Preventive detention serious invasion of personal liberty, rules Supreme Court

A bench led by Chief Justice UU Lalit and Justices Ravindra Bhat and J B Pardiwala said while quashing the detention of a person under the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in NDPS Act-1988.

Preventive detention serious invasion of personal liberty, rules Supreme Court
Supreme Court | File

The Supreme Court on Friday ruled that “preventive detention is a serious invasion of personal liberty” and therefore whatever little safeguards the Constitution and the law authorizing such action provide must be strictly adhered to.

A bench led by Chief Justice UU Lalit and Justices Ravindra Bhat and J B Pardiwala said while quashing the detention of a person under the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in NDPS Act-1988.

The detenu was detained under Section 3 (1) of the Act. The Tripura High Court had dismissed the writ petition questioning the legality and the validity of the detention order passed by the Tripura government on November 12, 2021.

Also Read: Will have own platform to live-stream proceedings: Supreme Court

An appeal was filed by detenu Sushanta Kumar Banik, challenging the Tripura HC order on June 1 which dismissed his petition.

The top court observed on Friday that an unreasonable and unexplained delay in securing a detenu and detaining a person “vitiates” the detention order.

The bench referred to the 1982 Supreme Court decision in the ‘Ashok Kumar vs Delhi administration’ case which said “preventive detention is devised to afford protection to society. The object is not to punish a man for having done something but to intercept before he does it and to prevent him from doing.”

“Preventive detention is a serious invasion of personal liberty and the normal methods open to a person charged with commission of any offence to disprove the charge or to prove his innocence at the trial are not available to the person preventively,” the bench added, as quoted by IE.

Any unreasonable delay unless satisfactorily explained throws a considerable doubt on the genuineness of the requisite subjective satisfaction of the detaining authority in passing the detention order and consequently render the detention order bad and invalid because the “live and proximate link” between the grounds of detention and the purpose of detention is snapped in arresting the detenu, it added.

Also Read: Info disclosure: SC agrees to consider banks’ plea

The apex court also said that the order of detention is dated November 12, 2021, and there is no explanation why it took almost five months for the detaining authority to pass the order of preventive detention, adding that vital material and facts were withheld and not placed by the sponsoring authority before the detaining authority.

The bench said that it is clear that in the case at the time when the detaining authority passed the detention order, this vital fact, namely, that the bail was granted by the Special Court had not been brought to the notice and on the other hand, this fact was withheld and the detaining authority was given to understand that the trial in the criminal cases concerned was pending.

Get live Share Market updates and latest India News and business news on Financial Express. Download Financial Express App for latest business news.

Photos