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Ananta Mukhi Alias Ananta Hari Vs. the State of West Bengal - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtSupreme Court of India
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petition No. 322 of 1971
Judge
Reported inAIR1972SC1256; 1972CriLJ885; (1972)1SCC580; [1972]3SCR379
ActsWest Bengal (Prevention of Violent Activities) Act, 1970 - Sections 3(2); Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) - Sections 3, 3(1), 3(2), 3(2)(15) and 110
AppellantAnanta Mukhi Alias Ananta Hari
RespondentThe State of West Bengal
Appellant Advocate R.K. Jain, Adv
Respondent Advocate G.L. Mukhoty and ; G.S. Chatterjee, Advs.
Cases ReferredShyamal Mondal v. State of West Bengal
Excerpt:
.....activities) act, 1970 - order under section 3 (3) issued to detain appellant for 'acting in manner prejudicial to security of state or maintenance of public order' as defined under section 3 (2) - grounds for detention challenged - involvement of appellant as naxalite worker in offences of dacoity and murder sufficient for applicability of section 3 (2) - use of disjunctive 'or' in said order can be treated as mechanical reproduction of section 3 (2) which is not sufficient to quash the order though specific ground of detention ought to be mentioned to avoid element of casualness. - section 37 :[d.k.jain & r.m.lodha,jj] nature and scope- scope of power of high court to grant bail under effect of non obstante clause - conditions and limitations for grant of bail - reasonable..........chakbazir, p.s. debra, dt. midnapore that with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the state or the maintenance of public order, it is necessary so to do, i therefore in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section 1 read with sub-section 3 of section 3 of the west bengal (prevention of violent activities) act, 1970 (president's act no. 19 of 1970) make this order directing that the said shri ananta mukhi @ ananta hari be detained.given under my hand and seal of office.sd/- district magistratemidnaporesoon after the detention order, the petitioner was found to be absconding. he was arrested on may 5, 1971 and was served with the order of detention along with the ground of detention and the vernacular translation thereof on the same.....
Judgment:
ORDER

No. 97/C Dated 24.4.71Whereas I am satisfied with respect to the person known as Shri Ananta Mukhi @ Ananta Hari son of Gobardhan @ Gurai of Antpara, Chakbazir, P.S. Debra, Dt. Midnapore that with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State or the Maintenance of public order, it is necessary so to do, I therefore in exercise of the powers conferred by Sub-section 1 read with Sub-section 3 of Section 3 of the West Bengal (Prevention of Violent Activities) Act, 1970 (President's Act No. 19 of 1970) make this order directing that the said Shri Ananta Mukhi @ Ananta Hari be detained.

Given under my hand and Seal of office.

Sd/- District Magistrate

Midnapore

Soon after the detention order, the petitioner was found to be absconding. He was arrested on May 5, 1971 and was served with the order of detention along with the ground of detention and the vernacular translation thereof on the same day. On April 26, 1971 the District Magistrate of Midnapore reported to the State Government about the making of the detention order against the petitioner together with the grounds of detention and other necessary particulars. The said report and particulars were considered by the State Government and on May 4, 1971 the detention order was approved by the State Government. On the same day the State Government submitted a report to the Central Government together with the grounds of detention and other necessary particulars. The case of the petitioner was placed by the State Government before the Advisory Board on June 3, 1971. In the meanwhile, on May 20, 1971 the State Government received a representation of the petitioner dated May 13, 1971. The said representation was considered by the State Government and was rejected as per order dated June 2. 1971. The representation of the petitioner was then forwarded to the Advisory Board. The Advisory Board after considering the material before it, including the representation of the petitioner, and after hearing him in person, sent its report to the State Government on July 8, 1971. Opinion was expressed by the Advisory Board that there was sufficient cause for the detention of the petitioner. By an order dated July 16, 1971 the State Government confirmed the order of detention of the petitioner.

