(Prayer: Petition is filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying for the issuance of a Writ of Habeas Corpus, to call for the entire records in detention order passed in C.O.C.No.15/2016, dated 24.06.2016 on the file of the second respondent herein and set aside the same as illegal and direct the respondents to produce the petitioner, namely Thagadu @ Balakrishnan, S/o.Mani, Male, aged 27 years, who is detained in Central Prison, Tiruchirappalli, before this Court and set him at liberty.)
S. Nagamuthu, J.
1. The petitioner is the detenu. He has been detained, as per the order of the second respondent, dated 24.06.2016, in C.O.C.No. 15/2016, under Section 2(b) of the Tamilnadu Act 14 of 1982, branding him as Bootlegger . Challenging the same, he has come up with this Habeas Corpus Petition.
2. We have heard the learned counsel for the petitioner and the learned Additional Public Prosecutor for the respondents. We have also perused the records carefully.
3. Though several grounds have been raised in the Habeas Corpus Petition, the learned counsel for the petitioner would mainly focus his argument on the ground that there is violation of procedural safeguards, which are guaranteed under Articles 21 and 22 of the Constitution of India. The learned counsel would submit that the representation made by the petitioner was not considered on time and there was an inordinate and unexplained delay. The learned counsel has relied on few Judgments of the Hon'ble Supreme Court. Based on the same, the learned counsel would plead for setting aside the detention order.
4. The learned Additional Public Prosecutor would, however, oppose this Habeas Corpus Petition. He would submit that though there was delay in considering the representation, on that score, the impugned detention order need not be interfered with, as on account of the said delay, no prejudice has been caused to the detenu and thus, there is no violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 21 and 22 of the Constitution of India.
5. We have considered the above submissions.
6. In this case, the representation made by the petitioner on 30.06.2016 was rejected by the Government only on 22.07.2016.
7. Now, the question is as to whether on that score, the impugned order can be quashed.
8. In Rekha Vs. State of Tamil Nadu, [2011 (5) SCC 244], the Hon'ble Supreme Court has held that the right to life and liberty of a person is protected, under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The Hon'ble Supreme Court has further held that the procedural safeguards are required to be zealously watched and enforced by the Courts of law and their rigour cannot be allowed to be diluted on the basis of the nature of the alleged activities of the detenu.
9. In Sumaiya Vs. The Secretary to Government, [2007 (2) MWN (Cr.) 145], a Division Bench of this Court has held that the unexplained delay of three days in disposal of the representation made on behalf of the detenu/detenue would be sufficient to set aside the detention order.
10. In Tara Chand Vs. State of Rajasthan and others, [1980 (2) SCC 321], the Hon'ble Supreme Court has held that any inordinate and unexplained delay on the part of the Government in considering the representation renders the detention illegal. This dictum has been followed in several Judgments consistently by the Hon'ble Supreme Court as well as this Court.
11. Applying the said dictum laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court, if we look into the facts of the present case, undoubtedly, there is an inordinate and unexplained delay in considering the representation made by the petitioner and for this inordinate delay, there is no explanation at all and, therefore, the impugned detention order is liable to be quashed.
12. In the result, this Habeas Corpus Petition is allowed and the impugned Detention Order, passed by the second respondent, in his proceedings in C.O.C.No.15/2016, dated 24.06.2016, is quashed. The detenu, namely, Thagadu @ Balakrishnan, S/o.Mani, aged about 27 years, is ordered to be set at liberty forthwith, if he is not required for detention in connection with any other case.