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Gujarat High Court Allows an Appeal To Set Aside a Preventive Detention Order Against the Appellant

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A Letters Patent Appeal was preferred by the appellant under Clause 15 of the Letters Patent Act to assail the correctness of the judgment and order passed on 30.12.2020 by the learned Single Judge in Special Civil Application no.12524 of 2020, in which a writ petition challenging the order of preventive detention had been dismissed.

Submissions before the Court

Appellant’s Submissions

Learned counsel for the Appellant had submitted that there were only two cases registered against the appellant. First, it was a case filed under Sections 324294(B)506(2), and 114 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 135(1) of the Gujarat Police Act, by an FIR dated 14.04.2020. The second case was about an offence under Sections 307323324325326294(B), and 114 of the IPC and Section 135(1) of the Gujarat Police Act based on an FIR dated 15.04.2020. Apart from these, there was no other material record against the appellant. The invoking of jurisdiction under the preventive detention law could be found as totally unjustified as there was neither any disturbance of public order nor the appellant could be referred to as a dangerous person. Moreover, it was also submitted that the appellant was falsely implicated in both cases and he was already on bail. It was further submitted that the appellant was in custody since 25.07.2020. It was next submitted that a recent Division Bench judgment of this Court passed on 31.08.2020 in the case of Vijay Alias Ballu Bharatbhai Ramanbhai Patni vs. the State of Gujarat, being Letters Patent Appeal No.454 of 2020, squarely covered the case of the present appellant.

Respondent’s Submissions

Mr Chintan Dave, the learned Assistant Government Pleader had submitted that the detention order was fully justified and the detaining authority had only after due satisfaction passed the said order. It was also submitted by Mr Dave that apart from the two FIRs, there were two other in-camera recorded statements and as such, the order of the learned Single Judge didn’t suffer from any infirmity in dismissing the petition. The learned Single Judge had after dealing with the entire on-record material declined to interfere with the subjective satisfaction of the detaining authority in holding of the fact that the appellant was a dangerous person. This Court as such might not interfere with the order of the learned Single Judge and thus, dismiss the appeal.

Consideration by Court

After hearing Mr Mahendra Vora, learned counsel for the appellant, and Mr Chintan Dave learned Assistant Government Pleader for the State respondents, the Court had made certain observations.

It was considered that in the case of Vijay alias Ballu (supra), the issues relating to public order and law & order had been dealt with in detail. Law of preventive detention had to be construed not in an ordinary criminal proceeding of detaining a person who was said to have committed a crime where the procedure was provided and the remedy was available. However, the law of preventive detention was to be strictly followed as per the statute and the settled law on a similar point. In the present case, the Court found that the two FIRs related to an offence of causing hurt only and it cannot be held that such incidents describe a person as dangerous.

The other two in-camera recorded statements could be of help to the detaining authority to pass the detention order where at least prima facie, the detenue could be referred to be a dangerous person on account of his known criminal activities. The said view was discussed and the ratio laid down in the judgment of this Court in the case of Vijay alias Ballu (supra), after considering the law on that point.

Court’s Decision

In light of the submissions put forth by both the parties, the Court opined that the order of detention could not be sustained. Accordingly, the appeal succeeded and was thereby, allowed. The judgment and order of the learned Single Judge dated 30.12.2020 passed in Special Civil Application No.12524 of 2020 were hereby, set aside. The detention order dated 25.07.2020 was also quashed. The appellant was to be set at liberty forthwith, if not required in any of the other criminal cases.

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