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Nripendra Chakravarty and ors. Vs. District Magistrate, Tripura - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
Subject;Criminal
CourtGuwahati High Court
Decided On
Judge
AppellantNripendra Chakravarty and ors.
RespondentDistrict Magistrate, Tripura
Excerpt:
- - the state government gave its approval on 19-2-68. it telegraphically communicated to the central government the fact of detention under section 3(4) of the act on 22-2-68. 3. though the petitioners were informed that, if they so liked they might make representations to the state government against the orders of detention and that the advisory board would also hear them in person under section 10 of the act, none of the petitioners, except the petitioner in habeas corpus petition no. the supreme court held that more detailed information was not necessary to give the petitioners an opportunity to make their representations, that the grounds were specific and that looking to the conditions of the area, which are notorious, there was no doubt that the affidavit of the respondent was..... c. jagannadhacharyulu, j.1. these are petitions filed under article 226 of the constitution of india for declaration that the orders of detention passed against the petitioners by the-respondent district magistrate of tripura under sub-section (1), read with sub-section (2) of section 3 of the preventive detention act (act iv of 1950) (hereinafter called as the act) are illegal and to release them from their detention.2. the respondent served all the petitioners (except the petitioner in habeas corpus petition no. 72 of 1968) with orders as per ext. a-l dated 9-2-68 under sub-section (1) read with sub-section (2) of section 3 of the act directing that they should be detained in the jail to prevent them from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order and the.....
Judgment:

C. Jagannadhacharyulu, J.

1. These are petitions filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for declaration that the orders of detention passed against the petitioners by the-respondent District Magistrate of Tripura under Sub-section (1), read with Sub-section (2) of Section 3 of the Preventive Detention Act (Act IV of 1950) (hereinafter called as the Act) are illegal and to release them from their detention.

2. The respondent served all the petitioners (except the petitioner in Habeas Corpus Petition No. 72 of 1968) with orders as per Ext. A-l dated 9-2-68 under Sub-section (1) read with Sub-section (2) of Section 3 of the Act directing that they should be detained in the jail to prevent them from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order and the maintenance of supplies essential to the life of the community in Tripura. They were all arrested on 11-2-68. They were served with grounds of detention under Section 7 of the Act on 15-2-68. The State Government was informed of the orders on 13-2-68 by the respondent under Section 3(3) of the Act. The State Government gave its approval on 19-2-68. It telegraphically communicated to the Central Government the fact of detention under Section 3(4) of the Act on 22-2-68.

3. Though the petitioners were informed that, if they so liked they might make representations to the State Government against the orders of detention and that the Advisory Board would also hear them in person under Section 10 of the Act, none of the petitioners, except the petitioner in Habeas Corpus Petition No. 30 of 1968, made any representation to the State Government.

4. The Advisory Board consisting of Shri S.C. Lahiri, Retired Chief Justice. Calcutta High Court, Chairman, Shri T. K. Paul, Judge, City Civil and Sessions Court, Calcutta, Member and Shri B. C. Das Gupta, Judge, City Civil and Sessions Court, Calcutta, Member,' Considered all the cases and made its report to the State Government under Section 10 of the Act on 17-4-68 that there was sufficient cause for the detention of the petitioners. The State Government passed the orders in question on 26-4-68 detaining the petitioners for a period of one year.

5. The petitioner in Habeas Corpus Petition No. 72 of 1968 was arrested on 16-3-68 and was served with the grounds on 19-3-68. In that case also the above mentioned procedure was followed.

6. The petitioners challenge the orders of detention passed by the respondent.

7. As common questions of law and fact are involved, the Counsel for both the parties argued all the petitions together. So, they are considered in a common judgment.

8. Before dealing with the various questions of law and fact raised by the Counsel for the petitioners, it is very material to note that 5 other persons, who were also served with orders of detention by the respondent on 9-2-68 and whose cases are similar to those of the petitioners herein, filed Writ petitions 89 to 92 and 94 of 1968, Bidya Deb Barma v. District Magistrate Tripura Agartala in the Supreme Court in Delhi on 12-3-68. They raised three questions of law, namely, firstly, that their detention was illegal as the report of the respondent District Magistrate was not submitted 'forthwith' to the local Government as required by Section 3(3) of the Act, secondly, that the detention was illegal as the order of approval of the State Government under Section 3(3) of the Act was not communicated to them and thirdly, that their detention was illegal as the State Government did not report the fact of their detention to the Central Government as soon as possible and without avoidable delay. The Supreme Court negatived their contentions and held on the first point that 10-2-68, 11-2-68 were public holidays, that on 12-2-68 the respondent was hard pressed for time and that the delay of 3 days on the part of the respondent in submitting his report to the State Government on 13-2-68 was explainable sufficiently. On the second point, the Court held that there is no provision in the Act that the approval of the State Government must be communicated to the detenus. Regarding the third question of law, the Court ruled that the action of the State Government in communicating the matter to the Central Government on 22-2-68 could not be said to be so delayed as to render their detention illegal.

