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Sohan Singh Vs. State of Punjab - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Misc. No. 45 of 1963
Judge
Reported inAIR1963P& H408; 1963CriLJ320
ActsDefence of India Act, 1962 - Sections 3(2)(15); Defence of India Rules, 1962 - Rule 30 and 30(1); Constitution of India - Article 226
AppellantSohan Singh
RespondentState of Punjab
Appellant Advocate Party in person through B.S. Bindra, Adv.
Respondent Advocate S.M. Sikri, Adv. General
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredState of Bombay v. Atma Ram Sridhar
Excerpt:
.....that with a view to prevent him from acting in a manner prejudicial to the defence of india and civil defence it is necessary that the said sohan singh josh bo detained; the state government, after considering all the material bearing on the point, was satisfied in respect of the petitioner that with a view to preventing him from acting in a manner prejudicial to the defence of india and civil defence, it was necessary that he be detained and accordingly the state government made the detention order referred to above on 20-11-1962. the fact that some articles were published in the nawan zamana in support of india's war effort is admitted on behalf of the respondent, but it is stated that the petitioner also published in some issues of the paper maps showing the claims of china over..........amritsar is reported to be indulging in activities prejudicial to the defence of india and civil defence by making propaganda against joining the armed and civil defence forces and by urging the people not to contribute towards the national defence fund; and, whereas, the governor of punjab is satisfied in respect of the said sohan singh josh that with a view to prevent him from acting in a manner prejudicial to the defence of india and civil defence it is necessary that the said sohan singh josh bo detained;now, therefore, in pursuance of the provisions of rule 3o(1)(b) of the defence of india rules, the governor of punjab hereby directs that the said sohan singh josh be detained at gurgaon in the gurgaon jail and in matters relating to maintenance, discipline and the punishment.....
Judgment:
ORDER

H.R. Khanna, J.

1. This a habeas corpus petition filed by Shri Sohan Singh Josh who has been ordered by the Punjab Government to be detained under Rule 30(1)(b) of the Defence of India Rules.

2. The petitioner is a member of the central executive of the Communist Party of India 'and at the time of his arrest was the editor-in-chief of the Punjabi daily 'Nawan Zamana' run by the Punjab unit of the Communist Party of India from Jullun-dur City. On 20-11-1963 the following order for the detention of the petitioner was made--

'Whereas Shri Sohan Singh Josh son of Lal Sitigh r/o Chetanpur District Amritsar is reported to be indulging in activities prejudicial to the Defence of India and Civil Defence by making propaganda against joining the Armed and Civil Defence Forces and by urging the people not to contribute towards the National Defence Fund; And, whereas, the Governor of Punjab is satisfied in respect of the said Sohan Singh Josh that with a view to prevent him from acting in a manner prejudicial to the Defence of India and Civil Defence it is necessary that the said Sohan Singh Josh bo detained;

Now, therefore, in pursuance of the provisions of Rule 3o(1)(b) of the Defence of India Rules, the Governor of Punjab hereby directs that the said Sohan Singh Josh be detained at Gurgaon in the Gurgaon jail and in matters relating to maintenance, discipline and the punishment of offences and breaches of discipline the said Sohan Singh Josh shall be governed by the Punjab Detenus Rules, 1950, as amended upto-date'.

In pursuance of the above order, the petitioner was arrested on 21-11-1962 at Jullundur and since then is under detention. According to the petitioner, the charges levelled against him in the detention order about his reported indulgence in activities prejudicial to the defence of India and civil defence wore false and calculated to slander him and his party as they suggested and insinuated that he was anti-national and was not carrying out in practice the resolution of the national executive of the Communist Party of India passed on 1-11-1962 in Delhi. The aforesaid resolution supported the Indian Government's policy with regard to the Chinese aggression.

The aforesaid charges, it is stated, are completely belied by the articles and notes written toy the petitioner in the Nawan Zamana under his own signatures as the editor-in-chief. The petitioner claims to have written twenty leading articles and notes condemning Chinese aggression calling upon the people to defend the hard-won freedom and integrity of India and to join the defence forces and to donate money, gold and blood for defence and make other sacrifices to save the honour and, independence of the mother land. The petitioner also adopted the position that there should be no negotiations till status-quo before 8-9-1962 was restored by the Chinese Government and aggression vacated. The petitioner accordingly alleges that his detention is vindicative and illegal. He has also referred to the fact that he is being given 'C' class treatment in jail although previously when he was an M. L. A. and M. L. C. he used to get 'A' class treatment during the time of his detention in 1939 and 1948. An affidavit has also been filed by the petitioner about the correctness of the allegations made in the petition.

