SC upholds Constitutional validity of preventive detention



New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the Constitutional validity of preventive detention provision under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, saying such a measure was essential for the safety and welfare of the country.

A bench of justices RM Lodha and HL Gokhale said those indulging in smuggling activities frustrate the growth and development of the country as such the provision was essential though it may interfere with the rights of personal liberty provided under Article 21.

"There is no Constitutional mandate that preventive detention cannot exist for an act where such act is not a criminal offence and does not provide for punishment.

"An act may not be declared as an offence under law but still for such an act, which is an illegal activity, the law can provide for preventive detention if such act is prejudicial to the State security," Justice Lodha writing the judgement said.

The apex court passed the judgement while dismissing the appeal filed by Dropti Devi and her son Raj Kumar Aggarwal challenging the preventive detention of the latter by the Central government under the COFEPOSA.

The impugned detention order was passed on September 23, 2009.

The appellants whose plea before the Delhi High Court was rejected contended that the provisional was unconstitutional as it violated a person's personal liberty and, besides, after enactment of the FEMA (Foreign Exchange Maintenance Act), the COFEPOSA Act had become irrelevant.

PTI