‘Habitual offenders can be held by authorities’

Habitual offenders can be detained under a preventive detention law on the subjective satisfaction of the authority.

Last Updated: Feb 22, 2012, 23:12 PM IST

New Delhi: Habitual offenders like goondas
and other anti-social elements can be detained under a
preventive detention law on the subjective satisfaction of the
authority that such persons can be a menace to "public order",
the Supreme Court has ruled.

A bench of justices P Sathasivam and J Chelameshwar
passed the ruling while dismissing the appeal filed by
Subramaniam, father of a man who was detained under the Goonda
Act by the Tamil Nadu government.

"It is also seen from the grounds of detention that
because of the threat by the detenue and his associates by
showing weapons, the nearby shopkeepers closed their shops out
of fear and auto drivers took their autos from their stand and
left the place.

"According to the Detaining Authority, the above scene
created a panic among the public. In such circumstances, the
scene created by the detenu and his associates cannot be
termed as only law and order problem but it is public order as
assessed by the Detaining Authority who is supposed to
safeguard and protect the interest of public," Justice
Sathasivam writing the judgement said.

In this case Kaliyamoorty filed a complaint with police
on July 18, 2011 complaining that the detenue said to be
habitual offender armed with aruval (sickle) along with his
associates apart from threatening the victim over a property
row damaged an STD booth and created panic in the area.

On July 21, the City Police Commissioner passed a
detention order against the detenu under Section 3 of the
Tamil Nadu Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers,
Drug Offenders, Forest Offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic
Offenders, Sand Offenders, Slum Grabbers and Video Pirates
Act, 1982 (14 of 1982).

PTI