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M. Jitendra Singh Vs. State of Manipur and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
Subject;Criminal
CourtGuwahati High Court
Decided On
Judge
AppellantM. Jitendra Singh
RespondentState of Manipur and ors.
Prior history
B.L. Hansaria, J.
1. The petitioner was detained under the provisions of the National Security Act, 1980, for short 'the Act', while he was serving as Executive Engineer under the Public Works Department, Manipur. His detention was felt necessary by the District Magistrate, (South) Churachandpur to prevent him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State and maintenance of public order. The grounds of detention were furnished to the petitioner on 22-11-1981, which was we
Excerpt:
.....authority to contend that the other grounds or reasons are good and do not suffer from any such..........is immaterial....4. the constitutional requirement in this regard is communication of the ground/grounds of detention. it is well-settled by now that the word 'grounds' on which the subjective satisfaction of the authority is based, includes all the basic facts and material particulars which have influenced the detaining authority in making the order of deten-tion. this is the view expressed in golam v. state of w.b. : 1976crilj630 and reiterated in various other decisions of the apex court. this court had occasion in krishna baruah v. district magistrate, now-gong, (civil rule no. 47 (hc) of 1981 disposed of on 19-3-1981 : 1981 cri lj noc 175 to go into the whole-hog of the law. in this regard, it was pointed out by referring to various decisions of the supreme court that.....
Judgment:

B.L. Hansaria, J.

1. The petitioner was detained under the provisions of the National Security Act, 1980, for short 'the Act', while he was serving as Executive Engineer under the Public Works Department, Manipur. His detention was felt necessary by the District Magistrate, (South) Churachandpur to prevent him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State and maintenance of public order. The grounds of detention were furnished to the petitioner on 22-11-1981, which was well within time as the order of detention is dated 20.11.1981. They read as follows:

1. That you gave a written commitment voluntarity to FLA to give contract worth Rs. l lakh initially and worth Rs. 3 lakhs finally while you were posted at Churachandput;

2. That you supplied explosives to outlawed extremist organisation namely PLA in the month of April, 81 while you were working as EE/PWD, Churachandpur,

3. That you gave shelter in your residence to PLA members from time to time while you were posted at Churachandpur.

2. As we have come to the conclusion that the order merits to be set aside because the last of the above grounds has to be regarded as vague, we would confine our attention to the contentions relating to that ground. It is not disputed before us, that if one Of the three grounds were to be regarded us vague, the entire order has to yield.

3. The submission of the learned Advocate General, however, is that the third ground should n6t be regarded as vague, though it neither contains the names of the PLA members who were given shelter in the residence of the petitioner, nor does specify the date or period then they were so sheltered. By referring to Sheorai Prasad v. State of Bihar : 1975CriLJ936 and Bhawarlal v. State of Tamil Nadu : 1979CriLJ462 it is contended that if the detenu had regarded the ground as vague he could have asked for more particulars. Learned Advocate General is however fair in bringing to our notice prabhu Dayal Deorah v. District Magistrate, Kamrup : 1974CriLJ286 wherein it has been stated in paragraph 65:

If a ground communicated to the detenu is vague, the fact that the detenu could have, but did not, ask for further particulars is immaterial....

4. The constitutional requirement in this regard is communication of the ground/grounds of detention. It is well-settled by now that the word 'grounds' on which the subjective satisfaction of the authority is based, includes all the basic facts and material particulars which have influenced the detaining authority in making the order of deten-tion. This is the view expressed in Golam v. State of W.B. : 1976CriLJ630 and reiterated in various other decisions of the apex Court. This Court had occasion in Krishna Baruah v. District Magistrate, Now-gong, (Civil Rule No. 47 (HC) of 1981 disposed of on 19-3-1981 : 1981 Cri LJ NOC 175 to go into the whole-hog of the law. In this regard, it was pointed out by referring to various decisions of the Supreme Court that 'whether the grounds furnished are vague or not has to be determined on consideration of various facts and circumstances. Vagueness is undoubtedly a relative expression. What may be said to be vague in one case may not be so in another set of facts and circumstances. The status or standing of a detenu is also a relevant factor. One is to consider whether the details withheld were not the essential constituents of the grounds i.e. merely 'subsidiary facts' or further particulars of the basic facts. If so, the grounds may not be vague'.

5. It would thus be seen that if what has been withheld can be said to be 'material particulars' as distinguished from 'subsidiary facts', the grounds shall have to be regarded as vague and one which would deny the right contemplated by Article 22(5) of the Constitution.

6. In the present case, ground No. 3 has merely stated that the detenu gave shelter to PLA members from time to time. Giving shelter to the PLA members was undoubtedly the gravamen of the allegation; but to put it in the language of preventive jurisprudence, it was the 'basic fact'. The names of the members and the dates would have constituted the 'material particulars', and any other information about the members, say to which village they belonged, could have been regarded as 'subsidiary fact'. Dehors material particulars, ground ceases to be so in the eye of law, as it denies the detenu the right to make effective representation. In the case at hand, what further than mere denial could the detenu have said in answer to ground No. 3 If names and dates would have been given, he could rebut the same, if the ground be false, by giving his own explanation, to wit, the named person on specified date was somewhere else, or that on the date mentioned he was not in his residence etc. Non-mentioning of these particulars in the ground reduced the substantive right of representation to a chaff, which cannot be allowed.

7. We are, therefore, satisfied as submitted by Mr. Nandakumar Singh, that the third ground denied the constitutional protection to the detenu. It is well-established as pointed in Krishna Baruah 1981 Cri LJ NOC 175 (supra) also, that even if one of the grounds that led to the subjective satisfaction is non-existent, irrelevant or vague, the entire order of detention would be invalid and it would not avail the detaining authority to contend that the other grounds or reasons are good and do not suffer from any such infirmity.

8. The result is that impugned order cannot be sustained and is set aside. The petition is allowed and the detenu is ordered to be released forthwith if he is not wanted in connection with any other case.


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