Delhi High Court Dismisses Petitions Challenging Detention Order Under COFEPOSA Act 

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In the case of Mohd Nashruddin Khan vs Union Of India & Ors, the relief sought by each of the petitioners was to seek quashing of the Writ Petition (CRL). Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar dismissed these petitions leaving the parties to bear their respective costs. Interim orders stand vacated. 

Brief Facts

The case is that the Mohd Nashruddin Khan (MNK) is an NRI engaged in the business of trading in gold jewellery in the UAE. On 14.02.2019, the petitioner extended an invitation to M/s. Its My Name Pvt. Ltd. (IMNPL) for participation in a jewellery exhibition at United Arab Emirates (UAE) from 18.02.2019 to 30.03.2019. Amit Pal Singh (APS), the petitioner in W.P.(CRL) 1019/2020 – an employee of IMNPL, He was detained at the exit gate. APS was issued a notice under Section 102 of the Customs Act alleging invasion of customs duty on i.e. 24.04.2019. the petitioner MNK arrived at IGI Airport separately. The petitioner MNK was also detained. Gopal Gupta, the petitioner in the present petition, who is a Chartered Accountant, was also arrested. The petitioners also disclosed that an application was moved against the respondents under Section 340 Cr.P.C. for fabricating the records, tampering of documents and for other wrongdoings. The petitioners disclosed that W.P. (Crl) 173/2019 was filed by IMNPL seeking quashing of the entire investigation and for release of goods.

Arguments Before the Court

Learned counsels have advanced common arguments in all these three petitions, apart from pointing out certain specific features of each of these cases. Mr Mahajan submitted that the execution of the Detention Orders is a task which is assigned to the local authorities and it is neither the Sponsoring Authority nor the Detaining Authority, who are tasked with the responsibility of serving the Detention Order. In respect of the Detention Orders issued by the Detaining Authority, reports were called from the Executing Authorities. 

Mr Vikram Chaudhri learned senior counsel for the petitioners is the impugned Detention W.P.(CRL). Orders have been passed out of malafides both in fact and in law. All the petitioners were illegally confined on 24.04.2019. Their statements were recorded under coercion and, only on 26.04.2019, they were produced before the learned Duty MM, though they should have been so produced within 24 hours of their being detained/ arrested. 

Mr Chaudhri submits that the allegation that MNK was not found at his address in District Mau, UP is equally specious. No information has been given at his counsel’s address and no summons have been issued to MNK after issuance of the Detention Order. Mr Chaudhri submitted that the respondents have attempted to shift the blame of non-execution of the Detention Orders on the Executing Authority while trying to protect the officers of DRI/Sponsoring Authority for their lapse in executing the Detention Order.

Court’s Decision

It was observed that that, firstly, the petitioners are not entitled to maintain these petitions because of their conduct of absconding and given the decision of the Supreme Court in Subhash Popatlal Dave, and even otherwise, the court did not find any merit in any of the grounds taken by the petitioners to assail the Detention Orders issued in respect of each of them under Section 3 of the COFEPOSA Act at the pre-execution/ detention stage. Accordingly, the court dismissed petitions leaving the parties to bear their respective costs. Interim orders stand vacated.


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