In a judgment that has come as a shot in the arm for the police department, the Madras High Court Bench here has confirmed preventive detention orders passed by the Thanjavur Collector on October 31, 2013 against two habitual offenders K. Murugan alias Periyavan (37) and S. Manimaran (24) after branding them as Goondas.

Dismissing individual habeas corpus petitions filed by the wives of the two accused through a common judgment, a Division Bench of Justice S. Tamilvanan and Justice V.S. Ravi held that the court would not interfere if there were materials to prove that the detaining authority had scrupulously followed all mandatory procedures before passing the detention order.

“The duty of the court is to see that efficacy of safeguards provided in the law of preventive detention is not lost in mechanical routine, dull casualness and chill indifference on the part of the authorities entrusted with their application. However, in the present case, it is found that the respondents have passed the impugned order in accordance with law,” the judges said.

They also recorded the submission of Additional Public Prosecutor C. Ramesh that both the accused were facing four criminal cases each registered by the Kumbakonam Taluk police and Swamimalai police in Thanjavur district. The cases had been booked on charges of murder, waylaying, being in possession of dangerous weapons, criminal intimidation and causing damage to public property among others. “When a team of policemen raided the northern bank of Cauvery at Manancheri to nab the accused hiding there on October 22, the two were explaining their modus operandi to a few other accomplices on their plans to waylay people and rob them of their valuables after throwing chilli powder on their eyes. The accused also threatened to kill the policemen,” the APP said.

Accepting his statement, the Division Bench said there were compelling reasons for having lodged the two accused under preventive detention. “Activities of the gang have resulted in a sense of insecurity among people belonging to the town. The present detention order is valid for maintenance of public order. Hence, this court’s interference is not called for,” the Bench observed.

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