a Saidapet Court to impound Manimekalai's travel documents. The trial court, however, reportedly declined to allow this plea at the time..In January, this year, Ganeshan had also filed a plea in the Madras High Court against the trial court's order in the matter and raised allegations that Manimekalai was dragging the case. The High Court, however, found "absolutely no ground to interfere with the order" passed by the lower court then.