1. These are two applications for writs of habeas corpus : one by the wife, and another by the detenu himself from the jail. We are of opinion that these applications must succeed on the ground that the authorities concerned have not reviewed the case within six months as laid down by Sub-section (2) of Section 12 of the Preventive Detention Act.
2. The relevant dates in the case may be briefly narrated. The detenu was arrested on February 14, 1950, and on February 22, 1950, an order of detention under Act IV of 1950 was passed, which was served on the detenu on March, 14, 1950. The grounds of detention were however not communicated immediately. The document containing them is dated August 28, 1960 and was served on September 8,1950. Before reviewing the case, the authorities concerned sent the case to the Special Officer whom they wanted to consult. Time was taken in obtaining such an opinion which did not take place till after the representation against the grounds of detention was received. The statement made on behalf of the authorities is that the review of the case was completed on September 27,1950, i. e., the review proceedings were not completed within six months from Match 14, 1950.
3. The argument of the learned Government Advocate is that under Sub-section (2) of Section 12 of the Preventive Detention Act, it is not necessary for the review to be completed within six months, and it is a sufficient compliance with the statutory obligation if the proceedings be initiated within that period We regret that we cannot accept the argument. The law relating to the legal continuation of detention has been laid down by Britt L. J, in Thomas Pelham Dale's case 1881 6 Q.B.D. 376 at p. 461 as follows:
It is a general rule, which has always been noted upon by the Courts of England, that if any person procures the imprisonment of another he must take care to do so by steps, all of which are entirely regular and that if he fails to fellow every step in the process with extreme regularity the Court will not allow the imprisonment to continue.
4. The observation was followed by the Madras High Court in Mani v. Dist. Magistrate, Mathurai : AIR1950Mad162 Again the East Punjab High Court has quoted it with approval in Har Tirath v. The Crown A I. R. 37 1950 E. P 222 : 51 Cr. L.J. 1237. We have also followed it in Naroyanamma v. The State of Hyderabad A.I.R. 37 1950 Hyd. 68. The observation applies to every step which has to be taken in order to regularise the order of detention. Now Section 12, Sub-section (2) of the Preventive Detention Act, says that the case of every person detained under an order to which the provisions of Sub-section (1) applied shall, within a period of six months from the date of his detention, be reviewed where the order has been made by the Central Government or by a State Government. We need not refer to the remaining part of the sub-section, because in our opinion, it is only the first part of the sub-section which is relevant to the facts of this particular application. Moreover, the detention was made under the provisions of Sub-section (1) by the Home Secretary. Therefore the sub-section expressly provides that the review must take place within a period of six months from the date of detention. The legislature by using words 'shall within a period of six months from the date of his detention be reviewed' intended that the authorities concerned must complete their review within that period. If we were to hold that initiation of such proceedings is a sufficient compliance with the provisions of the sub-section then it may happen that such proceedings initiated within six months may be completed months after and at the end the detention may be found to be altogether unnecessary. When the legislature fixes a period within which it is to be reviewed the obvious intention is that it must be completed within that period.
5. We have already shown in this judgment that within this period the review proceedings were not completed, for the continuance of the detention, extreme regularity of every step is necessary, the non-compliance with Sub-section (2) of Section 12 is an irregularity which renders further detention illegal and the detenu is entitled to be released. We, therefore, direct that the detenu Mohamed Ibrahim, son of Mohamed Ahmed be forthwith released because his case has not been reviewed within the period of six months. The judgment will cover both the applications.