Libertatem Magazine

Madras HC: No Detention Order of 25-Year-Old, Habeas Corpus Allowed

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A Writ Petition with relation to Habeas Corpus, was filed by the mother of a detenu under Article 226 of the Constitution. It was heard and decided upon by a two-judge bench comprising of Hon’ble Justice M.M. Sundresh and Hon’ble Justice D. Krishnakumar.

Facts of the Case

One Rajendran, is a 25-year-old man, arrested and detained by the Commissioner of Police in May, 2020. He was held as a “Sexual Offender” as given under Section 2(ggg) of Tamil Nadu Act, 14 of 1982. The present Habeas Corpus Writ Petition challenges his unlawful detainment.

The Detention Order in question was passed on 30.05.2020. The Petitioner made a representation on 11.06.2020. Thereafter, remarks were called for by the Government from the Detaining Authority and the remarks were duly received on 16.06.2020. The Government considered the matter and passed the order rejecting the Petitioner’s representation on 02.07.2020.

Arguments Before the Court

The Counsel for the Petitioner submitted that there is a gross violation of procedural safeguards. This, invariably vitiates the detention. He further maintained that the representation made by the detenu, Mr. S. Rajendran, was not considered on time and there was an inordinate and unexplained delay.

There was a delay of two days in submitting the remarks by the Detaining Authority. It was further maintained that the remarks were received on 16.06.2020 and there was a delay of 11 days in considering the representation by the Electricity, Prohibition and Excise Department. 

The Counsel for the Respondents or the additional government pleader submitted that delay in consideration of representation alone cannot be the grounds for quashing the impugned order. 

Court’s Observations

The Court observed that there has been an inordinate and unexplained delay of 2 days in submitting the remarks by the Detaining Authority. The Court further noted the unexplained delay of 7 days in considering the representation by the Hon’ble Minister for Electricity, Prohibition and Excise Department.

The Court placed reliance upon Rekha vs. State of Tamil Nadu (2011 (5) SCC 244), wherein it was held that: “…the procedural safeguards are required to be zealously watched and enforced by the Courts of law and their rigour cannot be allowed to be diluted on the basis of the nature of the alleged activities undertaken by the detenu.”

The Court observed that the unexplained delay of three days in disposal of the representation made on behalf of the detenu would be sufficient to set aside the order of detention. This was held in Sumaiya vs. The Secretary to Government (2007 (2) MWN (Cr.) 145). 

The Court also cited Tara Chand vs. State of Rajasthan & Ors., reported in 1980 (2) SCC 321 wherein it was held that any inordinate and unexplained delay on the part of the Government in considering the representation renders the very detention illegal.

Court’s Order

The Court allowed the Habeas Corpus Petition and set aside the detention order of the detenu. The Court directed that S. Rajendran be released immediately unless his detention is required in connection with any other case. 

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