1. These three petitions under Article 32 of the Constitution are by three persons detained under the Preventive Detention Act, on the ground that their detention was necessary in order to maintain supplies and services essential to the community.
2. In the case of the detenu Durga Show in Writ Petition No. 198 of 1969, the facts given in the Counter affidavit filed on behalf of the State Government show that his representation was received by the Government on 29th May, 196(sic), but it was considered and rejected by the Government on 11th August, 1969.
3. In the case of the detenu Nand Kishore Ojha in Writ Petition No. 205 of 1969, the representation was received on 18th June, 1969 'and was considered and rejected by the Government on 16th August, 1969. In both these cases the rejection order was made after the receipt of the report of, the Advisory Board and after the Government had confirmed the orders of detention in pursuance of the report.
4. In the third case of Balgobonda Gore m Writ Petition No. 206 of 1969, the representation was received on 28th June, 1969 and was considered and rejected on 14th July, 1969, on which date it was also sent to the Advisory Board.
5. The common feature in all the three cases is that there is considerable delay between the receipt of the representation and its consideration and rejection by the the Government. In none of the cases any attempt has been made in the counter affidavit to explain the delay. A delay of 16 days which is the minimum out of that the cases is a long delay where a person is being detained without trial under a special law relating to preventive detention. This Court in its judgment dated 31st January, 1969 in Writ Petition No. 327 of 198 Sk Abdul Karim and Ors. v. State of West Bengal 1969 S.C.D. 844 explained the duty of the State Government arising out of the provisions of Article 22(5) of the Constitution to consider the representation received from a detenu in the following words :
But it is necessarily implicit in the language of Article 22(5) that the State Government to whom the representation is made should properly consider the representation as expeditiously as possible. The Constitution of an Advisory Board under Section 8 of the Act does not relieve the State Government from the legal obligation to consider the representation of the detenu as soon as it is received by it.
1969 S.C.D. 944
7. Clearly, the facts mentioned above show that this requirement laid down by the Constitution has not been satisfied in the case of any of these three petitioners before us. They were entitled to receive a consideration of their representations by the State Government as expeditiously as possible which the Government failed to do, and consequently their continuance in detention thereafter is illegal. As a result, the three petitions are allowed All the three petitioners shall be set at liberty forthwith.