3. The State of Punjab in reply has filed the affidavit of Shri J. D. Khanna, Deputy Secretary to Government Punjab, Home Department, in which it is stated that it was reported to the State Government that the petitioner was indulging in activities prejudicial to the defence of India and civil defence by making propaganda against joining the aimed and civil defence forces and by urging the people not to contribute towards the National Defence Fund. The State Government, after considering all the material bearing on the point, was satisfied in respect of the petitioner that with a view to preventing him from acting in a manner prejudicial to the defence of India and civil defence, it was necessary that he be detained and accordingly the State Government made the detention order referred to above on 20-11-1962. The fact that some articles were published in the Nawan Zamana in support of India's war effort is admitted on behalf of the respondent, but it is stated that the petitioner also published in some issues of the paper maps showing the claims of China over Indian territory. The petitioner was also stated to be favouring the acceptance of the Chinese proposals more than the Indian line of action. The petitioner was further stated to have been playing a double game and was propagating against joining the armed and civil defence forces and urging the people not to contribute towards the National Defence Fund.

4. I have heard the petitioner and his learned counsel Mr. B. S. Bindra and also Mr. S. M. Sikri on behalf of the Punjab State and am of the view that no case has been made out for interfering with the detention of the petitioner. The order for detention has been made under Clause (b) of Sub-rule (1) of Rule 30 of the Defence of India Rules. These rules have been framed under Section 3 of the Defence of India Act (51 of 1962). This section authorises the Central Government to make such rules as appear to it to be necessary or expedient for securing the defence of India and civil defence, the public safety, the maintenance of public order or the efficient conduct of military operations, or for maintaining supplies and services essential to the life of the community. Sub-section (2) of Section 3 deals with some of the matters for which the rates may provide without prejudice to the generality oi powers conferred by Sub-section (1). Sub-clause (i) of Clause (15) of Sub-section (2) of Section 3 states that the rules may provide notwithstanding any other law for the time being in force for--

'the apprehension and detention in custody of any person whom the authority empowered by the rules to apprehend or detain (the authority empowered to detain not being lower in rank than that of a District Magistrate) suspects, on grounds appearing to that authority to be reasonable, of being of hostile origin or of having acted, acting, being about to act or being likely to act in a manner prejudicial to the defence of India and civil defence the security of the State, the public safety or interest, the maintenance of public order, India's relations with foreign States, the maintenance of, peaceful conditions in any part or area of India or the efficient conduct of military operations, or with respect to whom that authority is Satisfied that his apprehension and detention are necessary for the purpose of preventing him from acting in any such-prejudicial manner'.

Clause (b) of Sub-rule (1) of Rule 30 under which the petitioner has been ordered to be detained, reads as under--

'30. Restriction of movements of suspected persons, restriction orders and detention orders.-- (1).The Central Government or the State Government, ifit is satisfied with respect to any particular personthat with a view to preventing him from acting inany manner prejudicial to the defence of India andcivil defence, the public safety, the maintenance ofpublic order, India's relations with foreign powers,the maintenance of peaceful conditions in any partof India or the efficient conduct of military operations, it is necessary so to do, may make an order-

* * * *(b) directing that he be detained;''

Perusal of the above provisions of law goes to show that it is the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be, which has to be satisfied with respect to any particular person that with a view to prevent him from acting in a manner prejudicial to the defence of India or the civil defence it is necessary to make an order directing that he be detained. In the present case, the detention order made by the State Government shows that the Government is satisfied that with a view to prevent the petitioner from acting in a manner prejudicial to the defence of India and civil defence it is necessary that the petitioner be detained. Besides that, there is also the affidavit of Shri J. D. Khanna Deputy Secretary to Government Punjab, Home Department, which goes to show that the Punjab Government after considering all the material bearing on the point was satisfied in respect of the petitioner that it was necessary to detain him with a view to prevent him from acting in a manner prejudicial to the defence of India and civil defence. I thus find that all the conditions which were necessary for the detention of the petitioner-are satisfied in this case.

