The Supreme Court reiterated that the Preventive detention is devised to afford protection to society.
The appeal is at the instance of a detenu detained under Section 3(1) of the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988 and is directed against the judgment and order passed by the High Court of Tripura at Agartala by which the High Court rejected the writ application filed by the appellant questioning the legality and validity of the detention order passed by the Government of Tripura and thereby affirming the order of detention.
The three Judges bench of The Chief Justice India Uday Umesh Lalit, Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice J.B. Pardiwala noted that the order of preventive detention came to be passed essentially on the ground that in the past two First Information Reports (FIR) were registered against the appellant herein for the offences punishable under Sections 22(b)/22(C)/29 and 21(B) resply of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 and is a habitual offender.
The court reiterated that Preventive detention is devised to afford protection to society. The object is not to punish a man for having done something but to intercept before he does it and to prevent him from doing.
The bench said that it becomes very imperative on the part of the detaining authority as well as the executing authorities to remain vigilant and keep their eyes skinned but not to turn a blind eye in passing the detention order at the earliest from the date of the proposal and executing the detention order because any indifferent attitude on the part of the detaining authority or executing authority would defeat the very purpose of the preventive action and turn the detention order as a dead letter and frustrate the entire proceedings.
It was further added that the adverse effect of delay in arresting a detenu has been examined by the Court in a series of decisions and the Court has laid down the rule in clear terms that an unreasonable and unexplained delay in securing a detenu and detaining him vitiates the detention order.
“If there is unreasonable delay between the date of the order of detention & actual arrest of the detenu and in the same manner from the date of the proposal and passing of the order of detention, such delay unless satisfactorily explained throws a considerable doubt on the genuineness of the requisite subjective satisfaction of the detaining authority in passing the detention order and consequently render the detention order bad and invalid because the “live and proximate link” between the grounds of detention and the purpose of detention is snapped in arresting the detenu” the court said.
The court stated that the “live and proximate link” between the grounds of detention and the purpose of detention stood snapped in arresting the detenu.
It was observed by the court that if the appellant was ordered to be released on bail despite the rigours of Section 37 of the NDPS Act, 1985, then the same is suggestive that the Court concerned might not have found any prima facie case against him.
The court quashed and set aside the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court of Tripura and the order of preventive detention passed by the State of Tripura.
Case title: Sushanta Kumar Banik v/s State of Tripura & Ors.
Citation: Criminal appeal no. 1708 of 2022