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Prahalad Jena and ors. Vs. State - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtOrissa High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCr. M. Nos. 182 and 192 to 194 of 1949
Judge
Reported inAIR1950Ori157
ActsOrissa Maintenance of Public Order Act, 1948; Preventive Detention (Extension of Duration) Order, 1950; Constitution of India - Articles 13, 13(1), 22 and 373; General Clauses Act, 1897 - Sections 3(12) and 5(3); Orissa Maintenance of Public Order (Amendment) Act, 1949 - Sections 2, 3 and 4; Constitutional Law; Adaptation of Laws Order, 1950 - Rule 28
AppellantPrahalad Jena and ors.
RespondentState
Appellant AdvocateH. Mohapatra, ;V. Pasayat and ;M. Mahanty, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateAdv. General and ;Govt. Adv.
DispositionPetition allowed
Cases ReferredSpraigue v. Thompson
Excerpt:
- motor vehicles act, 1988 [c.a. no. 59/1988]section 173(1) proviso; [d. biswas, amitava roy & i.a.ansari, jj] appeal without statutory deposit but within limitation/or extended period of limitation maintainability - held, if the provision of a statute speaks of entertainment of appeal, it denotes that the appeal cannot be admitted to consideration unless other requirements are complied with. the provision of sub-section (1) of section 173 permits filing of an appeal against an award within 90 days with a rider in the first proviso that such appeal filed cannot be entertained unless the statutory deposit is made. the period of limitation is applicable only to the filing of the appeal and not to the deposit to be made. it, therefore, appears that an appeal filed under section 173 cannot.....narasimham, j. 1. these applications are under section 491, criminal p, c., against the orders of detention passed by the provincial government in exercise of their powers under section 2 (1) (a) read with section 4, orissa maintenance of public order act, 1948 (hereinafter referred to as the orissa act) as amended by the amending act (orissa act vi [6] of 1949). the applications were filed before the commencement of the constitution and the legality of the detentions was therefore challenged on various other grounds which have now become academic in view of the coming into force of the constitution on 25th january 1950. the legality of the detention of the applicants was challenged by mr. m. mahanty and mr. mahapatra on behalf of the applicants on the ground that the provisions of the.....
Judgment:

Narasimham, J.

1. These applications are under Section 491, Criminal P, C., against the orders of detention passed by the Provincial Government in exercise of their powers under Section 2 (1) (a) read with Section 4, Orissa Maintenance of Public Order Act, 1948 (hereinafter referred to as the Orissa Act) as amended by the amending Act (Orissa Act VI [6] of 1949). The applications were filed before the commencement of the Constitution and the legality of the detentions was therefore challenged on various other grounds which have now become academic in view of the coming into force of the Constitution on 25th January 1950. The legality of the detention of the applicants was challenged by Mr. M. Mahanty and Mr. Mahapatra on behalf of the applicants on the ground that the provisions of the Oriasa Act dealing with preventive detention were void under Article 13(1) on account of their inconsistency with Article 22(4), 22 (5), (6) and (7) of the Constitution. The learned advocates farther relied on the reasonings adopted by Meredith C. J. and Sarjoo Prasad J. of the Patna High Court in a recent case, Brahmeshwar Prasad v. State of Bihar, or. Misc. 977 of 1949: (A. I. R. (37) 1950 Pat 265) involving the construction of similar provisions of the Bihar Maintenance of Public Order Act (Act III [3] of 1950).

2. On 26th January 1950 an Order known as 'the Preventive Detention (Extension of Dura. tion) Order, 1960' (herein after referred to as the order) was published in the Gazette of India under the signature of C. Bajagopalohari, Governor-General. Subsequently, however, an erratum was issued substituting the words 'Dr. Eajendra Prasad, President' for 0. Rajagopal chari, Governor-General.' An affidavit was also filed before ua by the Under. Secretary to the Government of Orissa communicating a copy of the telegram received from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India to the effect that the order was in fact signed by the President Dr. Eajendra Prasad on 26th January, and that an authenticated copy of the same was sent for publication in the gazette. But that due to a clerical mistake the said order was published as an order of the Governor-General. In view of this affidavit, we are satisfied that the order was in fact made by the President on 26th January 1960. That order was made by him in exercise of his powers under Article 373 of the Constitution. It was argued that inasmuch as Dr. Rajendra Prasad assumed office as President of the Union of India only at about 10-50 A. M. on 26th the said order came into force sometime after Dr. Rajendra Prasad assumed office and that it cannot validate any law which might have become invalid prior to that hour. This argument appears to have carried much weight with the Division Bench of the Patna High Court in the recent case mentioned above. But in my opinion this argument is incorrect. An order made by the President under Article 373 of the Constitution is, in substance, a law of the Parliament during the transitional period as contemplated by Clause 7 of Article 22 of the Constitution. This is made absolutely clear by the language used in Article 373 wherein it is expressly stated that during the transitional period for reference to any law made by Parliament in Clause (4) and (7) of Article 22 there shall be substituted a reference to an order made by the President. Various other Articles of the Constitution confer on the President powers to make orders in respect of various matters such as Articles 372, 391 and 392, etc. But an order under Article 373 stands on a different footing in as much as it is expressly stated to be a substitution for the law of Parliament,' Consequently the general rules for the construction of any law of Parliament would apply while construing an order of the President made under other Articles of the Constitution. The General Clauses Act, 1897 was adapted by the President in exercise of his powers under Article 372(1) and published in the Gazette of India on 26th January 1960. After that adaptation, the expression 'Central Act' has been defined in Section 3(7), General Clauses Act, as meaning an Act of Parliament. I do not think there is any material difference between an Act of Parliament and the 'law made by the Parliament because the only method provided in the Constitution foe Parliament to make laws is by introducing and passing Bills as provided in Articles 107 to 111. Therefore, an order of the President under Article 373 for the purpose of construction with reference to the General Clauses Act should be deemed to be an 'Act' of Parliament and as such a 'Central Act.' Section 5(3), General Clauses Act, makes it clear that:

'Unless the contrary is expressed, a Central Act or Regulation shall be construed aa coming into operation immediately on the expiration of the day preceding its commencement.'

The expression 'Commencement' has also been defined in Section 3(12) of that Act as follows :

'Commencement' used with reference to an Act or regulation shall mean the day on which the Act or Regulation comes into force.'

