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Latha v/s The State of Tamil Nadu, Represented by the Principal Secretary to Government, Home, Prohibition and Excise Department, Chennai & Others

    H.C.P(MD)No. 712 of 2019

    Decided On, 16 March 2020

    At, Before the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court


    For the Petitioner: G. Aravinthan, Advocate. For the Respondents: K. Dinesh Babu, Additional Public Prosecutor.

Judgment Text

(Prayer: Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, praying for issuance of a Writ of Habeas Corpus to call for the entire records connected with the detention order passed in P.D.No.25/2019, dated 17.07.2019 on the file of the second respondent herein and quash the same and direct the respondents to produce the detenu or body of the detenu, namely, the petitioner's son, i.e., Sibu, son of Kanagavel, aged about 29 years, now detained at Central Prison, Palayamkottai, before this Court and set him at liberty forthwith.)

P.N. Prakash, J.

1. The petitioner is the mother of the detenu viz., Sibu, Son of Kanagavel, aged about 29 years. The detenu has been detained, as per the order of the second respondent, dated 17.07.2019, under Section 2(f) of the Tamil Nadu Act 14 of 1982, branding him as “Goonda”. Challenging the same, the petititoner is before this Court with this Habeas Corpus Petition.

2. We have heard the learned counsel for the petitioner and the learned Additional Public Prosecutor for the respondents. We have also perused the records carefully.

3. Though several grounds have been raised in the Habeas Corpus Petition, the learned counsel for the petitioner would mainly focus his argument on the ground that there is violation of procedural safeguards, which are guaranteed under Articles 21 and 22 of the Constitution of India. The learned counsel would submit that there was an inordinate and unexplained delay in receiving the remarks. The learned counsel has relied on few Judgments of the Hon'ble Supreme Court. Based on the same, the learned counsel would plead for setting aside the detention order.

4. The learned Additional Public Prosecutor would, however, oppose this Habeas Corpus Petition. He would submit that though there was delay in receiving the remarks, on that score, the impugned detention order need not be interfered with, as on account of the said delay, no prejudice has been caused to the detenu and thus, there is no violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 21 and 22 of the Constitution of India.

5. We have considered the above submissions.

6. In this case, the Detention Order was passed on 17.07.2019. As against the same, the petitioner made a representation on 26.07.2019. The remarks were called for by the Government from the Detaining Authority on 29.07.2019. The remarks were received on 13.09.2019. Thereafter, the Government considered the issue and passed the order rejecting the representation on 23.09.2019. It is the contention of the petitioner that there was delay of 28 days in receiving the remarks.

7. Now, the question is as to whether on that score, the impugned order can be quashed.

8. In Rekha Vs. State of Tamil Nadu, [2011 (5) SCC 244], the Hon'ble Supreme Court has held that the right to life and liberty of a person is protected, under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The Hon'ble Supreme Court has further held that the procedural safeguards are required to be zealously watched and enforced by the Courts of law and their rigour cannot be allowed to be diluted on the basis of the nature of the alleged activities of the detenu.

9. In Sumaiya Vs. The Secretary to Government, [2007 (2) MWN (Cr.) 145], a Division Bench of this Court has held that the unexplained delay of three days in disposal of the representation made on behalf of the detenu/detenue would be sufficient to set aside the detention order.

10. In Tara Chand Vs. State of Rajasthan and others, [1980 (2) SCC 321], the Hon'ble Supreme Court has held that any inordinate and unexplained delay on the part of the Government in considering the representation renders the detention illegal. This dictum has been followed in several Judgments consistently by the Hon'ble Supreme Court as well as this Court.

11. Applying the said dictum laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court, if we look into the facts of the present case, undoubtedly, there is an inordinate and unexplained delay of 28 working days and therefore, the impugned detention order is liable to

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be quashed. 12. In the result, this Habeas Corpus Petition is allowed by setting aside the order of detention passed by the second respondent, in P.D.No.25/2019, dated 17.07.2019. Consequently, the detenu, namely Sibu, Son of Kanagavel, aged about 29 years, who is now detained at Central Prison, Palayamkottai, is directed to be released forthwith unless his presence or custody or detention is required in connection with any other case/proceedings.