5. It has been argued on behalf of the petitioner that he has been supporting the war effort and wrote a number of articles and exhorting the people to defeat the Chinese aggression and to make sacrifices for the defence of the country and that consequently it is highly improbable that the petitioner would try to act in a manner prejudicial to the defence efforts of the country. An article published in an issue of the Nawan Zamana has been read out which no doubt goes to show that the petitioner in that issue asked the people to support the defence efforts of the Government and to make all sacrifices. The stand of the State of Punjab, however, is that the petitioner was playing a double game and was indulging in hoodwinking. Be that as it may, this Court cannot, in my view, go into the sufficiency of the material on the basis of which the State Government is satisfied that it is necessary to detain him with a view to prevent him from acting in a manner prejudicial to the defence of India and civil defence. The Court cannot substitute its own judgment for that of the Government and hold that even though the Government was satisfied about the necessity of the detention, it (the Government) should not have been so satisfied on the material before it.

According to the law as it exists, it is tha Government which has to be satisfied about the need of the detention provided the grounds of detention are related to the objects mentioned in Rule 30 and in case the Government is satisfied about the existence of those grounds the Court, in a petition for habeas corpus cannot interfere unless it is shown that the order of the Government is mala fide of which there is no proof in the present case. The grounds on which the detention of the petitioner has been ordered have a rational connection with the objects mentioned in Rule 30 and as such his detention cannot be challenged. I may in this connection refer to State of Bombay v. Atma Ram Sridhar, 1951 SCR 167 : (AIR 1951 SC 157). Although that was a case under the Preventive Detention Act, 1950, there are certain observations which have a bearing and may with advantage be reproduced as under--

'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'.

Mr. Bindra has frankly conceded that if there be material with the State Government on the basis of which it is satisfied about the existence of grounds for the passing of a detention order, it is not open to the Courts to go into that material and hold that the material is not sufficient to justify the order for detention. He, however, contends that in the present case there was no material at all with the State Government against the petitioner and as such there could be no satisfaction of the State Government about the existence of grounds for the detention of the petitioner. In my opinion, this contention is devoid of force. The detention order itself makes it clear that it was reported to the Government that the petitioner was indulging in activities prejudicial to the defence of India and civil defence by making propaganda against joining the armed and civil defence forces and by urging the people not to contribute towards the National Defence Fund. The order further makes it clear that on receipt of these reports the Punjab Government was satisfied that it was necessary to detain the petitioner with a view to prevent him from acting in a manner prejudicial to the defence of India and civil defence. The affidavit of Shri J. D. Khanna also shows that reports were received by the State Government that the petitioner was indulging in activities prejudicial to the defence of India and civil defence by making propaganda against joining the armed and civil defence forces and by urging the people not to contribute towards the National Defence Fund. The State Government considered all the material and was satisfied that the petitioner was acting in a manner prejudicial to the defence of India and civil defence and that it was necessary to detain him. In view of the above, it cannot be said that there was no material with the State Government on the basis of which it felt satisfied about the necessity of detention of the petitioner.

6. Mr. Bindra has also referred to Articles 21 and 22 of the Constitution which deal with protection Of life and personal liberty and protection against arrest and detention in certain cases. It is however conceded that right of any person to move any Court for the enforcement of rights conferred by the above-mentioned two Articles has been suspended for the period of emergency by the President in accordance with the powers vested to him under Clause (1) of Article 352 of the Constitution as per notification No. GSR 1464 dated 3-11-1962. In the circumstances the petitioner cannot derive any benefit from Articles 21 and 22.

7. It has also been argued on behalf of the petitioner that the ground of detention is vague, but on reference to the detention order I find that it does not suffer from the infirmity of vagueness. Moreover, the ground of vagueness can be availed of only if there is a right of representation and review of the detention order by some authority. It is however the common case of both the parties that no right of representation to, and review by, an authority has been provided in the rules as they are at present.

8. It has lastly been urged on behalf of the petitioner that he is now being treated as a 'C' class prisoner even though during the course of his past detention when he was an M. L. A. and M. L. C. he was treated as 'A' class prisoner. It is stated that this treatment has been meted out to the petitioner in a vindicative spirit. Shri J. D. Khanna in his affidavit about the aforesaid aliegation has stated that under the rules, all M. L. A.s. and M. L. C.s. are entitled to 'B' class treatment in jail and as regards others they are eligible for this treatment if they have passed at least Intermediate examination or have a monthly income of Rs. 500/- or pay at least Rs. 500/- annual land revenue. The petitioner at the hearing of the petition has stated that though his University certificate has been lost, he passed his Intermediate examination and as such is entitled to 'B' class treatment. This Court feels sure that the State Government will look into the matter regarding the claim of the petitioner to 'B' class treatment and pass the necessary orders.

9. In view of the above, the petition fails and is dismissed.


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