Therefore, if a Central Act came into force, say at 11 A. M. on. 26th January then by virtue of Section 5(3) read with Section 3(12), General Clauses Act, that Act should be deemed to have coma into force from the midnight of the 25th-26th January. The order of the President under Article 373 should, therefore, be deemed to have come into force from the midnight of 25th-26th January, even though it might have been actually signed by the President only after 10-50 A, M. on 26th. The Constitution also came into force from the midnight of 26th-26th January because the provisions of the General Clauses Act, Section 5(3) were made applicable to the interpretation of the Constitution by Article 867 (1) . The result, there. fore, is that) both the Constitution and the order came into force for legal purposes from the midnight of 25th 26th January and in considering the validity or otherwise of the relevant provisions of the Orissa Act, the short interval of time between the mid-night of 25th-26th January and the exact time of the signing of the order by the President becomes immaterial.

3. The main difficulty still remains, namely whether the provisions of the Orissa Act are inconsistent with Article 22 of the Constitution. The law providing for preventive detention in Orissa is contained in Section 2, 3 and 4, Orissa Act. Section 2 (1) (A) of that Act authorises the Provincial Government, if satisfied with respect to a particular person that with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the public safety and the maintenance of public order it is necessary so to do, to make an order directing that he be detained. Sections 3 and 4 are as follows:

3. (1) Grounds of detention to be disclosed on application of the person affected by the order. As soon as may be alter a person is detained in pursuance of an order made under Clause (a) of Sub-section (1) of Section 2, the authority making the order may, on application of the person affected by the order, communicate to him, so far as such communication can be made without disclosing facta, which the said authority considers to be against the public interest to disclose the grounds on which the order has been made and such other particulars as are in its opinion sufficient to enable him to make a representation to the Provincial Government against the order; and such person may, within such time as may be specified by the Provincial Government make a representation in writing to them against the order and It shall be the duty of the Provincial Government to inform him of his right to make such representation and to afford him opportunity of doing so; provided neither the said order of detention not the detention of the said person thereunder shall be deemed to be invalid or unlawful or improper on the ground of any defect, vagueness or insufficiency of the communication made to such person under this section.

(2) After the receipt of the representation referred to in Sub-section (1), or in cane no representation is received, after the expiry of the time fixed therefore, the Provincial Government shall place before the Advisory Counsil constituted under Sub-section (3), the grounds on which the order has been made by an authority or officer subordinate to them, the report made by him under Sub-section (3) of Section 2 and the representation, if any made by the person concerned.

(3) The Provincial Government shall constitute an Advisory Council whenever necessary and it shall consist of not less than three members one of whom shall be its Chairman. The Chairman and the members of the Council shall be appointed by the Provincial Government.

(4) The Advisory Council shall, after considering the materials placed before It and, if necessary, after calling for such further information from the Provincial Government or from the person concerned as it may deem necessary, submit Its report to the Provincial Government.

(5) After considering the report of the Advisory Council the Provincial Government may confirm, modify or cancel the order made under Sub-section (1) of Section 2.

4. (1) Duration of orders made under Section 2 An order made under Sub-section of Section 2 shall be in force for a period not exceeding six months from the date on which it is made unless earlier revoked by the authority making the order,

(2) If in the opinion of the Provincial Government it is necessary or expedient so to do, it may at any time before the expiry of the period of six months aforesaid and after giving an opportunity to the person concerned to make any representation is writing which he may desire to make and after referring the matter to the Advisory Council constituted under Sub-section (3) of Section 3 and considering it a report direct that the order shall continue is force and the order as so extended shall continue for a further period of six months from the date on which but for such direction it would have ceased to be In force and thereafter if and so often as it is again extended by a further similar direction made in the same manner.

(3) The revocation of any order made under Sub-section (1) of Section 2 shall not prevent the making under the Sub-section of a fresh order to the same act as the order revoked.'

Clauses (4), (6) and (7) of Article 22 of the Constitution are provisions relating to fundamental rights in respect of preventive detention of a person. Article 13(1) says:

'All laws in force in the territory of India immediately before the commencement of this Constitution in so far as they are inconsistent with the provisions of this part, shall to the extent of such inconsistency be void.'

One, has therefore, to carefully sorutinMse the provisions of Sections 2, 3 and 4, Orissa Act with special reference to the fundamental rights guaranteed in Article 23 with a view to ascertain which portions of the Orisaa Act are inconsistent with any of the provisions of the Article. Section 3, however has been attacked on the ground that it is wholly inconsistent with Clause (4) and (6) of Article 22. The Advisory Council as contemplated by Section 3 is not the same as the Advisory Board required under Clause (4) of Article Section 3 inasmuch as the Orissa Act does not prescribe the necessary qualifications for members of the Advisory Council. Moreover, the Orissa Act does not say that consultation with the Council should be made and its opinion should be obtained prior to the expiry of three months from the date of detention of a person. Nor does it make it mandatory for the Government to accept the opinion of the Advisory Council. Again, so far as the communication of grounds of detention is concerned, the Orissa Act does not make it mandatory on the Government to supply such grounds but it leaves it to the discretion of the Government if an application is made by the detenu. Moreover, the Provincial Government is made the sole judge as to what particulars in the grounds are sufficient to enable a detenu to make a representation against the order of detention. I therefore think that all the sub-sections of Section 3, Orissa Act are inconsistent with Clause 4 and (5) of Article 22 and as such are invalid.

4. It has been suggested that the fundamental rights under Article 22 ate conferred on a person whatever may be the law on the subject and that so long as those rights are not in any way abridged in respect of a person, the law under which he is detained cannot be challenged as invalid even though there may be some inconsistency between the provisions of the law on the one hand and Article 32 on the other. In support of this argument, the language of Clauses (1), (2), (3), (5) and (6) which all refer to rights conferred on a person was emphasised. Clause (4) seems to refer to the law and not to a person in as much as it opens with the following words:

'No law providing for preventive detention shall authorise the detention of a person for a longer period than three months .... .'

This language is quite different from

'No person shall be detained for a longer period than three months under any law providing for preventive detention.'