9. In the above-mentioned 5 cases, the 5 petitioners further raised common questions of fact that the grounds were so vague that they could not make any effective representation and that their detention was mala fide. The grounds of detention in those cases are practically the same as those in the present cases. The Supreme Court held that more detailed information was not necessary to give the petitioners an opportunity to make their representations, that the grounds were specific and that looking to the conditions of the area, which are notorious, there was no doubt that the affidavit of the respondent was reliable. The Court overruled the objections raised by the petitioners. One of the petitioners further contended that he did not know English, that the order of detention and the grounds supplied to him were in English, that he knew only Bengali and Tripuri languages and that, therefore, he was handicapped. The Court held that this ground was not taken by the concerned petitioner in his petition, but that he raised it in the rejoinder, that he filed the petition in English and questioned the implications of the language of the order and the grounds, that he had the assistance of the other detenus who knew English, that if he was really handicapped, he would have seriously considered the matter and pressed it in the petition itself and that, therefore, it was a belated complaint. In the end, the Supreme Court dismissed all the petitions on 6-8-68.

10. The petitioners filed the present petitions in this Court in May and June. 1968. After the Supreme Court dismissed similar petitions on 6-8-68, the petitioners filed petitions to permit them to urge additional grounds. The petitioners' Counsel stated that he did not want to press the contentions raised by them in their various petitions, which were all overruled by the Supreme Court in the above batch of petitions, but that he wanted to press some other points taken by the petitioners either in the petitions or in their additional grounds.

11. The first contention of the petitioners' Counsel is that under Article 22(5) of the Constitution of India the-grounds of detention must preclude the order of detention, that the respondent did not have any material or grounds for detention on 9-2-68, but that he got stereotyped orders as per Ext. A-l in all the cases typed and served on the petitioners stating that the petitioners should be detained with a view to preventing them from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order and maintenance of supplies essential to the life of the community in Tripura, as he was satisfied that they were acting in such a manner.

12. It may be noted that the above contention was not specifically raised in the petitions, but that it was thought of, after the Supreme Court dismissed the similar batch of Writ petitions. The petitioners' Counsel sought to substantiate his contention by pointing out discrepancies in 6 cases between the orders of detention, which are all the same in all the cases, and the grounds as per Ext. A-2 served upon the petitioners in Habeas Corpus Petitions No. 30 of 1968. 33 of 1968, 36 of 1968, 39 of 1968, 49 of 1968 and 72 of 1968. In the grounds the respondent mentioned the conduct of the detenus concerned in instigating the loyal villagers, particularly the tribals, living in and around the Forest Reserved areas to damage the forest plantation and to do jhuming in the Reserved Forest areas in violation of forest laws, as a ground for his order of detention to prevent the detenus from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of the public order.

To substantiate his order of detention to prevent the detenus from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of supplies essential to the life of the community in Tripura, the respondent stated that the concerned detenus instigated the loyal cultivators from delivering paddy to the Government, which was requisitioned under the Tripura Foodgrains Requisition Order, for the maintenance of supplies of foodgrains to the people in the lean months and that the detenus concerned were instigating and inciting the people to offer organised and violent resistance against the paddy procurement staff. But, in Habeas Corpus Petitions Nos. 33 of 1963, 36 of 1968 and 72 of 1968 the respondent did not mention that the petitioners instigated the villagers to damage the forest plantation etc. But, the respondent mentioned in the grounds that the petitioners therein were instigating the loyal cultivators not to deliver the paddy to the Government which was requisitioned under the Tripura Foodgrains Requisition Order for the maintenance of supplies of foodgrains to the people in lean months.

