New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that
preventive detention ran counter to the fundamental right to
liberty of a citizen and authorities can resort to the extreme
measure only in exceptional cases after citing relevant
A three-judge bench of justices Markandeya Katju, Gyan
Sudha Misra and S S Nijjar said ordinary laws of the country
were sufficient to take care of suspected criminals and
measures like preventive detention were unacceptable as it
involved putting citizens into prison without a proper trial.
"Prevention detention is, by nature, repugnant to
democratic ideas and an anathema to the rule of law. No such
law exists in the USA and in England (except during war time).
"Since, however, Article 22(3)(b) of the Constitution
of India permits preventive detention, we cannot hold it
illegal but we must confine the power of preventive detention
within very narrow limits, otherwise we will be taking away
the great right to liberty guaranteed by Article 21 of the
Constitution of India which was won after long, arduous,
historic struggles," Justice Katju writing the judgement said.
The bench made the remarks while upholding an appeal
filed by Rekha, wife of Ramakrishnan, an accused allegedly
involved in sale of expired drugs, challenging the preventive
detention of her husband under the Special Goonda and
Bootleggers Act by the Tamil Nadu government.