19. The petition has been resisted by the respondents and the affidavit of Shri Manoranjan Dey, Assistant Secretary, Home (Special) Department, Government of West Bengal has been filed in opposition to the petition.

20. We have heard Mr. R.K. Jain who has argued the case amicus curiae on behalf of the petitioner and Mr. G.L. Mukhoti on behalf of the State. One of the contentions advanced by Mr. Jain is that the detaining authority has taken into consideration facts extraneous to Section 3 of the Act in making the order of detention, and therefore the said order is illegal. In this respect we find that in the grounds of detention which were supplied to the petitioner under Sub-section 1 of Section 8 of the Act, the following particulars were mentioned:

(1) That on 4.10.69, at about 21-30 hrs., you along with 50/60 Naxalite supporters being armed with lethal weapons raided the house of Shri Pulin Bihari Mandal of Bhuiyabasan, P.S. Debra in order to kill him. The house owner somehow managed to save his life. You and your associates then looted cash, ornaments, utensils and other properties worth about Rs. 10,000 from the house.

(2) That on 8.11.69, at about 20.00 hrs., you along with 20/22 Naxalite workers armed with lethal weapons raided the house of Shri Bistu Pada Bhuiya of Radhakantapur, P.S. Debra and killed his two brothers named Madan Bhuiya and Kshudiram Bhuiya by sharp cutting weapons. You and your associates also looted ornaments and other articles from the house.

21. It would appear from the above that according to the grounds of detention, the petitioner along with 50/60 other persons armed with lethal weapons raided the house of Pulin Bihari Mandal on October 4, 1969 at night time and looted cash, ornaments, utensils and other properties worth Rs. 10,000 from the house. It is farther alleged that on November 8, 1969 at about 10 p.m. the petitioner along with 20/22 associates armed with lethal weapons raided the house of Bistu Pada Bhuiya of Radhakantapur and killed his two brothers Madan Bhuiya and Kshudiram Bhuiya by sharp cutting weapons and also looted ornaments and other articles from the house. The above facts would show that the case against the petitioner was covered by Clause (d) of Sub-section 2 of Section 3 of the Act. Sub-sections 1 and 2 of Section 3 of the Act read as under:

(1) The State Government may, if satisfied with respect to any person that with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State or the maintenance of public order, it is necessary so to do, make an order directing that such person be detained.

(2) For the purposes of Sub-section 1, the expression 'acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State or the maintenance of public order' means-

(a) using, or instigating any person by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise, to use, any lethal weapon-

(1) to promote or propagate any cause or ideology, the promotion or propagation of which affects, or is likely to affect, adversely the security of the State or the maintenance of public order; or

(2) to overthrow or to overawe the Government established by law in India.

Explanation.- In this clause, 'lethal weapon' includes fire-arms, explosive or corrosive substances, swords, spears, daggers, bows and arrows; or

(b) committing mischief, within the meaning of Section 425 of the Indian Penal Code, by fire or any explosive substance on any property of Government or any local authority or any corporation owned or controlled by Government or any University or other educational institution or on any public building, where the commission of such mischief disturbs, or is likely to disturb, public order; or.

(c) causing insult to the Indian National Flag or to any other object of public veneration, whether by mutilating, damaging, burning, defiling, destroying or otherwise, or instigating any person to do so.

Explanation.- In this clause, 'object of public veneration' includes any portrait or statue of an eminent Indian, installed in a public place as a mark of respect to him or to his memory; or

(d) committing, or instigating any person to commit, any offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term extending to seven years or more or any offence under the Arms Act. 1959 or the Explosive Substances Act, 1908, where the commission of such offence disturbs, or is likely to disturb, public order; or

(e) in the case of a person referred to in clauses (a) to (f) of Section 110 of the CrPC, 1898, committing any offence punishable with imprisonment where the commission of such offence disturbs, or is likely to disturb, public order.

