Skip to content


Sahadeb Pramanik Vs. the District Magistrate and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1976CriLJ366
AppellantSahadeb Pramanik
RespondentThe District Magistrate and ors.
Cases Referred(Gour Gopal v. Chief Secretary). Relying
Excerpt:
- .....its headquarters at howrah and the said district consists of four police circles namely; (i) howrah police station (itself a circle) (ii) asansol police circle, (iii) bandel police circle, (iv) kharag-pur police circle. it has been stated that the place of incident as given in the ground of detention is kamarkundu station which is a railway station on howrah and burdwan chord line and the said howrah g. r. p.s. includes some railway stations on the said chord line including kamar-kundu railway station, it is also stated that kamarkundu railway station is within sin-ghur p. s, of the district hooghly and situate at a distance of 32.93 km. it has further been stated that the said kamarkundu railway station was originally within chandanpur g. r. p.s. vide notification no, 1330 pi.....
Judgment:

Bimal Chandra Basak, J.

1. In this application for a Writ in the nature of Habeas Corpus the detenu is challenging an order of detention passed by the District Magistrate, Howrah on the 7th of February, 1975 in exercise of powers conferred by subsection (1) read with Sub-section (2) of Section 3 of the Maintenance of Internal Security Act, 1971 (hereinafter referred to as the said Act). The said order was passed with a view to preventing the detenu from acting in a manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order. The incident referred to in the grounds of detention served on the detenu is set out hereinbelow:-

On 14-12-1974 at about 06-10 hours you along with your associates (1) Md. Abdul Gani (2) Nimi Dhara, (3) Naba Kumar Khan and 8 others being armed with daggers, knives etc. were trying to board a local train (No. C-244) Dn. at Kamar Kundun Railway Station with a view to commit decoity in the train. The movement of you and your associates (1) Md. Abdul Gani, (2) Nimai Dhara, (3) Naba Kumar Khan and others created suspicion to the Railway staff and police on special duty at the platform, When the police challenged you and your associates you started to run away. At this, hue and cry was raised by police and some local public, Railway staff and police chased you and your associates on the platfrom when you and your associates (1) Md. Abdul Gani (2) Nimai Dhara (3) Naba Kumar Khan and others intimidated them by brandishing the daggers, bhujalies etc. and started pelting ballasts at them. There was a complete chaos at this stage and people being panicky started to run to and fro and jumped out of the platform.

The above incident caused panic and terror among the public in general who ran to and fro out of fear. The prejudicial activity of this amount disrupted the public order and tranquillity of the place was greatly disturbed. The said activity of your thus attracts Section 3 (1) (a) (ii) of the Maintenance of Internal Security Act, 1971 (Act. No. 26 of 1971).

2. On behalf of the petitioner it was firstly submitted that the grounds relate to law and order and not public order. There is no merit in this contention. Public order means grave public disorder. It is a question of affecting the even flow of the life of the community. In the present case, the detenu and his associates being armed with daggers, knives etc. were trying to board a local train (No. C-244 Dn.) at Kamar Kundu Railway Station with a view to commit dacoity in the train. On suspicion being created the detenu and his associates were challenged and they were chased by the police and some local public when they were intimidated by the detenu and his associates by brandishing the daggers, bhujalies etc. who started pelting ballasts at them. As a result there was a complete chaos at this stage and people being panicky started to run to and fro and jumped out of the platform. The impact of such an incident on the public is apparent from the order itself and we have no hesitation in rejecting the contention made in support of the Rule.

