The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the preventive detention laws in India are a colonial legacy, with great potential of abuse and misuse and such laws conferring arbitrary powers to the State must be critically examined and used only in the rarest of rare cases.
A Bench of Justice Krishna Murari and Justice V. Ramasubramanian said that, “Every procedural rigidity, must be followed in entirety by the Government in cases of preventive detention, and every lapse in procedure must give rise to a benefit to the case of the detenue. The Courts, in circumstances of preventive detention, are conferred with the duty that has been given the utmost importance by the Constitution, which is the protection of individual and civil liberties.”
In November 2021, the appellant and other syndicate members were arrested on an intelligence report about a syndicate of Chinese, Taiwanese, South Korean, and Indian nationals smuggling gold into India by officers from the Directorate Of Revenue in Delhi.
Order of detention under COFEPOSA Act against appellant
In January 2022, the DRI sent a proposal to the Joint Secretary (COFEPOSA) to issue an order of detention under the COFEPOSA Act against the appellant, and subsequently, the detaining authority passed the detention order in February 2022 and appellant was then arrested by the DRI.
The appellant sent a representation letter to the Central Government, and later made another representation to the Advisory Board. After a hearing, the Advisory Board advised the Central Government to reject the representation, which was done after a 60-day delay. The appellant then filed a writ in the High Court seeking to quash the detention order, but it was dismissed on 3 November 2022.
However, in January 2023, the Court released the appellant from custody as interim relief due to the demise of his father. Later, due to the expiry of the detention order, he was released from detention.