The first allegation discloses that the petitioner and his associates were guilty of dacoity, while the second allegation shows that at the time of the commission of the offence of dacoity, the petitioner and his associates also murdered two persons. As such, according to the grounds of detention, the petitioner and his associates committed offences punishable with death or imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term extending to seven years or more. The aforesaid activities of the petitioner, according to the affidavit of Shri Manoranjan Dey, disturbed public order and the petitioner became a terror to the residents of the locality. We see no cogent ground to take a different view. It is obvious that when such a large number of persons, who were stated to be Naxalite workers, armed with lethal weapons commit the offence of dacoity and dacoity with murder, such offences disturb or are likely to disturb public order. According to Sub-section 1 of Section 3 of the Act, the State Government may, if so satisfied with respect to any person that with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State or the maintenance of public order, it is necessary so to do, make an order directing that such person be detained. Sub-section 3 empowers a District Magistrate to exercise the powers, if so satisfied, conferred by Sub-section 1.

22. The activities of the petitioner as mentioned in the grounds of detention, in our opinion, show that they were not of an extraneous character but fell within the expression 'acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of State or the maintenance of public order' as denned in Sub-section 2 of section 3 of the Act.

23. The second submission of Mr. Jain is that the order of detention made by the District Magistrate shows that he has not duly applied his mind before making the detention order, as according to the order the petitioner was detained 'with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State or the maintenance of public order'. It is urged that the District Magistrate should have specified in the order as to whether it was necessary to detain the petitioner from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State or whether it was necessary to detain him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order. The District Magistrate, according to the learned Counsel, could have also, if facts so warranted, passed an order for detention of the petitioner on. both the above grounds but he could not make an indefinite order by using the word 'or' in the same and stating that it was necessary to detain the petitioner with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner 'prejudicial to the security of the State or the maintenance of public order'. The order, it is stated, is a mechanical reproduction of the statute and shows that there was not due application of the mind before the order was made.

24. The above contention has been resisted by Mr. Mukhoti and in our opinion, is not well founded. We have reproduced Sub-section 2 of Section 3 of the Act earlier and it would appear therefrom that a comprehensive definition has been given of the expression 'acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State or the maintenance of public order'. The definition shows that the whole thing has been clubbed together and no separate definitions have been given, one in respect of 'acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State' and another in respect of 'acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order'. The various acts which have been specified in the different clauses of Sub-section 2 of Section 3 fall within the compendious expression 'acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State or the maintenance of public order', and it would not, in our opinion, introduce an infirmity in the detention order if it is stated therein that it is necessary to detain a detenu with a view to prevent him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State or the maintenance of public order.

25. It is no doubt true that if a statute mentions different grounds for the detention of a person, the order of detention should specify distinctly the ground or grounds for which the detenu has been ordered to be detained and it would not be permissible to state that the detenu has been ordered to be detained for ground (a) 'or' ground (b). The use of the word 'or' would show in cases falling under such a statute, an element of casualness in the making of the order as held by this Court in the case of Jagannath Misra v. State of Orissa. : 1966CriLJ817 The detenu in that case had been ordered to be detained under Rule 30(1)(b) of the Defence of India Rules, 1962 and according to the order of detention, the order had been made with a view to preventing the detenu 'from acting in any manner prejudicial to the defence of India and civil defence, the public safety, the maintenance of public order, India's relations with foreign powers, the maintenance of peaceful conditions in any part of India or the efficient conduct of military operations'. This Court observed:

There is another aspect of the order which leads to the same conclusion and unmistakably shows casual-ness in the making of the order. Where a number of grounds are the basis of a detention order, we would expect the various grounds to be joined by the conjunctive 'and' and the use of the disjunctive 'or' in such a case makes no sense. In the present order however we find that the disjunctive 'or' has been used, showing that the order is more or less a copy of Section 3(2)(15) without any application of the mind or the authority concerned to the grounds which apply in the present case.

