Says Collector has made unnecessary statements in order

Collectors and Commissioners of Police, empowered to detain habitual offenders under the preventive detention laws, could not independently reject representations made by those under preventive detention if their detention orders were already approved by the State Government, the Madras High Court Bench here ruled.

Allowing a habeas corpus petition filed by an individual branded as a ‘drug offender,’ a Division Bench of Justice S. Tamilvanan and Justice V.S. Ravi held that the only option available to the detaining authorities was to forward the representations to the State Government.

Failure to forward the representations would amount to non-application of mind.

In the present case, the Madurai Collector had passed an order on August 20, 2013 detaining M. Ravichandran alias Chandran (36) under the Tamil Nadu Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Boot Leggers, Drug Offenders, Forest Offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders, Sand Offenders, Slum Grabbers and Video Pirates Act 1982. The order was passed on the basis of four criminal cases pending against the detainee under the Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985.

The latest case was registered by the Madurai Narcotics Intelligence Bureau (NIB) - Criminal Investigation Department (CID) last year on charges of being in possession of six kilograms of ‘Ganja’

Of the three other cases, two were registered by the Sedapatti police station near here in 2012 and one by Tiruchi Customs Central Intelligence Unit in 2010.

All the four cases were pending trial and none of them had ended up in conviction.

Nevertheless, the Collector invoked the prevention detention law since he felt that the petitioner’s activities were prejudicial to public order.

The detention order was approved by the State Government on August 27. On the same day, the petitioner had made a representation to the Collector with a plea to reconsider his decision and the latter rejected the representation on September 2 without forwarding it to the government.

“It shows non application of mind of the detaining authority and vitiates the detention order,” the judges said.

Writing the judgement for the Bench, Mr. Justice Tamilvanan also pointed out that the detention order states that the petitioner’s activities were against the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1910 and the Dangerous Drugs Act 1930 though he had not been booked under any of the provisions of the two enactments.

“The above words have been unnecessarily incorporated into the detention order issued by the second respondent (Collector),” the Bench noted and quashed the detention order.

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