In Habeas Corpus Petitions Nos. 39 of 1968 and 49 of 1963 the respondent mentioned grounds to show that the petitioners therein were acting in a manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order and he did not mention the grounds for charging them that they were acting in a manner prejudicial to the maintenance of supplies essential to the life of the community. In case No. 30 of 1968 the petitioner was not charged that he was acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of services. But, ground No. 3 in Ext. A-2 therein shows that the respondent charged the petitioner therein that he took an active part in organising Tripura 'bundh'.' on 23-8-67 and in preventing the motor vehicles and rickshaws etc. from plying on the road, though this omission on the part of the respondent to mention in Ext. A-2 that the petitioner in Habeas Corpus Petition No. 30 of 1968 acted in a manner prejudicial to the maintenance of service can be explained. For, an action prejudicial to the maintenance of supplies essential to the community includes an action in preventing the motor vehicles and rickshaws etc. from plying on the roads and interfering with the transport of supplies essential to the community.

It is, no doubt, true that this ground of prevention of motor vehicles and rickshaws from plying on the roads would be a matter common to all cases of detenus, who are alleged to have been acting in a manner prejudicial to the maintenance of supplies essential to the community. But, as there was no allegation against others that they organised 'Tripura bundh', it was not made against the. other detenus. So, the omission on the part of the respondent to mention in Ext. A-2 in Habeas Corpus Petition No. 30 of 1968 that the petitioner therein was acting in a manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public services is explainable.

13. But, the omission of the respondent to mention the grounds for detention of the petitioner in Ext. A-2 in Habeas Corpus Petitions Nos. 33 of 1968, 36 of 1968, and 72 of 1968 for their alleged acts prejudicial to the maintenance of public order is not explainable. Similarly, the omission of the respondent to mention the grounds in Ext. A-2 in Habeas Corpus Petitions Nos. 39 of 1968 and 49 of 1968 for the detention of the petitioners therein for their alleged acts prejudicial to the maintenance of supplies is not explainable. It is also worthy of notice that in Habeas Corpus Petitions Nos. 33 of 1968 and 72 of 1968 the respondent swore two affidavits that the petitioners therein were guilty of both the charges, though in Ext. A-2 he mentioned the grounds only for one charge, namely, their acts which were prejudicial to the supplies essential to the life of the community in Tripura.

14. The contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioners is two-fold. His first contention is that the above discripancies go to show that the grounds were subsequently got up on 15-2-68 when they were served on the petitioners in eases Nos. 30 of 1968, 33 of 1968, 36 of 1968, 39 of 1968 and 49 of 1968 and on 19-3-68 in Habeas Corpus Petition No. 72 of 1968. The learned Government Advocate conceded the existence of the discrepancies in the 5 cases viz. Habeas Corpus Petitions Nos. 33 of 1968, 36 of 1968 30 of 1968, 49 of 1968 and 72 of 1968 and stated that in the original records in the office of the respondent the grounds, on which the respondent passed orders of detention, were prepared on 9-2-68 itself and that in issuing the orders of detention as per Ext. A-l in the 5 cases the office committed mistakes in not scoring out the inapplicable portions. He produced all the 17 files into the Court.

On perusal, it is found that the relevant grounds in all the cases were mentioned in the files on 9-2-68. It is also seen that the respondent passed orders of detention in the records on 9-2-68. So, it is not possible to hold that no grounds existed on 9-2-68 and that mere stereotyped copies of Ext. A-l were served upon the detenus. The second contention of the petitioner's Counsel is that the respondent did not apply his mind to the cases before passing the orders of detention and relied on M. R. S. Mani v. District Magistrate Mathurai : AIR1950Mad162 , Though it is a case arising under the Madras Maintenance of Public Order Act (Act I of 1947), still the principle is applicable. In the present case the records produced by the Government Advocate go to show that the respondent applied his mind, when he passed the various orders in the records in general. But, he did not apply his mind when he signed the originals of Ext, A-l in the 5 cases and when he signed the affidavits in the Habeas Corpus Petitions Nos. 33 of 1968 and 72 of 1968.

