The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Tamil Nadu government seeking its response on four Special Leave Petitions challenging the Madras High Court judgment upholding the order of preventive detention passed against detenus Ramakrishnan, Vijayakumar, Govindan and Kirubakaran branding them ‘drug offenders' involved in the ‘drug expiry case.'

A Bench of Justice Markandey Katju and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra issued notice on the SLPs filed by Rekha, Malarvizhi, Jamunabai and G.Jayanthi against the High Court judgment dated December 23, 2010.

The Bench, after hearing counsel K.K. Mani, who argued there was inordinate delay in considering the representation of the detenus, issued notice to the State government returnable on February 3 and adjourned the case.

The petitioners said that according to the police complaint, expired drugs collected from medical shops in Chennai city and suburban areas were disposed of at a dump yard of the Corporation in Chennai. The detenus and their associates, by tampering the original labels printed fresh labels to make it appear as though they were not expired drugs, redistributed the same for sale to public.

Even as the detenus were in jail, they were detained under the preventive detention order.

The High Court had dismissed the habeas corpus petitions challenging the detention order. The SLPs are directed against this judgment.

The petitioners pointed out that the representations sent by the detenus were rejected by the government in May 2010 after inordinate delay and no valid reason was given to explain the delay.

Quoting Supreme Court judgments, the SLPs stated that any unreasonable delay, which remained unexplained, vitiated the continued detention of the detenus and orders of detention had to be set aside.

“There is a total non-application of mind by the detaining authority in passing the order of preventive detention against the petitioners. The grounds of detention do not disclose any offences which the petitioners have committed and there is no material before the detaining authority to brand them as drug offenders and no person has implicated them.”

More In: Tamil Nadu | National