26. The above principle would, however, not apply in the case of a person ordered to be detained under the Act with which we are dealing because of the special definition given in Sub-section 2 of Section 3 of the Act of the expression 'acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State or the maintenance of public order'. According to the definition, each one of the activities mentioned in the various clauses of the said sub-section, constitutes an act 'prejudicial to the security of the State or the maintenance of public order'. The presence of the word 'or' in the definition itself tends to show that the use of mat word in the order is not impermissible and there was no element of casualness or absence of due application of the mind in the making of the impugned order.

27. In the case of Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia v. State of Bihar and Ors. [1996] 1 S.CR.709, this Court while expounding the words 'maintenance of public order', observed:

one has to imagine three concentric circles : Law and order represents the largest circle within which is the next circle representing public order and the smallest circle represents the security of the State.

The above observations were relied upon by this Court in the H subsequent case of Madhu Limave v. Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Monghyr and Ors. [1970] 3 S.C.R. 746 and it was observed:

The expression 'public order' includes absence of all acts which are a danger to the security of the State and also acts which are comprehended by the expression 'order publique' explained above but not acts which disturb only the serenity of others.

In the case of State of West Bengal v. Ashok Dey and Ors. etc. etc. (Cr. Appeal No. 217 to 223 of 1971 decided on November 19, 1971) while dealing with different clauses of Section 3, this Court observed:

That, disturbance of public order in a State may in turn prejudicially affect its security, is also undeniable. Fairly close and rational nexus between these clauses and the maintenance of public order and security of the State of West Bengal is writ large on the face of these clauses.

It would follow from the above that though all activities prejudicial to the security of the State and those which are prejudicial to the maintenance of public order are not identical, because of close nexus between maintenance of public order and security of State, there is bound to be some overlapping. As the expressions 'acts prejudicial to the maintenance of public order' and 'acts prejudicial to the security of the State' have not been separately denned but have been put together in the same definition with the disjunctive 'or' in between them, the use of the word 'or' in the detention order would not, in our opinion, so adversely affect the said order as may justify the quashing of that order.

28. We are fortified in the above conclusion by a recent decision of this Court in the case of Shyamal Mondal v. State of West Bengal : 1971CriLJ1703 . In that ease too the impugned order of detention stated that the District Magistrate was satisfied that it was necessary that the petitioner should be detained with a view to prevent him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State or the maintenance of public order as provided by Section 3(1) of the Act. Argument was advanced on behalf of the detenu that the order of detention was illegal inasmuch as the petitioner had not been informed as to how his activity was prejudicial to the security of the State. It was pointed out that as both the matters, namely, the maintenance of public order and the security of the State had been mentioned in the order of detention, it must be taken that the detaining authority had taken into account extraneous and irrelevant matters in passing the order of detention. It was further submitted that it was not clear whether the detaining authority passed the order to prevent the detenu from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State or for maintenance of public order. The above contentions were repelled by this Court and reliance was placed upon the definition given in Sub-section 2 of Section 3 of the expression 'acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State or the maintenance of public order'. It was observed:

It will be seen that the Act itself furnishes a dictionary meaning for the two expressions and a perusal of Clauses (a) to (e) clearly shows that any of the matters referred to therein will be both 'prejudicial to the security of the State or the maintenance of public order.

We are not inclined to accept the contention on behalf of the petitioner that it is only Sub-clause 1 of Clause a of Section 3(2) which deals with the matters, which adversely affects the security of the State. In fact that very sub-clause refers to the matters mentioned therein as affecting the security of the State or the maintenance of public order. Therefore, in this case the grounds of detention cannot be held to be vague nor can the order of detention be held to be in valid on the ground that the petitioner must have been detained only to prevent him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order and not to the security of the State.

29. Although an attempt was made to assail the correctness of the above view, we find, for reasons stated earlier, no cogent ground to take a different view. The result is that the petition fails and is dismissed.


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