15. According to Section 3(1)(a)(ii) and (iii) of the Act, any one of the grounds namely, an action prejudicial to the security of the State or the maintenance of public order on one hand, or any action prejudicial to the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community, is a sufficient ground for an order of detention. In all the cases except in the 5 cases namely, Habeas Corpus Petitions Nos. 33 of 1968, 36 of 1968, 39 of 1968, 49 of 1968 and 72 of 1968 the grounds relate to both the categories covered by Section 3(1)(a)(ii) and (iii) of the Act, In Habeas Corpus Petitions Nos. 33 of 1968, 36 of 1968, 72 of 1968 grounds were mentioned to substantiate the order of detention under Section 3(1)(a)(Hi) of the Act. In Habeas Corpus Petitions Nos. 39 of 1968, and 49 of 1968 grounds were mentioned to justify the detention under Section 3(1)(a)(ii) of the Act. So, in all the cases grounds were mentioned by the respondent for the detention of the petitioners. As such, the ruling in Ram Manohar Lohia v. State of Bihar : 1966CriLJ608 , relied on by the petitioner's Counsel, does not apply to the facts of this case. In that case an order under Rule 30(1)(b) of the Defence of India Rules stated that the detention was necessary in order to prevent the detenu from acting in any manner prejudicial to the public safety and the maintenance of 'law and order'. It was held that it being more than doubtful whether 'law and order' meant the same as 'public order' the only course open to the Court was to hold that the rules had not been strictly observed and that the order did not justify the detention. In the present case there is no dubiousness about the grounds mentioned by the respondent justifying the detention, though he failed to score out the inapplicable portions in Ext. A-l orders in the 5 cases.

16. The next contention of the petitioners' Counsel is that in Tripura there is no 'reserved forest', that there is only 'protected forest' as can be seen from Union of India, representing the Union Territory of Tripura v. Abdul Jalil : 1965CriLJ128 that jhuming is also legally allowed according to Schedule V of the Constitution of India and that, therefore, even if there was any instigation by the detenus to interfere with the protected forest and to do jhuming cultivation this was not a ground for detention. This is a new ground of justification, which was not raised in the petitions. Even in the 5 similar cases disposed of by the Supreme Court this ground was not urged. The petitioners' Counsel stated that the above decision was not brought to the notice of the Supreme Court in the batch of 5 cases. But, a perusal of the said decision shows that the forest areas comprised in Garjichara, Chandrapur and north Sonamura reserves were involved in the case. It was held that, the three forests were not notified as 'reserved' forests under the provisions corresponding to Chapter II of the Indian Forest Act of 1927, that the provision in the Indian Forest Act corresponding to Tripura Forest Act, under which the notifications fixing the boundaries of the three forests were issued, was that of a 'protected' forest under Chapter IV and not a 'reserved' forest within the meaning of Section 20 in Chapter II and that no offences were committed under Section 20 of the Act.

The forests in the present case are not those covered by the three forests mentioned above. It cannot be said that there is no reserved forest in Tripura at all. 'Jhuming' also involves cultivation by clearing forest and if this is done in the 'reserved' forest areas, contrary to the forest laws, it would also affect the maintenance of the public order. So, the grounds now urged in this Court and not taken before the Supreme Court also have no force.

17. The third contention of the petitioners' Counsel is that if the detenus and others committed offences under the Indian Penal Code or the Indian Forest Act or Cr. P.C. they could be dealt with suitably and that action under the Act was unnecessary. He relied on Khalifa Janki Das v. Imperator AIR 1950 East Punj 172, which is a case arising under the East Punjab Public Safety Act (Act V of 1949). But, the purpose of the Act is to secure 'preventive detention', justified by national security and maintenance of public order and essential supplies and services and its purpose is not criminal conviction justified by legal evidence and by existing laws relating to crimes and offences. If the ordinary laws of the land and their application to any particular person are enough to meet the situation, which the Act is intended to meet, then it is difficult to imagine either the purpose or the object of the Act, which is self-contained. The powers of preventive detention under the Act are in addition to those contained in the Cr. P.C. where preventive detention is followed by enquiry or trial. Vide Raman Lal Rathi v. Commissioner of Police Calcutta : AIR1952Cal26 and Hadibandhu Das v. The District Magistrate Cuttack : (1967)IILLJ567Ori in this connection. So, the respondent was not barred from exercising his powers under the Act.

18. The fourth contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioners is that the grounds were vague, that details of the speeches alleged to have been made by the detenus and the details of the meetings were not mentioned, that the names of the reserved forests were not mentioned and that they were handicapped in making their representations to the State Government. He also relied on Sadat Jahan v. The State of Hyderabad AIR 1953 Hyd 295, where it was held that criticism of the Government, however strong, is not to be regarded as a justifying ground for taking action under the Preventive Detention Act, unless it is such as to undermine security or would tend to overthrow the Government. It was also held that freedom of speech and of the press lies at the foundation of all democracy.