3. It was next contended on behalf of the petitioner that the grounds are baseless and non-existent and that the order was made mala fide. In this connection an affidavit has been affirmed by the detaining authority wherein he has stated that before he made the detention order in question he scrutinised carefully the facts, informations and materials supplying the ground for detention and was satisfied that the activities of the detenu as mentioned in the ground collectively are prejudicial to the maintenance of public order as envisaged under the said Act. It was further stated that after a careful consideration of all the information, facts and materials pertaining to the grounds of detention in question: placed before him, he was personally satisfied that with a view to preventing the detenu from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order, his detention was necessary and he made the instant order of detention without any ulterior motive or purpose. It was specifically denied that the order was made mala fide and that the grounds are baseless. Generally speaking the facts stated in the grounds must be taken to be correct and the Court cannot go into the merits of the case. The satisfaction of the detaining authority cannot be tested by objective standards. It is true that it does not mean that the grounds are totally immune from judicial reviewability. In a proper case, the court can set aside an order of detention on the ground, amongst others that it is baseless and/or that the order has been made mala fide. But this is not such a case. There is no specific allegation regarding the baselessness and mala ifide in the petition. Further, the detaining authority in nis affidavit has specifically denied the same. For the aforesaid reasons, we reject this contention made on behalf of the petitioner.

4. The next contention on behalf of the detenu is a substantial one. It was contended that it appears from the ground that the alleged incident took place at Kamar Kundu Railway Station which was in the District of Hooghly. The detenu was also a resident of Hooghly District. Accordingly it was submitted that the District Magistrate, Howrah has no authority or jurisdiction to pass the order of detention. On behalf of the State, Mr. Bose firstly made certain submissions op the basis of a Notification No. 4963/PI/P-41-35/53 dated 29th November, 1956, published in the West Bengal Police Gazette on the 21st of December, 1956 issued in exercise of the power conferred by Sub-section (1) of Section 14 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898. However we need not deal with the same contention in view of the fact that Mr. D. Chowdhury, who followed Mr. Bose, did not rely on such submission and made a fresh submission of his own on the basis of a supplementary affidavit affirmed by one Sri P. K. Neogi on the 30th of August, 197S. Mr. Chowdhury makes it clear to us that we need not consider the earlier siibmission made by Mr. Bose for the purpose of our decision in this case. Mr. Chowdhury strongly relied on the said supplementary affidavit of Sri P. K. Neogi wherein it has been stated that there is a District of the Government Railway Police which is Howrah G. R. P. having its headquarters at Howrah and the said District consists of four police circles namely; (i) Howrah police station (itself a circle) (ii) Asansol police circle, (iii) Bandel police circle, (iv) Kharag-pur police circle. It has been stated that the place of incident as given in the ground of detention is Kamarkundu station which is a Railway station on Howrah and Burdwan Chord Line and the said Howrah G. R. P.S. includes some Railway stations on the said chord line including Kamar-kundu Railway Station, It is also stated that Kamarkundu Railway Station is within Sin-ghur P. S, of the District Hooghly and situate at a distance of 32.93 km. It has further been stated that the said Kamarkundu Railway Station was originally within Chandanpur G. R. P.S. vide notification No, 1330 PI dated 28th of March, 1922 and by notification No. 3443 PI dated 3rd July, 1935 the said Chandanpur G. R. P, S. along with Kamarkundu Railway station was merged within the Howrah G. R. P, S. In paragraph 6 of the said affidavit it has been stated that the police station namely Howrah G. R, P.S. is situate at Howrah within the District of Howrah and within the territoral jurisdiction of the Respondent No. 1 and the said police station functions and runs its police Administration over the areas which are within the territorial jurisdiction of Howrah G. R. P.S. from Howrah within the district of Howrah. It is stated in paragraph 7 of the said affidavit that the Respondent No, 1 being the District Magistrate of Howrah and having authority over all the police stations situate within the District of Howrah along with the areas comprised therein has, by virtue thereof, the power of passing the detention order in respect of the incidents occurring in Kamarkundu Railway Station as present one and the Superintendent of Police, Howrah G. R. P. accordingly placed the materials and information pertaining to the ground of detention of the detenu before the Respondent No. 1 on 5th of January, 1975 inasmuch as the Respondent No. 1 was legally authorised to pass the detention order in question. In view of the aforesaid contentions, the relevant extracts from the Police Regulations, Bengal are quoted hereinbelow:-

Regulation No. 27 (a): The Superintendent is the immediate head of the police force of the district and is responsible for all matters concerning its internal economy and management and for its efficiency and discipline. He is also responsible, subject to the general control of the district Magistrate for the criminal administration of the district and for the proper performance by officers subordinate to him of all preventive and executive duties. As the District Magistrate is ultimately responsible for the criminal administration of his district, he may employ the police as he thinks best for the maintenance of law and order and the detection and suppression of crime.