What the constitution obviously hits is the law providing for preventive detention which does not fulfil certain conditions required by Clause (4) of Article 22 notwithstanding the fact that an order under that law detaining a person fixes the period of his detention to be only three months. The argument that Article 22 affects the rights of a person and not the law under which Book detention is made will render Article 13(1) practically nugatory inasmuch as all the other fundamental rights. Guaranteed in Part III of the Constitution deal with the rights conferred on a person (see Articles 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 23 and at etc.) It cannot be seriously contended that if there is any state law which is inconsistent with any of the provisions of the articles that law will not be invalid so long as there is no abridge ment of the rights of an individual while admmetering those laws. The object of Article 13(1) seems to be to invalidate those existing laws which continue in force by virtue of Article 372(1) which are inconsistent with any of the provisions of part III dealing with the fundamental rights even though those provisions may expressly refer to the rights of persons and not to the laws of the state.

5. I may now take up the scrutiny of all the three Sub-sections of Section 4, Orissa Act Sub-section (2) is clearly invalid because it authorises the continuation of detention beyond the first period of six months on the recommendation of an Advisory Council as constituted under Section B(3) which Council has been shown to be a different body from that contemplated by Article is (4). Sub-section (3) of Section 4, Orissa Act being a purely consequent provision need not be considered in this discussion. Sub-section (1) of Section 4 says clearly that an order of detention under Section 2(1) shall be in force for a period of six months from the date on which it is made unless earlier revoked by the authority making the order. An order of detention under Section 2 (1) (a) need not specify the period for which it is to be in force but by virtue of Section 4 (1) it will automatically be in force for a period of six months until earlier revoked by the competent authority. Therefore the combined effect of Section 2 (1) (a) and 4 (1) , Orissa Act is that the law providing for preventive detention authorises the detention of person for a period of six months. But under Article 22(4) no. such law can authorise the detention of a person for a period longer than three mouths unless (1) an Advisory Board consisting of person qualified for appointment as Judges of a High Court has reported in favour of such detention; or (a) such person is detained in accordance with the provisions of an order made by the President under Sub-clause. (a) and (b) of Clause (7). The order may now be quoted in fall.

'In exercise of the powers conferred by Sub-clauses (a)and (b) of Clause (7) of Article 22 of the Constitution of Indiaread with Article 373 thereof and of all other powersenabling him in that behalf, the President is pleasedto make the following older namely:

1. (1) This order may be called the Preventive Detention (Extension of Duration) Order, 1350.

(2) It shall come into force at once.

2. Where in any class of oases or under any circumstances specified in any law providing for preventive detention in force at the commencement of the Constitution of India (hereinafter referred to as 'the Constitution') any person was, Immediately before such commencement, or is at any time thereafter, in detention in pursuance of an order made under such law, such person may be detained for a period longer than three months under such law without obtaining the opinion of an Advisory Board in accordance with the provisions of Sub-clause (a) of Clause (4) of Article 22 of the Constitution.

3. The maximum period for which any each person, as it referred to in para. 2, may be detained, shall, in the case of a person in detention immediately before the commencement of the Constitution be three months from such commencement, and in the case of a person detained in pursuance of an order made after such commencement, be three months from the date of such order,'

Paragraph 2 of the Order needs no comment. It only dispenses with consultation with the Advisory Board under Article 22(4)(a). Paragraph 3 of the Order however says that the maximum period for which any person who was under detention under any law providing for preventive detention in force at the commencement of the Constitution shall be only three months from such commencement. That is to say, it fixes the maximum period of detention of any person under any law providing for preventive detention to be only three months from 26th January in respect of those persons who were under detention immediatety before. But the Orissa Act permits of detention for six months for all classes of persons detained under that Act and, consequently, Sub-section (1) of Section 4 also must be held to be invalid as being repugnant to the said Order of the President. The result therefore is that of the three sections of the Orissa Act dealing with the law in respect of preventive detention, Sections 3 and 4 are rendered null and void as being inconsistent with the constitution and Section 2 alone remains. But Section 2 by itself is unworkable because unless there is any provision fixing the duration of detention of a person, no law which merely authorises the detention of a person under some circumstances can be said to be workable.

6. It was however argued that so far as duration was concerned, the President's order supplied the gap and that para. 3 of that Order would indicate that all persons who might have been under detention immediately before 36th January could be validly detained for three months from that date. This argument however overlooks the significance of the word 'maximum' occurring in para. 3 of the Order and in sub. Clause (b) of Clause (7) of Article 22. The Constitution authorises the Parliament (or the President during the transitional period) to prescribe by law the maximum period for which, any person can be detained under any law providing for prevetive detention. In other words, the constitution while conferring on the Parliament the power to fix the maximum period for such detention leaves it to the law providing for preventive detention to fix any period within that maximum. Such law may be either an existing law continued in force by Article 373(1) or a new law made either by Parliament or by a State under Clause (2) of Article 246 read with item 3 of List 3 to Schedule 7 of the Constitution. The law of Parliament under Article 92(7) will lay down only the circumscribing limits but within those limits it is for the law providing for preventive detention to make adequate provision specifying the period during which order of detention should remain in force. Article 22(7) does not, in terms, confer either on the Parliament (or on the President) the power to fix the actual period of preventive detention in individual cases.

7. This point will be clear if the precise-scope of the power of the Parliament under Article 22(7) is carefully examined. Preventive detention is a subject included in item 3 of the concurrent list and consequently the State as well as the Parliament have concurrent powers to make any law providing for preventive detention by virtue of Clause (a) of Article 246. But this power is, however, subject to the other provisions of the Constitution; that is to say, it is subject to the provisions of Article 22 and any law made under that Article by Parliament itself. Thus the Parliament's power of Legislation in respect of preventive detention appears to be of two kinds. Firstly, its power to make a self-contained law providing for preventive detention on the lines of the Orissa Act is derived from Article 216(2) read with item 3 of List 3, Secondly, it has also got the over-riding power-under Clause (7) of Article 22 to prescribe the circumstances under which and the class of cases in which a person may be detained for a period longer than three months without consulting the Advisory Board under Sub-clause (a) of Clause (4) of that Article and also to prescribe the maximum period for which any person may in any class or classes of cases be detained under any law providing for preventive detention. These two powers of the Parliament are not identical. The latter is a general regulating power which does not include the power to actually fix the period of detention in individual oases. This power can be conferred only by the law providing for preventive detention made by the appropriate authority under Article 216(2), It is the general regulating power of the Parliament under Article 22(7) that can be exercised by the President during the transitional period by virtue of Article 373. But he has not got the power to make a law providing for preventive detention conferred on the Parliament under Article 946(2). That power during the transitional period can be exercised only by the Constituent Assembly under Article 379 (I). If this distinction between the two kinds of legislative powers of the Parliament be clearly borne in mind there can be no difficulty in appreciating the precise scope and limitations of an order made by the President under Article 33(7).

8. The same conclusion will emerge if the language of Article 22(7) is carefully examined. In Sub-clauses (a) and (b) of Clause (7) of that Article the words 'any law providing for preventive detention' occur. Though Article 373 says that for any reference to any law made by Parliament in Clause (7) of Article 22 an order of the President may be substituted. Article 373 does not go so far as to gay that wherever the expression 'law' occurs in Clause (7) of Article 22 an order of the President may be substituted. The result is that the expression 'law providing for preventive detention' in Clause (7) of Article 22 remains unaffected by Article 373. Therefore, on a matter of mere construction also, an order of the President under Article 373 cannot take the place of any law providing for preventive detention as contemplated in Clause (7) of Article 22. For that law one must look into the provisions of an existing law on the subject continued in force under Article 372(1) subject to the removal of those portions of that law which have become null and void by the application of Article 13(1) or else to any new law that may be made either by the State or by Parliament which law is also subject to the regulation made by Parliament under Article 22(7). This seema to be the true significance of the expression 'maximum' occurring in Sub-clause. (b) of Clause 7 of Article 22 and in para. 3 of the Order the President also only prescribes the maximum period of such detention without in any way fixing the actual period of detention in respect of every detenu. Therefore, in ascertaining what is the exact period of detention of a person para. 3 of the Order will be of no avail and one must look into the provisions of the law providing for preventive detention (Orissa Act in the present case) after excising from it those provisions which are null and void under Article 13(1) . I have already shown that if this examination is made only Section 2of the Orissa Act will survive and that it does not make any provision fixing the duration of an order of detention and as such is clearly unworkable.

9. It was then argued that if Section 2 of the Orissa Act is retained and to that is added Clause (6) and (6) of Article 22 and also the Order of the President it may be possible to make out a self-contained law dealing with preventive detention. This argument was fully met by Meredith C. J. in the Patna case. He rightly, if I may say so with respect, pointed out that such a procedure would be practically making out a new piece of legislation which it is obviously not the function of the court. The Orissa Legislature which passed the Oriasa Act in 1948 did not contemplate legislation of that type. Moreover, such a procedure would, in substance, amount to adaptation of the Orissa Act for the purpose of bringing it into accord with the provisions of the Constitution as provided for in Clause (2) of Article 372. That power is conferred only on the President and no Court can arrogate to itself that power.

10. The result, therefore, seems to be as follows; The Order of the President while prescribing the limits within which every law providing for preventive detention must lie, does not purport to be itself a self-contained law fixing the duration of preventive detention of a person. The President has, in fact, no authority to make such a law nor has he purported to do so. His order assumes the existence of a valid law providing for preventive detention in which the duration of any such order of detention would be within the maximum period fixed by the President in his order. If that duration is within the maximum period fixed in the order, no question of inconsistency will arise, if, however, the duration is in excess of the maximum so fixed that duration clause in the law providing for preventive detention would become invalid and it is left to the appropriate Legislature to amend the law so as to bring the duration clause in conformity with the President's order. In the present case, therefore, Section 4 (1) of the Orissa Act which fixes six months as the duration of any order under Section 2 (1) is invalid and the Legislature has not passed any amendment reducing the period of duration to three months or less so as to avoid any inconsistency between that provision of the Orissa Act and, the President's order. The net result is that the only valid portion of the Oriasa Act relating to preventive detention is Section 2 and in considering whether that section by itself can be said to be valid law on the subject one has to apply the well-established doctrine of severability which was the subject of several decisions in the Privy Council the latest of which is A.G. of Alberta v. A. G. of Canada, A. I, R. (35) 1948 P. C. 194 : (52 C. W. N. 286). I have already shown that the Orissa Legislature would never have passed a bald law containing only Section 2 of the Orissa Act. In fact Sections 3 and 4 and Section 2 of that Act form part of one scheme and without the safeguard provided in Section 3 and the limit on duration of an order (detention under Section 4 the Orissa Legislature would never have passed such a law providing for prevention detention.

10a. Moreover, as already pointed out, Section 2 of the Orissa Act by itself is quite unworkable. Therefore, though a, 2 of the Orissa Act may not be inconsistent with any of the provisions of the Constitution the entire law providing for preventive detention in the Orissa Act contained in Sections 2, 3 and 4 must be held to be invalid on the application of the doctrine of severability.

11. The result is that there is no valid law under which the detention of the applicants can be justified. They should, therefore, be set at liberty forthwith.

12. Before we delivered the judgment our attention was invited to a recent Act of the Parliament making a self-contained law providing for preventive detention. But as the applicants have not been detained under that new law it is unnecessary to enter into a discussion regarding the provisions of that law. Our attention has not been invited to any provision in the new law continuing in force or validating orders of detention made prior to the coming into force of that law and, consequently, it cannot be of any help in the disposal of the present applications which are all under the old law.

Ray, C.J.

13. I have read the judgment written by my learned brother Narasimham J. I agree with the conclusion reached therein. I add the following that presents a slightly different approach to the problem.

14. All the aforesaid applications have been heard together side by side and shall be governed by this order. The circumstances under which the petitioners were detained are not in dispute. The petitions had been filed under Section 491, Criminal P. C., which is still good law. They have also been treated to have been filed as it were under Article 226 of the Union Constitution, which has come into operation since the midnight of 26th January. The constitutionality of the law, under which the petitioners have been detained or should continue to be detained, has been seriously challenged by the petitioners. The long and short of their contention is that the said laws do not conform to the basic requirements of preventive detention of a citizen under the Constitution. The different aspects of the contentions of the petitioners are noticed in the judgment as it proceeds.

15. The nature and scope of the Constitution.--The Constitution is the fundamental of basic law to which all other laws must conform. It is superior to the will of the Legislature, the validity of whose Acts are to be determined by its provisions and it is the sole charter by which the rights of the Union as well as State-Governments are to be determined. It antedates all other laws and all of them must, whether by adaptation or modification, be brought into line with and be placed on a footing as if the laws made under the Constitution :

Article 13(1) reads :-- 'All laws in force in the territory of India Immediately before the commencement of this Constitution, in so far as they are inconsistent with the provisions of the fart, shall, to the extent of such inconsistenoy be void.'

Clause (2) of the article is not material for the purpose of this case as it defines constitutional limitations on the legislative powers of the appropriate Legislatures in future. Article 372 provides that all the laws in force in the territory of India immediately before the commencement of this Constitution shall continue in force therein until altered or repealed or amended by a competent Legislature or other competent authority, but subject to the other provisions of this constitution. The President has been em. powered by Clause (2) of the article to adapt and modify such laws either by way of repeal or amendment as may be necessary or expedient by an order made in that behalf for the purpose of bringing the provisions of any such law into accord with the provisions of the Constitution. Such adaptation or modification is immune from being questioned in any Court of law. Beading the articles conjointly, it becomes plain that the pre-existing laws of either Provincial or Central Legislatures become shorn of such provisions of Part in of the Constitution. During the transitional period, however which, according to Clause (3) of the article, is to expire after two years from the commencement of the Constitution, the President is empowered to modify and adapt them in order to secure the workable minimum for the Constitution to be get up. In the absence of such adaptation and modification as is within the purview of the article, the pre-existing laws must remain in force, if at all subject to the provisions of the Constitution, that is to say, they should stand denuded of such provisions as are inconsistent with the provisions of Part III of the Constitution and as such are void. If what remains is sensible and complete in itself well and good, or else the entire Act or Regulation, as the case may be, must disappear from the arena of law. In order to render any such law invalid, it is not necessary that it should contravene some provisions of the Constitution. Inhibition by general scope and purpose of the instrument is enough to invalidate. Even implied limitations and restraints found in a Constitution cannot be overlooked in this connexion.

16. The detentions of the petitioners are Bought to be sustained under the President's order entitled 'The Preventive Detention (Extension of Duration) Order, 1960' made on 26th January 1960 read with Orissa Maintenance of Public Order Aot, 1948, as amended by the Amending Act (orissa Act VI [6] of 1949). The Orissa Aot is impugned as wholly void being repugnant to, and inconsistent with the provisions of Article 22, Clauses (4), (6), (6) and (7) read with Article 13(1) of the Constitution. The general spirit and purpose of all the said provisions is : (i) No authorisation of detention of person for a period longer than three months under any law of preventive detention shall be valid, (ii) except when an Advisory Board, consisting of persons who have been or are qualified to be appointed to be Judges of a High Court, has reported, before the expiration of the said period of three months, that there is in its opinion sufficient cause for such detention; (iii) provided that no such detention should exceed the maximum period prescribed by any law made by Parliament under Sub-clause (b) of Clause (7), or in the alternative by any order made by the President under Sub-clause (b) of Clause (7); (iv) any person, however, can be detained for more than three months in accordance with the provisions of any law made by Parliament under Sub-clause (a) of Clause (7), but not beyond the maximum period prescribed by the Parliament by any law; (v) it is obligatory on the authority making the order under any law of preventive detention to communicate as soon as may be to be detenu the grounds on which the order has been made; (vi) afford him the earliest opportunity of making representation against the order; (vii) but there is no obligation on such authority to disclose facts which it considers to be against the. public interest to disclose.

17. Tested in the light of the spirit and purpose of the provisions of the Constitution rela. ting to preventive detention as summarised above, the Orissa Act is wholly inconsistent therewith. The Act authorises a detention of a person for a longer period than three months without the report or recommendation of an Advisory Board; according to it, there is no obligation on the authority making the order of detention to supply grounds for such order to the detenu so as to enable him to make a representation to the authority concerned; the opinionof the Advisory Council provided for in the said Aot is not binding on the concerned authority; the Act empowers the State-Government to extend the period of detention under circumstances stated therein beyond six mouths, and, lastly, the validity of the detention on account, of vagueness and inadequacy of the grounds supplied is beyond question. In short, the Executive Government is the sole arbiter in the matter. In order to give effect to Art, 13 of the Constitution, the State (Orissa) Aot must be denuded of all such provisions as are inconsistent with Clause (i) and (5) of Article 22 of the Constitution. The only consistency between the Constitution and the Impugned Act consists in the latter being avowedly a law providing for preventive detention, a subject within the competence of State Legislature enumerated as Item 3 of the Concurrent List of the Constitution. In view of the inconsistency, the authorisation under the Orissa Act for detention for a longer period than three mouths became invalid, as soon as the Constitution came into operation.

18. The question that then arises is whether the detention can be justified as one in pursuance of the Preventive Detention (Exteation Duration) Order, 1960. I shall assume, that the Order came into operation along with the constitution. The constitutionality of such Order depends upon its conformity to the provisions of the Constitution relating thereto. The President derives his power to make the order under Clause (7) of Article 22 read with Article 373 of the Constitution, Adapted by Article 373, Clause (4) and (7) of Article 22 would read (after deleting the words and phraser not material for the purpose) :

'4. No law providing for preventive detention shall authorise detention of a person for a, longer period than three months unless such person is detained in accordance with the Order made by President under Sub-clauses (a) and (b) of Clause (7);

7. President may by order prescribe, (a) the circumstances under which the class or classea of cases in which a person may be detained for a period longer than three months under any law providing for preventive detention without obtaining the opinion of an Advisory Board in accordance with the provisions of Sub-clause (a) of Clause (4) and

(b) the maximum period for which any person may in class or classes of case be detained under any law providing for preventive detention.'

