Free Press Journal

HC quashes externment order, says it violates natural justice


Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has quashed and set aside an order, issued by a high ranking police officer, externing a tailor from Pune city for two years on the ground that it violated principles of natural justice.

Deputy Commissioner of Police, in an order dated August 11, 2013, had externed Munaf Samshuddin Shaikh on the ground that he and other members of a gang were allegedly indulging in criminal activities in Kondhwa area in Pune. Shaikh had filed an appeal which was dismissed by the appellate authority.

The externment order was preceded by two show cause notices asking Shaikh to reply why he should not be externed.

Hearing Shaikh’s petition, Justices Anuja Prabhudesai and Naresh Patil recently held that show cause notices issued on February 2, 2012 and August 11, 2012, clearly showed that the externment authority relied upon additional and extraneous material, which was not disclosed to the petitioner.

“The petitioner had no opportunity to offer his explanation in respect of the material relied upon by the Externment Authority. Hence, the action of the Externment Authority is in violation of the principles of natural justice and vitiates the externment order,” said the bench.

The judges further noted that the notice of February 2, 2012, does not indicate that the petitioner was a member of a gang and that he was involved in any such activity, which warranted externment.

The bench also noted that apart from a criminal case, the said notice does not refer to any other crimes allegedly committed by the members of the gang. The narration of two in-camera statements (in the notice) is cryptic and lacks material particulars.

In the impugned order, the externment authority has recorded satisfaction that the petitioner was a member of a gang which was operating since 2005. However, the notice dated August 11, 2012, does not state that the gang has been operating since 2005, the bench further observed.

The notice neither specifies the area of criminal activities nor gives details of the criminal activities, which have been detailed in the externment order, it said.