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Mohan Lal Suri Vs. S.G. Bose Mullick, District Magistrate - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Writ No. 85-D of 1965
Judge
Reported inAIR1967P& H125
ActsDefence of India Rules, 1962 - Rule 30 and 30(1); Arms Act; Defence of India Act
AppellantMohan Lal Suri
RespondentS.G. Bose Mullick, District Magistrate
Appellant Advocate Gurcharan Singh, Adv.
Respondent Advocate S.S. Chadha, Adv.
Cases ReferredSmt Luxmi Devi v. District Magistrate
Excerpt:
.....from the date when the parties concerned acquire knowledge of passing of the said order. - the district magistrate went on to say that from the information laid before him he was satisfied that it was necessary to detain inder singh with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the defence of india, civil defence, maintenance of public order and peaceful conditions in delhi. state of jammu and kashmir, air 1957 sc 164 referred to in the above noted full bench judgment and relevant for our purposes was that 'where power was vested in a statutory authority to deprive the liberty of a subject on its subjective satisfaction with reference to specified matters, if that satisfaction was stated to be based on a number of grounds or for a variety of reasons, all..........corpus alleging that inder singh was arrested on 4th september, 1965, under the orders of the district magistrate, delhi, passed on 2nd september 1965 under rule 30 of the defence of india rules (copy of the order being annexure 'a'). this order was served on the detenu on 10th september, 1965 intimating to him at the same time that the order had been confirmed by the administrator on 3rd september 1965. the petitioner alleged that the detention of inder singh was illegal and was an abuse of the powers vested in the district magistrate under rule 30 of the defence of india rules. he added that these provisions were used for ulterior purpose and, therefore, the detention of inder singh was mala fide the petitioner then went on to say that the district magistrate had taken into.....
Judgment:
ORDER

J.S. Bedi, J.

1. Mohan Lal Suri brother of Inder Singh detenu lodged this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution read with Section 491, Cri. P. C., for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus alleging that Inder Singh was arrested on 4th September, 1965, under the orders of the District Magistrate, Delhi, passed on 2nd September 1965 under Rule 30 of the Defence of India Rules (copy of the order being annexure 'A'). This order was served on the detenu on 10th September, 1965 intimating to him at the same time that the order had been confirmed by the administrator on 3rd September 1965. The petitioner alleged that the detention of Inder Singh was illegal and was an abuse of the powers vested in the District Magistrate under Rule 30 of the Defence of India Rules. He added that these provisions were used for ulterior purpose and, therefore, the detention of Inder Singh was mala fide The petitioner then went on to say that the District Magistrate had taken into consideration such facts which had no relation to the provisions of Rule 30 of the Rules and that there was no direct relation between the grounds of detention qua the provisions of the Defence of India Rules.

The petitioner mentioned that the detenu was convicted in two cases under the Gambling Act and was sentenced to a fine of Rs. 10 and Rs. 8 in 1954 and 1955 respectively and that no other case was registered against him till 1965 when he was again arrested under the Gambling Act but was acquitted. Nine years ago the detenu was proceeded against for keeping in the possession six mashas of charas but he was acquitted in that case also The petitioner then stated that there was no case against the detenu after 1961 except when in a general raid he was arrested under Section 107/151, Cri. P. C., on the approach of Diwali or Holi festival. These arrests were made indiscriminately by the police but the persons rounded up were released four or five days after the festival. The petitioner added that the detenu had never been arrested in any case involving violence or show of force and that the activities of the detenu were too remote to be taken into consideration for the purpose of his detention in the year 1965. It was alleged that the detention was further illegal as the District Magistrate did not apply his mind to the individual facts of this case whereas he was required to act judicially in passing the detention order. On 2nd September 1965 he signed over 100 such orders which were confirmed by the Administrator on the next day. He then went on to say that the orders passed by the District Magistrate indiscriminately were confirmed by the Administrator arbitrarily.

2. Notice of this petition was given for 13th October, 1965 in response to which the District Magistrate put in his affidavit dated 12th October 1965. He denied the allegations levelled against him in the petition and averred that the detenu was a dangerous and desperate character of police station Kingsway Camp area who thrived on violent crime, harboured criminals and also indulged in satta (gambling) to the detriment of public peace and tranquillity. He was a History-sheeter of bundle 'A' of police station Kingsway Camp whose criminal history revealed that he had been prosecuted for offence under the Arms Act and security cases under Section 107/151, Cri. P. Code, had to be taken against him several times. The last time he was arrested under Section 107/151 of the Code was in March 1965 and the proceedings were still pending. Besides, he had been prosecuted under the Gambling and Excise Acts several times. Many a time he had secured acquittals by suborning witnesses against him. The District Magistrate went on to say that from the information laid before him he was satisfied that it was necessary to detain Inder Singh with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the defence of India, civil defence, maintenance of public order and peaceful conditions in Delhi.