19. The legal position is that the basic requirements for detention for a longer period than three months, namely, report of an Advisory Board constituted under Sub-clause (a) of Clause (4) of Article 92 can be dispensed with in classes of cases and circumstances prescribed by Parliament and before prescription by Parliament by the President under Clause (7) of Article 28. We are here concerned with an Order by the President. The President baving no power under the Constitution to make any law, be has to prescribe the circumstances under which and the classes of oases in which a person may be detained for a period longer than three months under any law providing for preventive detention. The President's Order in question does not purport to make any law of preventive detention. It has to be noted that he has no such power under the Constitution. His power is that of adaptation and modification in the manner and for the purpose provided in Article 372. While making an order under Clause (7) of Article 23, he could exercise such power. That the very purpose of such power is to bring the provisions of any law in force in the territory of India into accord with the provisions of the Constitution indicates the constitutional limitations of such power. His power under Clause (7) of Article 23 cannot be exercised free of the constitutional restraints and limitations. Even if it be assumed that the President can make any law in order to fulfil the requirements of Article 22(7), that law too must confirm to the constitutional limitations prescribed in the provisions of the Constitution of which Clause (5) of Article 22. is one. What the President does under the Preventive Detention (Extention of Duration) Order amounts to authorising or validating the detention of the persons in detention immediately before the commencement of the Constitution under selfsame law under which the primary order of detention had been made by the State authority. Put broadly, the President says that the Orisaa Maintenance of Public Order Act shall remain in full force despite the constitutional inconsistencies and repugnancies the rein for the maximum period of three months. This in my opinion, amounts to overriding the mandatory provisions of Article 13(1) and Articles 32(6) of the Constitution. The President's order may be free from any constitutional lacuna so far as be prescribes the circumstances and the classes of cases for the purpose of Clause (7) of Article 22 to be the same as in the Orissa Act and so, far as be dispenses with the mandatory necessity of obtaining the opinion of an Advisory Board in accordance with the provisons of Sub-clause (a) of Clause (4) of Article 22 of the Constitution, and to that extent modifies the Orissa Act, but by prescrib. ing that such persons may be detained for a period longer than three months under such law, he charters the validity of all other provisions of the Orissa Act which are radically contraventions of supreme law of the land, namely, the Constitution.

20. It has been strenuously contended by the learned advocate-general that a very fair and liberal interpretation shall be given to the president's order, intended as it is, to fill up the void that is created, on the introduction of the Constitution, between, the pre-constitution laws of preventive detention and the law or order passed or made under it. The order is a special device to remove the difficulties of transition from the old constitution to the new. I am fully aware; tbat astute interpretation or strict adherence to technical rules are foreign to interpretation of a Constitution, but the same doctrine cannot be invoked in favour of law purporting to have been made in obedience to the Constitution. To give effect to this contention would amount to abrogate the procedure established by law. Article 21 of the Constitution may be prayed in aid. The article reads :

'No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.'

Preventive detention of a person amounts to deprivation of his personal liberty. This must be effected according to procedure established by law. Preventive detention, no doubt stands on a different footing from imprisonment inflicted as a punishment for commission of an offence, inasmuch as an open trial is unsuitable to the one while it is inevitable in the case of the other. The Constitution, however, enacts a substitute for an open trial. The substitute is provided by the combined operation of Sub-clause (a) of Clause (4) and Clause (5) of Article 22. By way of an exception in special class of cases and under particular circumstances specified in that behalf by the parliamentary law or presidential order, examination of detenus' case by an Advisory Board is dispensed witb, but the minimum substitute giving a detenu the only opportunity of defending himself against the order of detention as contained in Clause (5) of the article is a permanent feature constitutionally ordained as an integral part of any law of preventive detention enacted either by a State or by the Union through appropriate legislative authorities, Any law that dispenses with this minimum would be derogatory to or even complete abdication of the procedure established by law so inevitably linked with deprivation of personal liberty. If the President, by bis order intended to ensure this procedure to the detenu, be should have adopted the Orissa Act accordingly. While dispensing with the necessity of the opinion of the Advisory Board and reducing the maximum period to three months since the commencement of the Constitution or the date of the order, he expressly upholds the rest of the State law flying face in the place of the constitution. This deprives the detenu of his fundamental right of being supplied with the grounds on which the detention order has been made and of the opportunity of making a representation against the order. Mr. Advocate-General would ask us to take the President's order and the Orissa Act as constituting a Code complete in itself after excising such provisions therefrom as are either expressly or impliedly inconsistent with the Constitution, and act upon it, Then the question arises whether such a course is permissible. There is no doubt in my mind that it would amount to ourselves indulging in a piece of speculative legislation with the effect of depriving a citizen of his personal liberty without making available to him the procedure established by law. Local hardships and inconveniences do not count in interpreting a Constitution which is based upon the national will jas against that of a Legislature, Part III is the Bill of Eights of the citizens of the Indian Union and it contains constitution al restraints and limitations upon the legislative functions of the appropriate legislative authorities as the case may be. It appears quite plainly from the text of the President's order that he did never mean that any part of the State laws in force immediately before the commencement of the Constitution should suffer chiselling of such provisions thereof as were then considered by the State legislature to be fundamental in exercise of State authorities power of detention.

21. The course advocated by the learned Advocate-General would lead to acceptance of one part and rejection of the other of the law enacted by the President's order. It is no doubt elementary that the same statute of law may be in part constitutional and in part unconstitutional, and, if the parts are wholly independent of each other, that which is constitutional may stand while that which is unconstitutional will be rejected. As to the oase, in hand, I think the rule laid down by Shaw C. J., in Warren v. Charlestown, 2 pray 84 is applicable,;

'That is the different parts are so mutually connected with and dependent on each other, as conditions, considerations, or compensations for each other as to warrant a belief that the legislature intended them as a whole, and that if all could not be carried into effect the legislature would not pass the residue independently, and some parts are unconstitutional, all the provisions which are thus dependent, conditional, or connected must fall with them,'

The point is put thus by Mathews J. in Poindexter v. Greenhow, 114 under Section 270 at p. 304;

'It is undoubtedly true that there may be cages where one part of a statute may be enforced as constitutional but these are cases where the parts are so is distinctly separable that each can stand alone, and where the Court is able to see, and to declare, that the intention of the legislature was that the part pronounced valid should be enforceable, even though the other part should fail. To hold otherwise would be to substitute for the law intended by the legislature one the; may never have been willing by itself to enact'.

And again, as stated by the said eminent Judge in Spraigue v. Thompson, 118 U. S. 90 at p. 95, where it was argued that certain illegal exceptions in a section of a statute might be dig. regarded, but that the rest could stand ;

'The insuperable difficulty with the application of that principle of construction to the Instance is that by rejecting the exception intended by the legislature of Georgia the statute is made to enaot what confessedly the legislature never meant. It confers upon the statute a positive operation beyond the legislative intent, and beyond what may any one can say it would have enacted, in view of the illegality of the exceptions.'

