K.T. Sangameswaran

He was detained under Act as ‘blackmarketeer’

Report did not have certificate that rice was from PDS

Premature to say detenu will come out on bail: Bench

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has set aside the detention of a person under the Prevention of Black Marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act as a ‘blackmarketeer.’

In his petition, Selvam of Salem stated that his father Durai alias Duraisamy had been detained under the Act. The order of detention was not sustainable either in law or on facts. There had been no compelling necessity to pass the detention order.

Pursuant to the recommendations made to the sponsoring authority that two adverse cases and a ground case, alleging that the detenu was found in possession of 55 bags, each containing 50 kg of rice meant for distribution under the public distribution system in June this year, the detaining authority, with a view to restraining him from indulging in such activities in future, had passed the order of detention.

In the habeas corpus petition, Selvam challenged the detention. Petitioner’s counsel A.K.S. Thahir and A.S. Bilal said the analyst’s report did not contain the necessary certificate that it was PDS rice. Also, in the ground case, the detenu had not applied for bail.

In its recent order allowing the petition, a Division Bench, comprising Justices M. Chockalingam and C.S. Karnan, said a perusal of the analyst report did not confirm by necessary quality certificate that the rice was PDS commodity or not. As pointed out by petitioner’s counsel, it was an admitted fact that no bail application was filed or pending on the date of detention order, June 10, 2009.

But, the authority had observed that in such cases bail was granted by courts after lapse of time and thus the detenu was likely to come out.

The Bench said that this observation by the authority was without any material whatsoever; rather it could be stated as premature.

The court said it was of the considered opinion that the detention order had to be set aside. The detenu, who was in Central Prison, Salem, should be set at liberty forthwith, unless his presence was required in connection with any other case.