3. This case was hotly argued by both the parties. The judgment of Supreme Court in the case of Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia v. State of Bihar. Writ Petn. No. 79 of 1965, dated 7-9-1965: (reported in AIR 1966 SC 740), and the Full Bench judgment of this Court in Kacheru Ram v. District Magistrate, Delhi, Cri. Writ No. 7-D of 1965, dated 6-8-1965 (Punj), were read in Court. Their Lordships of the Supreme Court by a majority judgment held that the expression 'Law and order and 'Public order' were not synonymous terms. 'Law and order' was a comprehensive expression in which would be included not merely public order, but matters such as public peace, tranquillity, orderliness in a locality or a local area and perhaps some other matters. 'Public order' was something distinct from order or orderliness in a local area. It was further observed in that judgment that under Rule 30 (1) of the Defence of India Rules no power was conferred upon the authority to detain a person on the ground that it was necessary so to do in order to prevent that person from acting in a manner prejudicial to the maintenance of order in a local area. (This view is contrary to the one taken by our Full Bench in the above mentioned case). The other observation of the Supreme Court in Dwarka Das Bhatia v. State of Jammu and Kashmir, AIR 1957 SC 164 referred to in the above noted Full Bench judgment and relevant for our purposes was that 'where power was vested in a statutory authority to deprive the liberty of a subject on its subjective satisfaction with reference to specified matters, if that satisfaction was stated to be based on a number of grounds or for a variety of reasons, all taken together, and if some out of them were found to be non-existent or irrelevant, the very exercise of that power was bad.'

It has been unequivocally laid down in a number of cases that it is the satisfaction of the detaining authority, may be the Central/State Government or the District Magistrate which is required in such cases, and that the Courts cannot go into that question. It is also well settled that the Courts can look into the affidavit of the detaining authority and decide whether the grounds given therein have any rational connection with the detention order. These principles are well settled by Supreme Court and this Court's Full Bench judgments mentioned above which need not be discussed in any detail. These are some of the principles which the Court must keep in mind when deciding cases of this nature.

4. The point which requires determination is whether, in the present case, there is any rational connection between the allegations made against the petitioner and the order of detention. The affidavit of the District Magistrate, however, is quite vague. It was alleged that the detenu thrived on violent crime, harboured criminals and also indulged in satta; but no details of the above allegations were given. It was also stated therein that the detenu was prosecuted under the Arms Act but when and with what result, is not stated by the District Magistrate. The District Magistrate then stated that security proceedings had been taken against the detenu several times but again 10 particulars were given and the last of such cases was in March 1965 which was still pending in a Court. Besides, it was alleged that the detenu was prosecuted in gambling cases, again for which no details were given. From the history supplied by the District Magistrate mentioned above, one cannot find that there was any rational connection between the allegations against the detenu and the order of detention. The cases against him mentioned by the District Magistrate could be properly tried under the ordinary law of the land. The Defence of India Act and the rules made thereunder is a very special legislation which should be brought into play only in very special cases, for instance, where a person tried to instigate the public against the State, or tried to spread communal hatred among various communities, or did something which would endanger the safety of the State. The mere fact that the police, for one reason or the other is unable to secure the conviction of a person or otherwise control him would not justify resort to the Defence of India Rules.

5. My attention was drawn by the petitioner's counsel to a recent judgment of P. D. Sharma, J. in Smt. Narinder Kaur v. District Magistrate Delhi, Cri. Writ No. 57-D of 1965, dated 29-9-1965 (Punj) and submitted that the allegations against Banta Singh, the detenu in that case, were more serious but even then the petition was accepted and Banta Singh released. The State counsel on the other hand submitted that the order of detention was passed on 2nd September 1965 when our country was attacked by Pakistan. The conditions at the time of passing this order were extraordinary and abnormal when the police force left in Delhi was scanty There fore, the order of detention was justified. On this point he cited adjudgment of S.K. Kapur, J. delivered on 8-10-1965 in Smt Luxmi Devi v. District Magistrate, Delhi, Cri. Writ No. 64-D of 1965 (Punj). It is true that the order of detention was passed on 2nd September, 1965, but the paucity of the police force would not justify the rounding up and detaining such people under the Defence of India Rules when other remedies could be available under the ordinary law. It was then pointed out by the State counsel that although it was argued before S. K. Kapur, J. that the detention order was passed with a view to preventing the detenu from acting in a manner prejudicial to the public order etc. and that the entire order would stand vitiated if it was found that the order was not justified in the circumstances and in support of this argument the petitioner's counsel in that case relied on the observations of Mudholkar J. in Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia's case, Writ Petn. No. 79 of 1965, dated 7-9-1965: (reported in AIR 1966 SC 740) yet in spite of it the learned Judge dismissed the writ petition. But the view taken by the Supreme Court is quite definite: that in these circumstances the order of detention would be bad. The learned Judge in Smt. Luxmi Devi's case, Cri. Writ No. 64-D of 1965, dated 8-10-1965 (Punj) gave no reasons for distinguishing the view taken by the Supreme Court on the point raised before him. However, now that the clash with Pakistan is over, no such abnormality exists. I am, therefore, of the opinion that the allegations attributed to the detenu do not in any way infringe against the public order nor are they in any way prejudicial to the defence of India. Taking, therefore, into consideration the observations of the Supreme Court and of the Full Bench, mentioned above, I feel that it is not a case in which the detenu can be detained under Rule 30 of the Defence of India Rules. He shall, therefore, be set at liberty forthwith.


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