The Supreme Court made this observation while setting aside the order of preventive detention passed by the Tripura government on November 12, 2021. The Court observed that in the context of the purpose of preventive detention, it is very important for the detaining officers as well as the officers serving it to be vigilant.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said that preventive detention is a serious attack on personal liberty and therefore the protections provided in the Constitution and the law authorizing such action are of utmost importance and must be strictly adhered to.
Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, Justice S. A bench of Ravindra Bhat and Justice JB Pardiwala made the remarks while setting aside the order of preventive detention passed by the Tripura government on November 12, 2021.
The bench also directed the immediate release of an accused of offenses under the NDPS Act relating to the Prevention of Unlawful Trafficking.
The court observed that in the context of the purpose of preventive detention, it becomes very important for the detaining officers as well as the serving officers to be vigilant and keep their eyes open.
The top court said the detention order is dated November 12, 2021 and there is no explanation as to why it took nearly five months for the custodial authority to pass the order of preventive detention.
Accused Sushant Kumar Banik had moved the apex court challenging the Tripura High Court order dismissing his plea against the custody order passed by the state government.
According to the Indian Express, on June 1, 2022, the Tripura High Court dismissed his petition challenging the validity of the preventive detention order passed by the Tripura government on November 12, 2021.
The bench referred to the 1982 Supreme Court judgment in ‘Ashok Kumar v. Administration of Delhi’ which held that the security measures have been designed to provide security to the society. Their purpose is not to punish a person for doing something, but to stop him before doing it.
The bench said that in view of the aforesaid purpose of the safeguard measure, it becomes very imperative for the detaining authority as well as the implementing officers to be vigilant and keep their eyes open. While passing the resolution one should not turn a blind eye as any indifferent attitude on the part of the authority taking the preventive custody order will defeat the purpose of the safeguard measure and the detention order in vain and complete action.
It said that the preventive custody order is a grave attack on personal liberty and the ordinary means available to a person accused of any offense to quash the charge or to prove his innocence at trial are not available to him.
The bench said that its previous judgments indicate that if there has been an undue delay between the date of the detention order, the actual arrest of the detainee and the passing of the detention order in the same manner from the date of the motion. Such delay, unless explained satisfactorily, casts doubt on the authority taking the preventive custody, which consequently makes the detention order erroneous and invalid.
(with input from news agency language)
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