No. 27 (d) All, orders of the Dist- rict Magistrate relating to the police, except those passed in his judicial capacity, and except in cases of emergency shall be addressed to the Superintendent of police or shall pass through him. The Superintendent of Police ts ha local head of the police under the District Magistrate, is bound to carry out his orders except in regard to the internal economy, organisation and discipline of the force and matters of a purely departmental nature.

No. 28 The District Magistrate, in the exercise of his power of control, shall abstain from any action likely to weaken tho authority of the Superintendent or to deprive him of responsibility. For this issue of executive orders until he has consulted the Superintendent (sic).

No. 29 The Superintendent shall re- main in constant personal communication with the District Magistrate whenever possible, and consult him on all important matters. It is incumbent on him to afford the Magistrate all possible assistance in the criminal administration of the district, and in such matters he shall, as far as possible accede to his wishes. Should any question arise on which they do not agree, the Superintendent may request him to refer the point under dispute to the Deputy Inspector General, when the matter will be decided as laid down in rule 27 (e). No. 30 (1) The Superintendent shall keep the District Magistrate fully informed of the matters coming to his knowledge affecting the peace of the district, and when he is on tour the police officer in charge of headquarters shall send direct to the District Magistrate all important information which would not reach him soon enough through the Superintendent.

No. 31 The District Magistrate shall exercise constant supervision over the prevention and detection of crime, for the proper conduct of which he is ultimately responsible. An important part of his duty-is to inspect the police stations of his district at regular intervals. It is not necessary for him to examine the details of the working 0$ the department, but ho should give special attention to:-

1. The general diary and the manner in which it is written up;

2. The recording of vital statistics.

3. The proper working of the Arms Act;

4. The methods of collection crop statistics-

5. the working of the rural police;

6. the general state of crime in the police station and any reasons for its increase or decrease.

7. Whether the Sub-Inspector appears to have a proper knowledge of his duties, whether he is in touch with the respectable inhabitants of his charge, has acquired local knowledge and takes an interest in his work;

8. whether the police station officials appear to be working properly and have a proper knowledge of their duties: and the neighbourhood.

9. whether the police station has been regularly and properly inspected.

No. 590 The rules relating to the district police contained in other chapters of these Regulations shall be applicable to the Railway police, unless the contrary appears from the context or from rules in this chapter.

No. 592 The particular duties of the Railway police are:-

1. the prevention, detection and prosecution of offences cognizable by the police within railway limits;

2. the arrest of offenders in cases cognizable by the police and the detention of offenders in other cases, until they can be taken before a Magistrate;

3. the reporting of non-cognizable cases to the proper authorities, as also all instances of oppression or fraud on the part of railway subordinates or others;

4. the entry in police diaries of offences of all descriptions brought to the notice of the police;

5. the maintenance of the peace at stations;

6. the watching of passenger trains when at stations;

7. the reporting to the proper authority, railway or civil, of all instances in which the bye-laws of the line are infringed; and

8. the prosecution on behalf of the management of non-cognizable offences under the Railways Act.

In this context Mr. Chowdhury also relied on the provisions of Section 6 of the said Act which provides as follows:-

6. Detention orders not to be invalid or inoperative on certain grounds.- No detention order shall be invalid or inoperative merely by reason,

a) that the person' to be detained thereunder is outside the limits of the territorial jurisdiction of the Government or officer making the order, or

b) that the place of detention of such persons is outside the said limits,

5. Mr. Chowdhury also relied on a decision of this Couitt reported in (1952) 56 Cal WN 427 :1953 Cri LT 310) (Gour Gopal v. Chief Secretary). Relying on such averments in the said affidavit Mr. Chowdhury submitted that the District Magistrate, Howrah was entitled to pass such an order of detention even though the place of incident did not come within ordinary territorial jurisdiction of the District Magistrate, Howrah and even though the detenu did not reside within such ordinary territorial jurisdiction of the Magistrate concerned.

