A note from Enterprise Java Beans - O'REILLY
Stateful session beans are only available through the handle for as long as that specific bean instance is kept alive on the EJB server.
Is a passivated bean alive or dead?
The note further says that the handle becomes invalid in the following cases:
client explicitly calls remove or
if the bean times out or
the server shuts down.
It does not talk about passivated instances.
Passivation means the bean is still available i.e in the memory however it is not in ready state. SO it is accessible thru handle.