22. Coming to the present oase, it can never be predicated as to the intent behind the President's order that it should be partly enforced and partly rejected. No presumption of limitations or exceptions will be made merely for the purpose of sustaining the constitutionality of the order. The presumption of constitutionality of a statute does not apply where it shows, on its face, a violation of constitutional provisions. It may appeal paradoxical that the Court should ever attempt to declare void the order of the President which, as the present one, is at par with an Act of Parliament. In fact, no English Court has ever attempted to do so, the accepted theory of the English constitution being thai Parliament possesses supreme and unlimited legislative power. But a different consideration, arises where there is written Constitution. The snpreme authority resides in the people, who, for practical purposes, are those exercising the suffrage. This feature distinguishes a republican form of Government. No legislative authority that is subject to a written Constitution which it is bound to obey possesses sovereign powers to the fullest extent. No legislative authority can make laws that are not according to, and consistent with, the fundamental laws that have been prescribed for its Government by the people, who are superior to both the law-making and the Constitution themselves. All written Constitutions therefore are limitations on legislative powers or the sovereignty which in all organised Governments must reside somewhere. The authorities either Federal or State however sovereign in its own sphere, both are subject to such constitutional limitations and restrictions as the people, acting in their national capacity, have seen fit to prescribe. In this view of the matter, authorisation of detention oE the petitioners in pursuance of the President's order is unconstitutional, and, therefore, void.

23. I feel inclined to say a word as to the Court's duty to construe the law in force before the 26th of January that all such adaptations as are necessary for the purpose. The point has not been argued at the Bar. In this connexion, reference may be made to Rule 28, Adaptation of Laws Order, 1950, made by the President on 26th January 1960. So much of the Rule as bears upon the question reads;

'Any Court, Tribunal or authority required or empowered to enforce any law in force in the territory of India immediately before the appointed day (the 26th of January, 1960) shall, notwithstanding that this order makes no provision or insufficient provision for the adaptation of the law for the purpose of bringing it into accord with the provisions of the Constitution, construe the law with all such adaptations as are necessary for the purpose.'

The short answer to the point is that this does not contemplate adaptation of the President's order, the validity of which is under consideration. Again, adaptations within the meaning of the Rule do not contemplate making new laws in place of the old nor enforcement of laws, that are unconstitutional.

24. In relation to all other contentions raised at the Bar, I am in agreement with what has been said by my learned brother Narasimham J., with whose conclusion I entirely agree. I would, therefore, direct that the petitioners in cases (Or. Misc. 182, 193, 193 and 191) be released forthwith.

Das, J.

25. I agree in general with the conclusion of my learned brother Narasimham J., in his judgment.

26. The whole question under discussion has now become academic in view of the repeal of of the President's order by Central Act, IV [4] of 1960, which has come into operation before we pronounced our orders in these oases. It has not been disputed that without the President's order, the continuance of detentions in these oases under the existing Orissa Act would be illegal.

Panigrahi, J.

27. After anxious considera. tion of the points arising in these petitions, I have come to the conclusion that the order pro. posed by my learned brother Narasimham J., is the right one. My mind has swayed alternately between two different principles of constructions; firstly, that it is the duty of a Oourt to construe a statute so as to render it constitutional. Our respect for the integrity and patriotism of the Legislature is such that every effort should be made to reconcile a piece of Legislation with the Oonstitution where it appears to be in apparent conflict with it. Secondly, it is equally true that where the liberty of the citizen and the enactment of a Legislature are in conflict owing to the effect of the Legislation being left in doubt, the benefit of the doubt should be given in favour of the liberty of the citizen. In spite of my earnest attempts to reconcile the Orisaa Maintenance of Public Order Act, 1949 (orissa Act VI [6] of 1949) with the provisions of the Constitution of India as laid down in Articles 12 and 22, I have been unable to uphold the validity of the existing provisions of that Act.

28. I do not propose to examine the provisions of Sections 3 and 4, Orissa Act, and I am in entire agreement with the judgment just now pronounced by my learned brother, that these sections should be declared void in law of the affirmative declaration made in Article 13 of the Constitution. I am equally convinced that it is not open to the Court to substitute: 'three' for 'six' months in Section 4 (1) of the Act so as to harmonize it with the Order of the President. That would be to re-write the law which is beyond the function of this Court. That is a field which other bands should plough. A law which cannot endure the test of the Constitution without judicial amendment must perish. I have, therefore, no hesitation in holding that both Sections 3 and 4, Orissa Act have been rendered void by Article 13.

29. What remains, therefore, is Section 2 (1) (a) which empowers the Provincial Government to detain a person. The scope of a law providing for preventive detention is, however, delimited by Article 22(4) of the Constitution which says that 'no law providing for preventive detention shall authorise the detention of a person for a longer period than three months' unless an Advisory Board recommends the extension of the duration of detention or unless the detention is in accordance with the provisions of any law made by Parliament. Section 2 (1) , Orissa Act breaks under this test as it does not provide, for the Constitution of an Advisory Board as contemplated in Article 4(a), nor does it purport, to be made in accordance with a law made by Parliament under Clause (7) of Article 22. The power vested by Section (2) (1) , Orissa Act, is, therefore, open to the objection that it is inconsistent with. Article 22, Clause (4).

30. What has given me considerable difficulty is the language of Article 372(1) which reads as follows:

'372 (1) Notwithstanding the repeal by this Constitution of the enactments referred to in Article 395 bat subject to the other provisions of this Constitution, all the law in force In the territory of India immediately before the commencement of this Oonstitution shall continue is force therein until altered or repealed or amended by a competent Legislature or other competent authority.'

