The Jammu & Kashmir High Court (Jammu Wing) recently quashed a detention order detaining one Surinder Singh under Section 8 of the Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978
The Petitioner had challenged Order No. 02/DMU/JC/PSA-2019 dated 06.09.2019, passed by the respondent No.2, on the ground, among others, that the respondent No.2 had not applied mind properly as the police dossier had been reproduced only while passing the impugned order and that the order impugned had been passed on non-existent grounds and upon ulterior motives.
The Single Bench of Justice Puneet Gupta observed,
"No specific wording is required to be maintained while passing the order of detention while assessing the case in a subjective manner but the order has to reflect that proper application of mind has been applied keeping in view all the facts and circumstances of the case. Mere reproduction of the dossier in the detention order cannot justify the detention order in such circumstances." (emphasis supplied)
Arguments put forth
The Counsel for the petitioner vehemently argued that the grounds of detention which are part and parcel of the detention order reflect the number of FIRs which stand registered against the petitioner but the same does not indicate the outcome/progress of those FIRs. It speaks of the half-hearted approach of the detaining authority in the present case.
The learned counsel for the respondents, on the other hand, argued that the fact that the mention of FIRs in the detention order/ dossier detail out the facts of the case and the details of the FIRs, the detention order cannot be said to be deficient on the ground as argued on behalf of the petitioner.
The Court took into account the case of Rajesh Vashdev Advani v. State of Maharashtra (2005) 8 SCC 4388 390 wherein the Hon'ble Apex Court had noted the non-application of mind on the part of the District Magistrate as the wording in the dossier was almost replicated in the detention order. The detention was quashed in that case.
Further, in Jai Singh v. State of J&K (1985) 1 SCC 561 the detention order was quashed on the grounds that the wording in the dossier and the detention order were similar.
In this context, the High Court remarked,
"The purpose of the preventive detention is to prevent the person from committing the acts prejudicial to the maintenance of public order. The confidence of the society is sought to be secured through preventive detention. The detention order cannot be passed in a casual manner by the concerned authority thereby depriving the person of his liberty." (emphasis supplied)
Further the Court remarked,
"Surprisingly, the dossier does not mention the factum of disposal of most of the criminal cases which were lodged against the petitioner and that the petitioner stands acquitted in those cases. Either the respondents were not fully aware of the outcome of those criminal cases which were lodged against the petitioner or they did not intend to disclose the same with a view to strengthen its case against the petitioner for detention on the ground of disruption of public order." (emphasis supplied)
Consequently, the Court said that the detention order not only misses out on the above vital aspect of the case but also again shows the non-application of mind on the part of the respondents.
The order of detention was quashed. The petition was, accordingly, disposed of along with the connected application.
Case Title: Surinder Singh v. Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Ors.
Case No.: WP (Crl.) No. 16/2020 - Crl. M No. 440/2020
Quorum: Justice Puneet Gupta
Appearance: Advocate Ankur Sharma (for the Petitioners); AAG Aseem Sawhney (for the Respondent/State).