19. In appreciating the above contention it is necessary to examine the grounds covered by Ext. A-2 in all the cases. The grounds in Ext. A-2 in Habeas Corpus Petition No. 30 of 1968 fall under one category. The grounds in Ext. A-2 in Habeas Corpus Petition No. 32 of 1963 are almost similar to the grounds in Habeas Corpus Petitions Nos. 33 of 1968, 34 of 1968, 35 of 1968, 36 of 1968, 39 of 1968, 40 of 1968, 41 of 1968, 48 of 1968, 49 of 1968, 50 of 1968, 51 of 1968, 52 of 1968, 71 of 1968 and 73 of 1968 which raise only questions of fact. Ext. A-2 grounds in Habeas Corpus Petition No. 72 of 1968 may be separately extracted. These three categories of grounds are all as follows:

(a) Ext. A-2 in Habeas Corpus Petition No. 30 of 1968.

No; 141/14/23/SC/PD/68

Agartala

Dated, the 15th February, 1968,

Grounds for detention under Sub-clauses (ii) and (iii) of Clause (a) of Sub-section (1) of Section 3 of Preventive Detention Act, 1950 (Act IV of 1950). To

Shri Nripendra Chakraborty,

S/O Late Raj Kumar Chakraborty,

Banamalipur, AGARTALA.

You are being detained in pursuance of the Detention Order made under Sub-clauses (ii) and (iii) of Clause (a) of Sub-section (1) of Section 3 of Preventive Detention Act, 1950, as you have been acting in a manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order and supplies essential to the community as evidenced by the particulars given below:

1. That you have been instigating the loyal villagers particularly the tribals living in and around the Forest Reserve areas to damage the forest plantation and to do jhuming' in Reserve Forest areas in violation of forest laws. Towards this end, you have been attending a number of secret meetings in which it was decided to urge the public to start campaign against the Forest Department and to destroy the forest plantation. You have been voicing the same feelings and inciting the people in a number of mass meetings held in different parts of the District also. That you have by your speeches and activities induced the tribals of the District to take recourse to violence to paralyse the forest administration in Tripura and disturb the public order in Tripura.

2. That you have been instigating the loyal cultivators from delivering the paddy to the Government which has been requisitioned under the Tripura Food-grains Requisition Order for the maintenance of supplies of foodgrains to the people in lean months. You have been instigating and inciting the people to offer organised and violent resistance against the paddy procurement staff. Towards this end, you have been attending a number of secret meetings in which it was decided to urge the public to start campaign against the procurement of paddy. You have been directly inciting the people in a number of mass meetings also. That you have by your speeches and activities induced the (people) of certain areas to offer violent resistance to paddy procurement thereby preventing the Government from maintaining supplies essential to the community during times of need.

The above two facts are evident from the fact that you attended a meeting on 21-7-67 at Gurubaktapara (Garjee) in the house of Ganesh Jamatia, mass meetings on 8-11-67 at Fatikroy bazar (Kai-lashahar), on 12-11-67 at Kalyanpur, on 28-11-67 at Teliamura and on 6-12-67 at Manikpur bazar and secret meeting on 26-12-67 at Silachari (Sabroom) in the house of Mathu Mog Choudhury and another mass meeting on 27-12-67 at Silachari bazar.

Because of your activities and incitement, forest plantations have been damaged on 18-6-67 at Dograibari and Kakulia, on 21-6-67 at Debdari under P. S. Bikora, on 23-12-67 at Paratia under P. S. R.K. Pore, on 24-6-67 at Paratia, on 25-6-67 at Srikantabari P. S. Bikora and on a number of other dates in different parts of the territory.

Because of your activities on 21-1-68, 900 K. G. of procured paddy was looted by tribal women at Barkthal under Sidhai P. S. On 2-2-68 the procurement staff offered strong and violent resistance by an unruly mob at Chalitabari P. S. Teliamura.

3. That you took an active part in organising Tripura Bund on 23-8-67 and in preventing the motor vehicles and rickshaws etc. from plying on the road.

You are hereby informed that you may make a representation to the State Government against the detention order and that such representation should be addressed to Secretary, Home (Police) Department and forwarded through the Superintendent of Jail in which you are detained as early as possible. You are also informed that under Section 10 of the Preventive Detention Act, 1950 (Act IV of 1950), the Advisory Board shall, if desire to be heard, hear you in person and if you desire to be so heard by the Advisory Board you should intimate such desire in your representation to the State Government.

Sd/- Illegible

District Magistrate,

Tripura.

(b) Grounds in Ext. A-2 in Habeas Corpus Petition No. 32 of 1968.

GOVERNMENT OF TRIPURA

OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT MAGISTRATE

TRIPURA.

Agartala,

No. 157/14/31/SC/PD/68

Dated, the 15th

February, 1968.

Grounds for detention under Sub-clauses (ii) and (iii) of Clause (a) of Sub-sections ((1) of Section 3 of Preventive Detention Act, 1950 (Act IV of 1950). To

Shri Nilparna Kalai Linparna Kalai, son of Late Nabin Chandra Kalai of Sardu Karkari, P. S. Teliamura.

You are being detained in pursuance of the Detention Order made under Sub-clauses (ii) and (iii) of Clause (a) of Sub-sections ((1) of Section 3 of Preventive Detention Act, 1950, as you have been acting in a manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order and supplies essential to the community as evidenced by the particulars given below:

1. That you have been instigating the loyal villagers particularly the tribals living in and around the Forest Reserve areas to damage the forest plantation and to do jhuming in Reserve Forest areas in violation of forest laws. Towards this end, you have been attending a number of secret meetings in which it was decided to urge the public to start campaign against the Forest Department and to destroy the forest plantation. That you have by your activities created resentment against the Forest Department and the forest laws under Teliamura P. S. thereby endangering the maintenance of public order.

2. That you have been instigating the loyal cultivators from delivering the paddy to the Government which has been requisitioned under the Tripura Food-grains Requisition Order for the. maintenance of supplies of foodgrains to; the people in lean months. You have been instigating and inciting the people to offer organised and violent resistance against the paddy procurement staff, Towards this end, you have been attending a number of secret meetings in which it was decided to urge the public to start campaign against the procurement of paddy. You have been also attending mass meetings in which inciting speeches to the public have been made. That you have by your activities induced the people under Teliampura P. S, to offer violent resistance to paddy procurement thereby preventing the Government from maintaining supplies essential to the community during times of need.

The above reports are evident from the facts that you attended a secret meeting in the first week of December 1967 in the house of Iswar Deb Barma, Brahmmachera, a meeting on 11-12-67 in your own house, on 10-12-67 in the house of Lakshi Charan Deb Barma and amass meeting on 16-12-67 at Maharcherra-bazar and on a number of dates in other places. Because of your activities and incitement on 2-2-68 the procurement staff was offered strong and violent resistance by an unruly mob at Chalitabari, P. S. Teliamura.

You are hereby informed that you may make a representation to the State Government against the detention order and that such representation should be addressed to Secretary, Home (Police Department) and forwarded through the Superintendent of Jail in which you are detained as early as possible.

You are also informed that under Section 10 of the Preventive Detention Act, 1950 (Act IV of 1950), the Advisory Board shall, if you desire to be heard, hear you in person and that if you desire to be so heard by the Advisory Board you should intimate such desire in your representation to the State Government.

Sd/- Illegible.

15/2

DISTRICT MAGISTRATE

TRIPURA.

(c) Grounds in Ext. A-2 in Habeas Corpus Petition No. 72 of 1968.

GOVERNMENT OF TRIPURA OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT MAGISTRATE

AGARTALA,

No. Dated, the 19th March, 1968.

Grounds for detention under Sub-clauses (ii) and (iii) of Clause (a) of Sub-sections ((1) of Section 3 of Preventive Detention Act, 1950 (Act IV of 1950).

To

Shri Bijoy Kumar Deb Barma

Alias Bijoy Comrade,

S/O Joy Narayan Choudhury,

Radhanagar, p. S. Sidhai,

Sadar.

You are being detained in pursuance of the Detention Order made under Sub-clauses (ii) and (iii) of Clause (a) of Sub-section (1) of Section 3 of Preventive Detention Act, 1950 as you have been acting in a manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order and supplies essential to the community as evidenced by the particulars given below:

That in pursuance of the agitational programme, you have been instigating the loyal cultivators not to deliver paddy to the Government which has been requisitioned under the Tripura Foodgrains Requisition Order for the maintenance of supply of foodgrains to the people in lean months. You have also been inciting the people to offer organised and violent resistance against the paddy procurement staff. Towards this end, you have been attending number of Conferences and meetings in which various resolutions were adopted regarding formation of Resistance Committee Party and to offer violent resistance where the female party would be ahead of such resistance. You have also been found delivering speeches in a mass meeting on the above lines.

The above reports are evident from the facts that you attended the 7th Annual Conference of the Tripura Gan Mukti Parishad Central Committee from 22nd to 24th October, 1967 at Ramthakur-para, on 10-12-67, you participated in a secret meeting in your own house, another conference in the house of Shri Biswa Deb Barma at Dagraibari and on 7-1-68 you presided over a secret meeting in your own house. You delivered speeches in a mass meeting on 17-1-68 between 3-25 P.M. and 5.00 P. M. held at Daigala, P. S. Sidhai under the auspices of the Gan Mukti Parishad and along with others you also attended a secret meeting at night in the house of Shri Sushil Deb Barma of Barkathal, the same day.

Because of your activities and propaganda, on 20-1-68 when Shri Krishna Ch. Deb Barma S/O Raghu Das Baishnab and Narayan Deb Barma S/O Raj Kumar Deb Barma both of Barkathal brought 900 K. G. of paddy in compliance of the levy notices and kept the same in the shop of Sikrai Deb Barma of Barkathal Barar for handing over to the Government Procuring Agency, about 200/300 tribal women looted away the paddy from the said shop.

You are hereby informed that you may make a representation to the State Government against the detention order and that such representation should be addressed to the Secretary, Home (Police) Department and forwarded through the Superintendent of Jail in which you are detained as early as possible.

You are also informed that under Section 10 of the Preventive Detention Act, 1950 (Act IV of 1950), the Advisory Board shall, if you desire to be heard, hear you in person and that if you desire to be so heard by the Advisory Board, you should intimate such desire in your representation to the State Government.

Sd/- DistrictMagistrate Tripura.

20. A comparison of the grounds mentioned above with the grounds extracted by the Supreme Court in its judgment in Writ Petitions Nos. 89 to 92 and 94 of 1968, Bidya Deb Barma v. District Magistrate Tripura Agartala (SC) shows that they are all practically similar. It was contended before the Supreme Court that the grounds did not mention in details regarding particulars of time, place and circumstances. The Supreme Court held that the grounds begin by stating generally what the activities were, that they consisted of instigation of tribal people to practise jhuming etc. and preventing the authorities from delivering paddy to Government under the procurement schemes, that the instigation was through mass and secret meetings and resulted in violent resistance to Government, that the grounds then specified the places where and the dates on which the meetings were held, and the resistance took place and that no more detailed information was necessary to give the detenus opportunity to make their representations. It was also held that the grounds were specific. So, the same observations apply to the present case also, wherein the grounds are similar. Though the names of the reserved forests were not noted, their location was mentioned. Though the speeches were not extracted in detail, their purport was noted. The petitioners could not be said to have been handicapped.

21. It was also pointed out that the petitioner in Habeas Corpus Petition No. 30 of 1968 was in Madurai from 20-1-68 to 2-2-68 and that, therefore, the alleged activities etc. could not have taken place on account of his alleged instigation. A similar contention also was raised before the Supreme Court that the results could not follow the activities of the detenus which were later. The contention was repelled on the ground that the mentioning of dates of meetings was merely some evidence to show the kind of activities, that the Court is concerned with preventive detention, that there were enough instances cited, that the situation in the area was already bad, that the later activities would not make it any better and that the detention did not suffer from any defect. Besides, as can be seen from Ujagar Singh v. State of Punjab : [1952]1SCR756 the past conduct or antecedent history of a person can be taken into account when making a detention order. It was also held that it is largely from prior events showing the tendencies or inclinations of the man that an inference could be drawn whether he is likely, even in the future, to act in a manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order. So, the fact that the petitioner in Habeas Corpus Petition No. 30 of 1968 was in Madurai from 20-1-68 to 2-2-68 is immaterial.

22. There is a long catena of cases in consonance with the view that it is the subjective satisfaction of the detaining authority about the soundness of the grounds and that the Court is only concerned with whether there had been such subjective satisfaction, whether there is absence of mala fides and whether all the opportunities of making representation were given. Vide State of Bombay v. Atma Ram Shridhar Vaidya : 1951CriLJ373 , Bhim Sen v. State of Punjab : 1952CriLJ75 Sodhi Shamsher Singh v. State of Pepsu : AIR1954SC276 , Sarju Pandey v. State : AIR1956All589 , D. B. Golam Rafique v. State of Tripura AIR 1957 Tri 25, Ramesh-war Shaw v. District Magistrate Burd-wan : 1964CriLJ257 and Godavari S. Parulekar v. State of Maharashtra : 1966CriLJ1067 . So, vagueness of the grounds or absence of more details in the grounds is no ground for setting aside the orders of detention and there is no proof of want of bona fides.

