Madurai: Madras High Court bench has ruled that if the state government has approved detention orders, then officials, Collectors or Commissioners of Police empowered to detain habitual offenders under preventive detention laws cannot independently reject representations made by detainees.
Allowing a Habeas Corpus petition filed by M Ravichandran, accused as `drug offender,` Justices S Tamilvanan and V S Ravi held that detaining authorities could only forward the representations to the State Government.
"Failure to forward the representations would amount to non-application of mind," they said.
The petitioner said the Madurai Collector had passed an order on Aug 20, 2013 detaining him under 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`. Four criminal cases were pending against him under the Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985.
The last case was registered by the Madurai Narcotics Intelligence Bureau in 2013 for possessing six kg of cannabis. The Collector invoked the prevention detention law "as the petitioner`s activities were prejudicial to public order."
The State Government approved the order on August 27. The same day, the Collector rejected his representation to reconsider his decision. Another representation on September 2 was also rejected without forwarding it to the government.
The Bench said the detaining authority had not applied his mind and had vitiated the detention order.
It noted the detention order stated that the petitioner`s activities were against provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1910 and Dangerous Drugs Act 1930. But he had not been booked under any provision of the two enactments, they said and quashed the detention order.