Supreme Court: Preventive Detention cannot be invoked over Fear, Breach of Law & Order

Preventive Detention legal law order breach Law Insider

Deepali Kalia-

Published on August 03, 2021, at 06:05 PM

Supreme Court ruled that preventive detention laws cannot be invoked over a possible apprehension of breach of law and order and a person under said laws can only be detained where the public order has been directly affected.

A Division Bench of Justices R F Nariman and Hrishikesh Roy quashed a detention order passed by the Telangana government in order to detain Banka Ravikanth, an alleged habitual fraudster under the Telangana Prevention of Dangerous Activities Act 1986.

The order was passed by the Bench on a plea filed by Ravikanth’s wife that challenged his detention order.

The Bench allowed her plea and stated that, “While it cannot seriously be disputed that the detenu may be  a white-collar offender… yet a preventive detention order can only be passed if his activities adversely affect or are likely to adversely affect the maintenance of public order.”

The Telangana Police stated that Ravikanth’s detention was ordered because if he was allowed to move freely then it was very likely that he would’ve committed similar offences again affecting the public.

The State government also argued that multiple FIRs have been filed against him and he had been detained as he had gotten anticipatory bail in all of the criminal cases.

The plea of the State government for preventive detention to be allowed and liberal interpretation to be given to “public order” for this purpose was turned down by the Bench.

The Apex Court stated that “law and order” indicates a disorder of less gravity whereas the disorders affecting the “public order” are more serious and cause harm, danger, a feeling of insecurity or alarm to the larger public.

The Bench observed that “Further, preventive detention must fall within the four corners of Article 21 (protection of life and liberty) read with Article 22 and the statute in question. To therefore argue that a liberal meaning must be given to the expression ‘public order’ in the context of a preventive detention statute is wholly inappropriate and incorrect.” 

“On the contrary, considering that preventive detention is a necessary evil only to prevent public disorder, the court must ensure that the facts brought before it directly and inevitably lead to harm, danger or alarm or feeling of insecurity among the general public or any section thereof at large”.

Click here to Read/Download the Judgment

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