Preventive detention shouldn`t invade personal liberty: SC
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Last Updated: Sunday, November 15, 2009, 11:55
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has held that a person cannot be detained under the Preventive Detention Act in a casual manner as it would violate his fundamental right to personal liberty.

"Persons found guilty of economic offences have to be dealt with a firm hand, but when it comes to fundamental rights under the Constitution, this court, irrespective of enormity and gravity of allegations made against the detainee, has to intervene," a Bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and H L Dattu observed in a judgement.

According to the apex court, the gravity of the allegations resulting from such activities cannot be a justification for invading the personal liberty of a citizen, except in accordance with the procedure established by law.

Under preventive detention, a person can be kept in custody without trial for even over a year on the ground that if released he might resume his illegal activities again.

The Bench passed the judgement while upholding the appeal filed by Gimik Piotr, a Polish national, challenging his preventive detention by the Tamil Nadu government under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act (COFEPOSA).

"In the instant case as the facts reveal, that, there was no pressing need to curtail the liberty of a person by passing a preventive detention order. Foreign currency cannot be smuggled as the person cannot move out of the country on account of his passport being impounded," the Bench observed.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, November 15, 2009, 11:55

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