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D.M. Revanasiddaiah Vs. State of Mysore - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal;Constitution
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Petn. No. 79/1951-52
Judge
Reported inAIR1952Kant85; AIR1952Mys85
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 22(5) and 226; Preventive Detention Act, 1950 - Sections 3, 3(1), 3(2) and 7; Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1898 - Sections 491
AppellantD.M. Revanasiddaiah
RespondentState of Mysore
Appellant AdvocateB.M. Chandrasekhariah, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateA.R. Somanath Iyer, Adv. General
Excerpt:
.....the authorities. (c) the court established that the test of sufficiency of grounds in case of detention for public safety under section 3 of the preventive detention act, 1950, could be examined to the extent of their relevance. (d) the court explained that the satisfaction contemplated by section 3 of the preventive detention act, 1950, in respect of detention for public safety, was that of detaining authority. (e) the case considered the antecedents of detenu, as a rationale, as per section 3 of the preventive detention act, 1950. (f) the case discussed about the belief of government that detenu was associating himself actively with named leader of gang of dacoits - in view of the same, the court ruled that that his detention under section 3(2) of the preventive detention act,..........seshagiri rao, district magistrate, chitaldrug district, do hereby direct that you have a right to make a representation in writing against the order under which you are detained. if you wish to make such representation you should address it to government through the superintendent of the jail in which you are detained.' 3. for the state, the district magistrate, chitaldrug, has sworn to an affidavit dated 21-8-51 accompanied by another affidavit by the police inspector of davangere taluk. in the latter it is stated that the petitioner was arrested by the harihar police and not by the davangere police, on 23-1-1951 and not on 22-1-1951, that the cancellation of bail was ordered on 8-2-51 and not on 7-2-51 and that the release on bail by the sessions judge was on 23-2-51 and not on.....
Judgment:

Vasudevamurthy, J.

1. The Petitioner has applied under Article 226 of the Constitution of India read with Section 491 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for the issue of a Writ of Habeas Corpus. He has stated in his affidavit that he was arrested by the Police of Davangere, apparently in connection with some criminal case, on 22-1-51 and remanded to Police custody. He was granted bail by the First Class Magistrate who later on cancelled it on the application of the Public Prosecutor. He was then committed and took his trial before the Sessions Judge, Shimoga Division, in Chitaldrug Sessions Case No. 8/50-51. The Sessions Judge released him on bail on 24-2-51, and on 25-2-51 he was rearrested by the Police of Davangere. He was ultimately acquitted in the Sessions case on 8-3-51. He was served on 8-3-51 with a copy of an order of detention dated 5-3-51 together with grounds of detention and, subsequently, on 12-3-51 with the details of grounds for detention.

2. The order of detention which is dated 5-3-51 is as follows: --

'Whereas I.K. Seshagiri Rao, District Magistrate, Chitaldrug District, am satisfied with respect to the person known as D. M. Revanasiddiah, son of D. M. Murigiah, Chital-drug Taluk, now residing in Davangere that with a view to preventing him from acting in a manner prejudicial to the maintenance of Public Order it is necessary to make the following order: --

Now therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by Sub-section (1) of Section 3 of the Preventive Detention Act, 1950 (IV (4) of 1950) I.K. Seshagiri Rao, District Magistrate, Chitaldrug hereby direct that the said D. M. Revanasiddiah be detained.

I further direct that the said D. M. Revanasiddiah be detained in the Shimoga District Lock-up.....'

The grounds given for detention are as follows:

'Whereas by virtue of an order No. J3. P. R. 368/50-51 dated 5-3-51 you, Sri D.M. Reva-nasiddiah, son of D.M. Murigiah of Chital-drug residing at Davangere have been detained under Subjection (2) of Section 3 of the Preventive Detention Act, 1950 and in pursuance of the provisions of Section 7 of the said Act, you are informed of the grounds for your detention, I, Sri K. Seshagiri Rao, District Magistrate, Chitaldrug, District, do further direct that you be informed of the details of the grounds for your detention: It is reported that you are a habitual dacoit and that you have participated in a number of heinous offences since 1942 and that you are now undergoing trial in a dacoity case. It is further ascertained that you associated yourself actively with the well-known criminals who have gone underground like Ramanatha Belavadi and that you were suspected to have had a hand in the recent Kadalbal and Yelavatti Dacoity cases, and that if you are free, you will organise and arrange further raids & offences with the aid of criminals and thus endanger the maintenance of Public order. It is considered that your being at large is a source of danger to public peace, law and order.

Also in pursuance of the said section of the said Act, as already informed, I, Sri K. Seshagiri Rao, District Magistrate, Chitaldrug District, do hereby direct that you have a right to make a representation in writing against the order under which you are detained. If you wish to make such representation you should address it to Government through the Superintendent of the Jail in which you are detained.'

3. For the State, the District Magistrate, Chitaldrug, has sworn to an affidavit dated 21-8-51 accompanied by another affidavit by the Police Inspector of Davangere Taluk. In the latter it is stated that the Petitioner was arrested by the Harihar Police and not by the Davangere Police, on 23-1-1951 and not on 22-1-1951, that the cancellation of bail was ordered on 8-2-51 and not on 7-2-51 and that the release on bail by the Sessions Judge was on 23-2-51 and not on 24-2-51. In that affidavit, it is also stated that the Davangere Taluk Police arrested the Petitioner on 24-2-51 in connection with the investigation of an offence of dacoity but he was released for want of sufficient evidence on the forenoon of 7-3-51 and after he was released he was served with a detention order on the same date by the Davangere City Police, that it is not true that the Petitioner does not know why he was arrested on 24-2-51 and that the reasons for his arrest were fully explained and communicated to him.

4. Before us, the order, is attacked mainly on three grounds: (1) that the grounds furnished with the order of detention and the details of the grounds furnished later are quite insufficient and do not fall within Clause (2) of Section 3 of the Preventive Detention Act;' (2) that the grounds are very vague and indefinite and (3) that the order in question is 'mala fide' and quite unnecessary and was secured by the Police of Davangere merely on account of disappointment that the Petitioner was released on bail. Several cases have been cited both for the Petitioner and the State. It is not, however, necessary to consider all of them as the Jaw in such cases has now been laid down clearly by the recent decisions of the Supreme Court. In' 'STATE OF BOMBAY v. ATMARAM SHRIDHAR', 1951 SCR 167 it has been held by the Full Court that there can be no infringement of any fundamental right of a petitioner in such cases or the contravention of any constitutional provision if he has been supplied with sufficient particulars as soon as he raised the objection that the grounds supplied are vague; and Kania C. J., Fazl All, Mukerjee and Chandrasekhara Aiyar JJ. have held:

'The 'grounds' for making the order which have to be communicated to the person detained as soon as may be are conclusions of facts and not a complete recital of all the facts. These grounds must be in existence when the order is made. No part of the grounds can be held back, and after they have been once conveyed there can be no addition to the grounds. All facts leading to the conclusions constituting the ground need not, however, be conveyed at the same time. If a second communication contains no further conclusion of fact but only furnishes some of the facts on which the first mentioned conclusion was founded it does not amount to a fresh ground. The test, therefore, is whether what is conveyed in the second communication is a statement of facts or events, which facts or events were already taken into consideration in arriving at the conclusion constituting the ground already supplied.

'So long as the later communications do not make out a new ground, their contents are no infringement of the two procedural rights of the detenue mentioned in Article 22, Clause (5). They may consist of a narration of facts or particulars relating to the grounds already supplied. But in doing so the time factor in respect of second duty, viz., to give the detained person the earliest opportunity to make a representation, cannot be overlooked.'

'If, on reading the ground furnished, it is capable of being intelligently understood and is sufficiently definite to furnish materials to enable the detained person to make a representation against the order it cannot be said to be 'vague'. The Question whether the vagueness or indefinite nature of the statement furnished to the detained person is such that he was not given the earliest opportunity to make a representation is a matter within the jurisdiction of the court's inquiry and subject to the court's decision.'

5. The Petitioner can have no complaint about the vagueness of the grounds because in the grounds supplied on 12-3-51 he has been informed that there were reports against him that he is a habitual dacoit, that he has participated in a number of heinous offences since 1942 and that he was associating himself actively with well known criminals who have gone underground and who cannot be traced like Ramanatha Belawadi and that he was suspected to have a hand in the recent Kadalbal and Yelavatti dacoity cases and that it was apprehended that if he is again free he will organise and arrange further raids and offences with the aid of criminals and thereby endanger the maintenance of public order and that it was considered that his being at large is a source of danger to public peace, law and order. The details of the grounds which arc possible to be furnished would depend upon the circumstances of each case and the exigencies of the situation. It is difficult to accept that the details furnished to the Petitioner are so indefinite that he cannot understand their scope, meaning and implications and cannot give a valid answer to them, which we think is the proper test to be applied. The grounds furnished in this case appear to fee proper and relevant for the purpose of maintaining public law and order referred to under Sec. 3 of the Act. Again as held in 'STATE OF BOMBAY v. ATMARAM SHRIDHAR', 1951 S. C. R. 167:

'Clause (5) of Article 22 confers two rights on the detenue, namely, first, a right to be informed of the grounds on which the order of detention has been made, and secondly, to be afforded the earliest opportunity to make a representation against the order; and though these rights are linked together, they are two distinct rights. If grounds which have a rational connection with the objects mentioned in Section 3 are supplied, the first condition is complied with. But the right to make a representation implies that the detenue should have information so as to enable him to make a representation, and if the grounds supplied are not sufficient to enable the detenue to make a representation, he can rely on the second right. He may, if he likes ask for further particulars which will enable him to make a representation. On an infringement of either of these two rights, the detained person has a right to approach the court, and even if an infringement of the second right under Article 22(5) is alone established he is entitled to be released.'

6. To the same effect is the decision reported in 'TARAPADA DE v. STATE OF WEST BENGAL', 1951 S C R 212, where it has been held that merely because a ground is vague it cannot be considered that it is no ground at all and therefore not sufficient to satisfy the authorities, and a vague ground does not stand on the same footing as an irrelevant ground, which can have no connection at all with the satisfaction of the Government. See also 'NARAYANA RAJU v. CHIEF SECY. TO GOVT. OF MADRAS', (1951) 1 Mad L J 274 in this connection.

7. The second and third grounds raised by Mr. B. M. Chandrasekhariah, learned Counsel for the petitioner, may be next considered together. As laid down by the Full Supreme Court in 'STATE OF BOMBAY v. ATMARAM SHRIDHAR', 1951 S. C R 167:

'Under Section 3 of the Preventive Detention Act, 1950, it is the satisfaction of the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be, that is necessary, and if the grounds on which it is stated that the Central Government or the State Government are satisfied have a rational connection with the objects which were to be prevented from being attained, the question of satisfaction cannot be challenged in a court of law except on the ground of 'mala fides'.'

To the same effect is the case reported at page 212 of the same volume ('TARAPADA DE v. STATE OF WEST BENGAL', 1951 S C R 212). Sufficiency of the grounds for the purpose of satisfaction of the Government is not a matter for examination by the court; their sufficiency to give the detained person the earliest opportunity to make a representation can be examined by the court but only from the point of view of seeing if it is relevant, i.e., it can have some connection with the satisfaction of the Government. The law has now been very clearly laid down that the satisfaction contemplated in Sec. 3 of the Act is that of the detaining authority. In judging whether a person is likely to indulge in activities prejudicial to a State or to the maintenance of public order, his antecedents can also be considered has been laid down in several cases; see 'ANANTA CHARAN v. THE STATE' : AIR1951Ori27 , 'NARAYANA RAJU v. CHIEF SECY. TO THE GOVT. OF MADRAS', (1951) 1 Mad L J 274 and the observations of the Supreme Court in 'GOPALAN A.K. v. STATE OF MADRAS', 1950 S C R 88.

8. There are really no materials on which the order in question could be attacked as being 'mala fide'. The District Magistrate has sworn to an affidavit stating that from the materials placed before him by competent persons who investigated into the matter he felt completely satisfied that it was quite necessary to detain the Petitioner in order to prevent him from acting in a manner prejudicial to the maintenance of the public order, and he has emphatically denied that he was activated by any other motive or consideration in passing the order, or that it was done 'mala fide'. It is mentioned before us for the State that recently there have been a series of dacoities committed in the border districts of Mysore, that the Police had to take very vigilant and active steps to put down such disturbances of public order and that they have succeeded to a large extent in doing so by prompt action like the present. It is of course not for us to determine whether those allegations are true but they certainly do seem to be relevant and would justify the action taken in the interests of public order. It must also be remembered that this is not a case where it can even be suggested that the petitioner is being detained with any political or other motives and not really in connection with the maintenance of the public order.