6. We are unable to accept the contention of Mr. Chowdhury. Section 3 of the said Act confers power on, amongst others, District Magistrates to pass an order of detention. Section 6 of the said Act makes it clear that no order of detention shall be invalid or inoperative merely by the reason that the person to be detained is outside the limit of the territorial jurisdiction of the officer making th order. It is not necessary for us in the present case to go into the wider question as to powers of a District Magistrate to make an order of detention even in cases where a person neither resides within his territorial jurisdiction nor where the incident took place therein. For instance, a question might arise as to whether a District Magistrate of Amritsar would have the power to issue an order of detention on the ground of public order in respect of a resident of Calcutta basing his subjective satisfaction on an incident which had taken place at Calcutta and when at the relevant time the person was admittedly in Calcutta and had never visited Amritsar and had no such intention of doing so in the future. A question may arise in that case as o whether this order would be good either from the aspect of his jurisdiction or from the aspect of the bona fide of his satisfaction. But we peed not consider the wider aspect of this question in this case, It cannot be doubted that if an incident has taken place within the ordinary territorial jurisdiction of a detaining authority and the person concerned was residing within his jurisdiction at the relevant time, the officer concerned would have the jurisdiction to pass such an order. Further it cannot be doubted that if an incident had taken place within the ordinary territorial jurisdiction of a District Magistrate, he would have the power to pass an order of detention even if at the time of making of the order or at the time of the incident the detenu was residing outside his jurisdiction. Apart from the question of Section 6 of the said Act his satisfaction must be held to be bona fide because the detaining authority is responsible for the administration of the territory under his jurisdiction and if an incident had taken place within that territory, if he is satisfied about the future activity of the detenu he can pass that order of detention even if the detenu is a resident of some other district. Similarly, a Magistrate can pass an order of detention in respect of a person ordinarily resident in his territory or even present there at the time of making of the order even if he relies on an incident, in which the detenu was involved, which had taken place in some other district. This must be held to be valid as the District Magistrate concerned is responsible for administration within that district and if he is otherwise reasonably satisfied about the future activities of a person within his District he may pass such an order of detention even if the incident relied on had taken place outside his jurisdiction. In both these cases the detaining authority is concerned with the administration of the area under him and for that reason an order may be passed by him, for the interest of that area. In this particular case, it is true that the incident took place at a Railway Station which is not within the district of Howrah, that is not within the ordinary territorial jurisdiction of the District Magistrate, Howrah- It is also true that the detenu is not a resident of Howrah. But in this particular case for administrative reasons certain powers have been conferred on the District Magistrate, Howrah as discussed above in respect of certain area which are otherwise outside his ordinary jurisdiction including the Kamarkundu Railway Station. Therefore it must be accepted that he is the authority competent to pass an order of detention in respect of an incident which had taken place there. Though She place of incident is not ordinarily within his ordinary territorial jurisdiction, as disclosed in the affidavit, the jurisdiction of the District Magistrate, Howrah has been extended for certain purpose including prevention, detention and investigation of crimes, in respect of certain other areas. Therefore, it can be assumed that the ordinary jurisdiction of the District Magistrate, Howrah has been extended to that respect. From this aspect the District Magistrate, Howrah has got the jurisdiction to pass an order of detention based on an incident which has taken place within such extended jurisdiction. This can be looked into from another aspect also. It may be said that the affidavit merely shows that certain police powers have been conferred on the District Magistrate, Howrah in respect of certain other places but that does not extend the territorial jurisdiction of the District Magistrate. However in our opinion even then the District Magistrate Howrah is competent to make an order haying regard to the fact that he is interested in the maintenance of peace of this particular area. It is the concern of the District Magistrate, Howrah if there is any such incident within these specified areas and accordingly he is entitled to pass an order of detention in respect of such an incident in such areas though that is ordinarily outside his territorial jurisdiction and the would-be detenu resides outside his jurisdiction. For the aforesaid reasons we must hold that the District Magistrate, Howrah was competent to pass an order of detention in this particular case.

7. For the aforesaid reasons we reject all the contentions of Mr. Addy. Accordingly we reject this application and discharge the Rule.

N.C. Mukherji, J.

8. I agree.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //