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K. Dasappa Vs. the District Magistrate and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1949)1MLJ583
AppellantK. Dasappa
RespondentThe District Magistrate and anr.
Cases ReferredNarayanaswami Naidu v. Inspector of Police
Excerpt:
.....two things, namely, that the applicant was acting or was about to act in a manner prejudicial to public safety and that since he had not done so, the requirement of section 2, sub-section (1) was not complied with. it has been suggested that (1) the form of the recital indicates by use of the word 'or' that no final consideration has been given to each case and that all that the investigating authority has done has been to form a rough conclusion that the case may come within one or other of the reasons quoted and that (2) the use of a cyclostyled form of order indicates a like lack of careful consideration, and that therefore the order is not good ex facie. in my judgment the form of recital is one which a layman might reasonably use when he was satisfied that the case must come..........with respect to the applicant that he was acting or about to act in a manner prejudicial to public safety or the maintenance of public order and that it was necessary to detain him with a view to prevent him from so doing. reliance is placed on the form of the order, the relevant portion of which runs in these terms:whereas i, setu rao kaiwar, district magistrate of south kanara, am satisfied with respect to dasappa, master of balla village, that he is acting or about to act in a manner prejudicial to the public safety and maintenance of public order and that with a view to preventing him from so doing, it is necessary to detain him. the argument is that the order does not state whether the applicant is acting or is about to act in a manner prejudicial to public safety and that it.....
Judgment:

Viswanatha Sastri, J.

1. This is an application by a person detained under the Madras Maintenance of Public Order Act (I of 1947) to this Court for the issue of a direction in the nature of Habeas Corpus under Section 491, Criminal Procedure Code. The applicant was arrested on the 25th April, 1948, under Section 151, Criminal Procedure Code, by the Police authorities and an order for his detention was passed by the District Magistrate of South Kanara on the 29th April, 1948. On the 10th June, 1948, the applicant received a communication from the Provincial Government containing the grounds for the detention. He submitted his explanation in due course. The Advisory Committee considered the matter and we are informed that on the 17th February, 1949, the Government of Madras have passed final orders for the detention of the applicant.

2. Mr. N.S. Mani, the learned Counsel for the applicant, raised four grounds in support of his application. The first contention was that the order for detention itself showed that the District Magistrate did not satisfy himself with respect to the applicant that he was acting or about to act in a manner prejudicial to public safety or the maintenance of public order and that it was necessary to detain him with a view to prevent him from so doing. Reliance is placed on the form of the order, the relevant portion of which runs in these terms:

Whereas I, Setu Rao Kaiwar, District Magistrate of South Kanara, am satisfied with respect to Dasappa, Master of Balla Village, that he is acting or about to act in a manner prejudicial to the public safety and maintenance of public order and that with a view to preventing him from so doing, it is necessary to detain him.

The argument is that the order does not state whether the applicant is acting or is about to act in a manner prejudicial to public safety and that it is merely a reproduction of the language of Section 2 of the Act. it contended that the District Magistrate ought to have satisfied himself about one of two things, namely, that the applicant was acting or was about to act in a manner prejudicial to public safety and that since he had not done so, the requirement of Section 2, Sub-section (1) was not complied with. We consider this objection to the form of the order to be an unsubstantial one. We are supported in our opinion by the judgment of the Federal Court in Emperor v. Sibnath Banerjee (1945) 2 M.L.J. 325 : 1945 F.L.J. 822 (P.C.). The relevant passage in the judgment of the Chief Justice is as follows:

It has been suggested that (1) the form of the recital indicates by use of the word 'or' that no final consideration has been given to each case and that all that the investigating authority has done has been to form a rough conclusion that the case may come within one or other of the reasons quoted and that (2) the use of a cyclostyled form of order indicates a like lack of careful consideration, and that therefore the order is not good ex facie. I do not accept these arguments. In my judgment the form of recital is one which a layman might reasonably use when he was satisfied that the case must come within one or other of the specified categories without being prepared to pledge himself with legal exactitude to any particular one or more of the categories.

The objection therefore to the form of the order fails.

2. The next contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioner is that as the applicant had been arrested under Section 151, Criminal Procedure Code, on the 25th April, 1948, and the order of detention was passed on the 29th April, 1948, it could not be said that the District Magistrate was satisfied at the time the petitioner was arrested that he was likely to act in a manner prejudicial to public safety or the maintenance of public order. The arrest under Section 151, Criminal Procedure Code, might have been in respect of a cognizable offence wholly unconnected with public safety or maintenance of public order. The definition under Madras Act 1 of 1947 is in the interests of public safety or maintenance of public order and the scope of Section 151, Criminal Procedure Code and Sections 2 to 4 of Madras Act I of 1947 are entirely different. We do not consider that simply because a man has been arrested under Section 151, Criminal Procedure Code, the powers under Madras Act I of 1947 could not be exercised and the person so arrested could not be detained thereunder. There is also some authority for this view in the decision of the Allahabad High Court in Mool Chand and others v. Rex (1948) All. L.J. 81. The head note of the case of the Allahabad High Court is in these terms:

The mere fact that certain persons were first arrested Under some provisions of the ordinary law and were later ordered to be detained under the U.P. Maintenance of Order (Temporary) Act is not, in itself, proof of mala fides and it is for the person arrested to adduce further circumstances or evidence to show that the executive authorities acted mala fide.

In the present case, there is no ground for holding that the action under Madras Act I of 1947 was actuated by any ulterior motive or improper purpose and that with a view to attain that object, the previous arrest under Section 151, Criminal Procedure Code, was made. This contention of the petitioner is unsustainable.

3. The next contention raised on behalf of the applicant is that the Government had no power to pass a final order in connection with the detention of the applicant after an application had been made to this Court under Section 491, Criminal Procedure Code. The applicant is unable to refer to any statutory provision or to any authority in support of his contention. In an application Under Section 491, Criminal Procedure Code, this Court is not empowered to stay a proceeding under Madras Act I of 1947 and it could not be said that the Provincial Government in fulfilling its statutory duties under Section 3(5) of Madras Act I of 1947, is in any way transgressing any law or any order of this Court. Indeed, it is their duty to deal expeditiously with cases of persons detained under Madras Act I of 1947, and pass final orders, in order that these persons may get the benefit of release after the expiry of six months from the date of the final order.

4. Lastly, it is contended' that the decision of the Full Bench of this Court in Narayanaswami Naidu v. Inspector of Police, Mayavaram : (1949)1MLJ1 does not fetter our powers to interfere under Section 491, Criminal Procedure Code, and that the limitations laid down in the Full Bench decision are not now operative in view of the later events that have happened in this case. The later events referred to by the learned Counsel for the petitioner are (1) the reference to the Advisory Committee; (2) the subsequent explanation furnished to the Government by the applicant; and (3) the report of the Advisory Committee. We consider that the power of this Court to interfere with an order of detention passed under Madras Act I of 1947, on an application under Section 491, Criminal Procedure Code, is confined to the four grounds enumerated by the learned Chief Justice at page 23 of the Full Bench decision in Narayanaswami Naidu v. Inspector of Police, Mayavaram : (1949)1MLJ1 . It is only when there is lack of bona fides in the order for detention that this Court can interfere, apart from the three other grounds enumerated *in the judgment of the learned Chief Justice. It may be that, though the initial detention was bona fide, its continuance may become mala fide by reason of the subsequent events such as non-service of the grounds of detention on the detenu for an indefinite period. We are, however, not concerned with such a situation in the present case. All that has been urged is that there was lack of bona fides in the initial order of detention. We have examined the grounds of detention served on the petitioner and we are unable to hold that there are no grounds which would justify detention under Section 2 of Madras Act I of 1947. It is clearly stated that the applicant is interfering with and impeading the work of the police in the matter of detecting crimes and bringing to trial offenders concerned in serious crimes, like dacoity in the locality. It is also stated that the organisation is indulging in violent and subversive activities. It is well-settled that this Court cannot investigate the sufficiency of the materials or the reasonableness of the grounds upon which the 'Government or the empowered authority or officer was satisfied that it was necessary in the interests of public safety and order to detain the petitioner.

5. For these reasons, we hold that the application fails and we direct that it be dismissed;


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