9. Mr. Chandrasekhariah has relied strongly an a case reported in 'MAJBUT SINGH v. STATE OF VINDH PRADESH', AIR 1951 Vindh Pra 36. In that case, it was held by a single Judge of that court that normally a single dacoity or a number of dacoities cannot be held to affect prejudicially to the maintenance of public order to an extent calling for the application of the Act and that such happenings can be normally dealt with under the preventive sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure or other similar provisions, With great respect we are unable to accept the rather wide interpretation sought to be put upon that judgment by the learned Counsel for the Petitioner. Even that learned Judge concedes

'That it is however possible that when a single or a number of gangs are acting in coordination over extensive areas the maintenance of public order is so prejudiced as to call for the application of the extraordinary law.'

10. It is urged for the petitioner that the detention in this case is really of a punitive character and not preventive and that as the petitioner was already being detained in jail in connection with the trial of another case, he should not have been committed under a warrant issued under Section 3 of the Preventive Detention Act. Reliance is placed in support of this argument on 'MOHAMMED ABDUR RAHMAN v. HYDERABAD STATE', AIR 1950 Hyd 66. In that case it is to be observed that the prisoner was in custody and the criminal proceedings were pending, and naturally the learned Judges who decided that, case pointed out that it was obvious that pre-judicial conduct on the part of such a person was impossible when he was already in jail either undergoing sentence of imprisonment passed by a Court of Law or is awaiting, without being on bail, any investigation, inquiry or trial and that the exercise of power under the Preventive Detention Act would in those circumstances be meaningless and improper. Another case cited for the petitioner was decided by the Assam High Court and is reported in 'LABARAM DEKA v. THE STATE', 55 Cal W N 13 (Assam) and is similar to the Hyderabad case. No such grounds exist in this case. There is and was at the concerned time no case pending against the petitioner and he was free. The action was taken under Section 3(2), the Government being satisfied with respect to the petitioner that with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order he should be held in preventive detention. They had grounds to believe that he was associating himself actively with an apparently well known and named leader of gangs of dacoits who were concerned in certain named dacoities. It cannot, therefore, be said that the Government was not fully alive to the difference between punitive and preventive detention and were not taking anticipatory action to meet a real situation in order to prevent the breach of public order; and as pointed out above it is not for this court to assess whether those grounds were sufficient for the detaining authority to make up its mind though, if the grounds of detention were very vague and indefinite so as to render the object of furnishing the grounds illusory, the order could be set aside. The petitioner in this case has not been able to satisfy us from his affidavit that either these grounds are false or irrelevant.

11. As pointed out by Patanjali Sastri, J. in 'RAM SINGH v. STATE OF DELHI' : [1951]2SCR451 the burden is on the petitioner to prove that the District Magistrate acted 'mala fide' in issuing the order of detention. Public order, it has been said, has a comprehensive meaning so as to include public safety in its relation to the maintenance of public order and maintenance of public order undoubtedly involves considerations of public safety and that they are closely allied concepts; see 'NEK MOHOMMED v. PROVINCE OP BIHAR' AIR 1949 Pat 1 and 'ROMESH THAPPER v. STATE OF MADRAS' : 1950CriLJ1514 . Mr. Chandrasekhariah has also referred to cases reported in 'KULAMONI MOHANTY v. STATE', : AIR1951Ori20 , 'AHMED ARABI v OSMAN ISA', AIR 1951 Saura 12 and other similar cases. These decisions turn upon the particular facts and circumstances of those cases and have no application to the present case.

12. Before concluding, it might also be added that it has been brought to our notice that the petitioner's case was considered by the Board appointed by the State under Section 9 of the Preventive Detention Act to examine such cases and that the learned Members of the Board saw no reason to release the petitioner; and no attempt has even been made before us to show how their decision is perverse or not in accordance with law.

13. In the result we think there is no substance in the present application and it is accordingly dismissed.

14. Application dismissed.


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