The expression 'subject to the other provisions of this Constitution' is capable of being understood in two different ways. ON the one hand it may mean that all the laws in force will be subject to the other provisions of this Constitution and thus continue in force until altered or repealed. On the other hand, it may mean that all the laws in force shall continue until altered or repealed by a competent Legislature or other competent authority, subject to the other provisions of this Constitution. In the latter view the alteration, repeal or amendment will be subject to the provisions of the Constitution while the laws in force are declared to continue. Unfortunately, this aspect of the matter was not canvassed at the Bar and I have, therefore, to blaze my own track, after such study as I could make of similar provisions occurring in other Dominion Acts. Section 392, Government of India Act, 1935 reads as follows:

'Notwithstanding the repeal by this Aot of the Government of India Aot (that Is to say, the Government of India Act, 1919) but subject to the other provisions of this Act, all the law in force in British India, Immediately before the commencement of Part III of this Aot shall continue in force in British India until altered or repealed or amended by a competent Legislature or other competent authority.'

Section 108, Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, 1900, reads as follows:

'Every law in force in a colony which has become or becomes a State, and relating to any matter within the powers of Parliament of the Commonwealth, shall subject to this Constitution, continue in foroe in that State; and until provision IB made in that behalf by the Parliament of the Commonwealth, the Parliament of the State shall have suoh powers of alteration or repeal in respect ol any each law as the Parliament of the Colony became a State.'

Section 135, Union of South Africa Act, 1900,

'Subject to the provisions of this Aot, all laws enforced in the several Colonies at the establishment of the Union shall continue in foroe in the respective provinces until repealed or amended by Parliament or by the Provincial Councils in matters in respect of which the power to make ordinanoe is reserved or delegated to them. All legal commissions in the several Colonies at the establishment of the Union shall continue as if the Union had not been established.'

Section 129, British North America Aot, 1867, reads:

'All law! In force is Canada, Nova Scotia or New Brunawick at the Union .... shall continue in Onterio, Quebeo, Nova Sootia, or New Brunswick, as if the Union had not been made; subject nevertheless to be repealed, abolished or altered ...'

It will be found that the language employed in these different Aots is slightly different from that employed in the Constitution Act which corresponds more or less to Section 135, Union of South-Africa Act. This provision aims at removing a void created by the new Constitution coming into force and enacts the continuance of the existing laws. But the Constitution of India expressly provides in Article 13(1) that all laws inconsistent with the provisions of Part III shall, to the extent of such inconsistency be void. On a simple reading of the two Articles, together, I am of opinion that Article 379 (1) should be read subject to Article 13(1) and that all existing lawa which are inconsistent with Article 13(1) shall stand, impliedly repealed. The meaning of the expression 'subject' to the other provisions of this 'Constitution' is to be found not so much in a strict etymological propriety of language as in the intention of the Constitution makers to declare all laws inconsistent with the Fundamental Eights as void from the date of commencement of the Constitution. The true nature and character of Article 13(1) can find expression only in giving supremacy over all other existing laws if they are in conflict with the express provisions of this Article, if the other view were to prevail then all laws providing for preventive detention shall continue in force until the Legislature chooses to alter or repeal them and until suoh time Article 13(1) shall remain a dead letter. The obvious result of this interpretation will be that the fundamental rights so solemnly declared in part III of the Constitution shall cease to be operative as being inconsistent with the existing laws and shall be reduced to silence until a competent Legislature or other competent authority alters the existing laws. That is a result which I shudder to think of, it could never have been the intention of the Constiution makers to make the fundamental rights so illusory provisions and intangible.

31. The other provision which has given me no less trouble is the language employed in Article 22(7) of the Constitution. I am satisfied that for the transitional period the Order made by the President under that Article shall have the effect of a law made by Parliament by virtue of Article 373. The order of the President came into force simultaneously with the Constitution as the Order was promulgated on 26th January 1950. There was no void or gap between the old provisions lapsing and the new provisions coming into force, (If therefore, the order of the President is valid and can help the State it will operate from the commencement of the constitution. But here, again, I have satisfied myself that the order of the President has no effect upon the detention of the petitioners. Article 22(7) says :

'Parliament may by law prescribe (a) the circumstances tinder which and the class or classes of cases is which a person may be detained for a period longes than three months under any law providing for preventive detention, without obtaining the opinion of an Advisory Board in accordancs with the provisions of Sub-clause (a) of Clause (4) and (b) the maximum period for which any person may in any class or classes of cases be detained under any law providing for preventive detention.'

To ''prescribe' is its etymological sense means 'to lay down, for direction.' Why did not the Constitution say that the Parliament may by law provide or enact or make as it has done in the other Articles of the Constitution Article 139 (SIC) 'Parliament may by law confer', Article 140 aays 'Parliament may by law make provisions etc.' Article 145 says'subject to the provisions any law made by Parliament,' Article 340 says 'Parliament may by law create or continue,' Articles 340 and 346 enable Parliament to 'make' laws, Article 247 and Article 371 use the expression 'Parliament may by law provide.' Similarly, the President may by order 'specify' under Article 370(1)(b)(ii). tinder the proviso to Article 371 the President may by Order 'direct.' The difference in the language employed in the different articles, leads me to think that the use of the word 'prescribe' in Article 22(7) is not unintentional and that the word should be understood only in its etymological sense. So understood, Article 23(7) read with Article 873 enables the President to prescribe by an order the circumstances and the class or classes of cases in which a person may be detained for a period longer than three months under any law providing for preventive detention. He can also prescribe the maximum period for which any person may be detained under any law providing for preventive detention. Subject to this prescription any law providing for preventive detention may indicate that a personable detained. The President cannot, under this clause, purport to enact a law providing for detention itself. His power is restricted to prescribing the limits within which a piece of legislation can be enacted. The Order of the President can therefore be of no avail to the State in justification of the continuance of detention after the Constitution came into-force, It was open to the State Legislature to undertake legislation within the limits prescribed by the President by his order dated 36th January 1950, jast as it was open to the President to adapt the existing laws in exercise of his powers, conferred by Article 373(2). Nothing bas been done in this regard by either authority and the only plea put forward by the learned Advocate-General is that they had not enough time to bring the existing laws in line with the provisions of the Constitution. But the liberty of the citizen and the conveniences of the Legislature of the Executive cannot be weighed in the same scales. As I have indicated at the beginning, the liberty of the citizen must prevail over other considerations, whether they be that the Legislature had no time or whether they may be due to the fact that the legislation leaves the position in doubt.

32. By the Court.--The above are reasons given for the order already passed on 1st March 1950 directing the release of all the petitioners.

33. We further certify under Article 132(1) of the Constitution that this case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution.


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