23. The fifth contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioners is that all the petitioners except the petitioner in Habeas Corpus Petition No. 30 of 1968 do not know English, that they were handicapped in making their representations to the State Government and the Advisory Board and that, therefore, their detention orders are liable to be set aside. This ground was, no doubt, taken by the petitioners in the petitions themselves. The petitioner in Habeas Corpus petition No. 30 of 1968 is said to be a holder of Master of Articles Degree. The petitioners in Habeas Corpus Petitions Nos. 33 of 1968 & 36 of 1968 signed the acknowledgments in English, when they were served with the grounds. So, it is stated that the remaining 14 petitioners do not know English.

A similar ground was taken in the rejoinder in the Writ petition 94 of 1968 in the batch of cases, Bidya Deb Barma v. District Magistrate Tripura, Agartala Writ Petitions 89 to 92 and 94 of 1968 (SC). The Supreme Court held that the detenu in that case filed the petition in English and questioned the implications of the language of the order and the grounds, that he had the assistance of the other detenus who know English and that the complaint was belated. The same observations apply to these cases also, though the objections in these cases are not belated. The Detenus-petitioners, who alleged that they do not know English, filed their petitions in English questioning the implication of Exts. A-l and A 2. Evidently, they had the assistance of the detenus who know English. Besides, they never asked the respondent or the local Government to serve them with copies of translations of the orders and the grounds.

The decision in Harikishan v. State of Maharashtra : AIR1962SC911 . relied on in the batch of cases before the Supreme Court was also relied on before me and it is distinguishable. In that case the detenu requested the District Magistrate to furnish him with a translation of the order of detention, which was in English. But, he was told that the order of detention and the grounds of detention were in English, which was the official language in the District, and that no translation of the same was legally necessary. It was, therefore, held that there was no sufficient compliance with the requirements of Clause (5) of Article 22 of the Constitution and that the communication must bring home to the detenu effective knowledge of the facts and circumstances on which the order of detention was based. In the present case the detenus, who state that they do not know English, never raised any objection until May or June, 1968 when they filed the Habeas Corpus petitions. There is no force in the contention of the petitioners Counsel that the respondent should have discovered for himself from their signatures, who knew English and who did not know it and that he should have served them with translations of Exts. A-l and A-2, So, it cannot be stated that they were in any way handicapped in making any effective representations.

24. Though the petitioners were Informed by the respondent that they could make representations to the State Government and that they would also be heard by the Advisory Board, if so desired, none of the petitioners except the petitioner in Habeas Corpus Petition No. 30 of 1968 made any representation. It was no doubt held in Prern Dutta Paliwal v. Superintendent Central Prison Agra : AIR1954All315 that a review of the case of the Advisory Board is no bar to the High Court in exercising jurisdiction in issuing a Writ for Habeas Corpus. But, this Court had taken a contrary view in AIR 1957 Tri 25 that the Writ Petitions do not lie. The satisfaction of the detaining authority, which is his subjective satisfaction under Section 3(1)(a) of the Act, is not justiciable. But, the plea of mala fides taken by the detenus is justiciable. So, the fact that the Advisory Board recommended further detention does not bar the Court from entertaining the petitions.

25. It was also contended that the grounds of detention were not served under Section 7 of the Act within 5 days from the orders of detention. In all the cases, except in Habeas Corpus Petition No. 72 of 1968, the orders of detention are dated 9-2-68. But, the petitioners therein were arrested on 11-2' 68. Under Section 7 of the Act the grounds shall be served not later than 5 days from the date of detention. As they were all detained on 11-2-68, the grounds were validly served on them on 15-2-68. In Habeas Corpus Petition No. 72 of 1968 the petitioner was detained on 16-3-68 and was served with grounds on 19-3-68. So, there is no illegality on this count.

26. It was finally contended that the respondent stated in his affidavits that the petitioners were 'endangering public order' and not that they were acting prejudicial to the 'maintenance of public order'. This is a difference without distinction. Correct expressions were used in Exts. A-l and A-2.

27. Thus, the additional grounds, which were urged in this batch of petitions have no force, specially after the batch of similar petitions was dismissed by the Supreme Court.

28. In the result, the petitions fail and are accordingly dismissed.

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