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Syed Farooq Mohammad Vs. Union of India & Anr [1990] INSC 195 (14 May 1990)

Ray, B.C. (J) Ray, B.C. (J) Sawant, P.B.

CITATION: 1990 AIR 1597 1990 SCR (3) 240 1990 SCC (3) 537 JT 1990 (3) 102 1990 SCALE (1)205

CITATOR INFO : C 1991 SC2261 (9) RF 1992 SC1900 (17)

ACT:

Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988: Section 3(1) and 8.

Preventive detention--`Live and proximate link'is neces- sary between grounds of detention and purpose of deten- tion--Long and unexplained delay between the date of deten- tion order and the arrest of detenu--Court can assume that link is snapped--But if delay is because of detenu's recal- citrant conduct in evading arrest then link is not snapped but strengthened.

Preventive detention--Counter affidavit--Not sworn by detaining authority himself--Averments in the affidavit whether to be taken note of--In the absence of detaining authority the affidavit should be sworn by a responsible officer who personally dealt with the case.

Constitution of India, 1950: Article 22(5). Preventive detention-Detention order--Non-supply of documents not considered by detaining authority--Held not prejudicial to detenu in making effective representation.

HEAD NOTE:

On July 19, 1989, the Customs Department seized narcotic drugs from two cars--one belonging to the petitioner-detenu and the other to his associate. The statements of the driv- ers were recorded under Section 108 of the Customs Act, 1962 on the very next day. Reports of the chemical examination of the seized drugs confirmed that they were narcoting drugs under the prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988. Accordingly, with a view to preventing the petitioner from engaging in abetting and transportation of narcotic drugs the detaining authority passed a detention order under Section 3(1) of the Act on 20th December, 1989 i.e. after about 5 months of seizure of the narcotic drugs. But the petitioner was arrested and detained on service of the order of detention on 15th Febru- ary, 1990.

The petitioner filed a writ petition in this Court challenging the validity of the detention order contending;

(1) that it was illegal because 241 (a) there was inordinate delay in serving the detention order and arresting the detenu;

(b) it was passed on stale ground i.e. after five months of the seizure of narcotic drugs; and

(c) there was long delay in disposing the dete- nu's representation;

(2) the non-supply of relevant docu- ments i.e. bail application and the order made thereon to the detenu seriously prejudiced his right to make effective representation under Article 22(5) of the Constitution;

(3) the averments made in the counter affidavit cannot be taken into consideration because it was not sworn by the detaining authority himself and

(4) the detention order was vitiated for non-application of mind.

Dismissing the writ petition, this Court,

HELD: 1. There must be a 'live and proximate link' between the grounds of detention and the avowed purpose of detention. But In appropriate cases the Court can assume that the link is 'snapped' if there is a long and unex- plained delay between the date of the order of detention and the arrest of the detenu. Where the delay is not only ade- quately explained but is found to be the result of the detenu's recalcitrant or refractory conduct in evading arrest, there is warrant to consider the 'link' not snapped but strengthened- [25 IF-G]

2.1 In the instant case, the averments that the Depart- ment served two notices--one on the petitioner's mother and another on his brother directing him to appear before the detaining authority have not been denied by the petitioner.

Instead he intentionally absconded and thereby evaded ar- rest. Therefore, it cannot be said that the delay was not explained and the link between the grounds of detention and the avowed purpose of detention has been snapped. [251H; 252A-B] Shafiq Ahmad v. District Magistrate Meerut and Ors., [1989] 4 SCC 556; Bhanwarlal Ganeshmalji v. State of Tamil Nadu & Anr., [1979] 2 SCR 633 and T.A. Abdul Rahman v. State of Kerala and Ors., [1989] 4 SCC 741, relied on.

2. In the instant case the cars containing brown sugar were impounded on July 19, 1989 and statements of the driv- ers were recorded next day. Reports of the chemical examIna- tion of contraband drugs were received on 29th September, 1989, 13th October, 1989 and 16th November, 1989. The cus- toms officials screened all these thIngs and the detaInIng authority after considering all these things passed the order of detention on December 20, 1989. There fore, it cannot be held that the delay of five months in making the impugned order of detention 242 rendered the detention illegal and bad as it was made on stale ground. The detention order has been made with promp- titude considering the relevant and vital facts proximate to the passing of the impugned order of detention. [248A-C]

3. It is evident from the record that after receipt of the representation of the petitioner, it was sent to the detaining authority for his comments and immediately after the comments of the detaining authority were received the same were processed and put up before the Minister concerned who rejected the representation after considering the com- ments of the detaining authority and the State Government.

It is also evident that the Central Government passed the order after considering the comments of the detaining au- thority. Therefore, the contention that the detention order was passed by the Central Government without considering the comments of the detaining authority and there was long delay in disposing the detenu's representation affecting the validity of detention is without any substance. [252C-D; E- F]

4. Article 22(5) of the Constitution mandates that all the relevant documents referred to in the grounds of deten- tion and which are considered by the detaining authority in coming to his subjective satisfaction for clamping an order of detention are to be supplied to the detenu. [248F]

4.1 In the instant case the relevant document i.e. the bail application and the order made thereon was not consid- ered by the detaining authority in coming to his subjective satisfaction and in making the impugned order of detention.

Therefore, the non-furnishing to the detenu of the said document does not affect in any manner whatsoever the dete- nu's right to make an effective representation in compliance with the provisions of Article 22(5) of the Constitution of India. [248U; 249A] Binod Singh v. District Magistrate, Dhanbad, Bihar & Ors., [1986] 3 SCR 905 and Suraj Pal Sahu v. State of Maha- rashtra & Ors., AIR 1986 SC 2177, held inapplicable.

5. In the absence of personal allegation of mala fide or bias made by the detenu against the detaining authority in person, the omission to file affidavit-in-reply by itself is no ground to sustain the allegation of mala fides or non- application of mind. In the absence of detaining authority, the affidavit must be sworn by some responsible officer who personally dealt with or processed the case in the Secre- tariat or submitted it to the Minister. [253A; D] 243

5.1 In the instant case, the counter-affidavit has been filed by the officer who was dealing with the papers relat- ing to the particular order of detention and he placed those papers before the Minister concerned. Therefore, the counter affidavit filed on behalf of the respondents cannot but be considered and there is no allegation of mala fide or malice or extraneous consideration personally against the detaining authority in making the impugned order of detention. [253G- H] Madan Lal Anand v. Union of India & Ors., [1989] 2 Scale 970; Mohinuddin v. District Magistrate, Beed and Ors., [1987] 4 SCC 58; Niranjan Singh v. State of Madhya Pradesh, [1973] 1 SCR 691; Habibullah Khan v. State of West Bengal, [1974] 4 SCC 275; Jagdish Prasad v. State of Bihar, [1974] 4 SCC 455 and Mohd. Alam v. State off West Bengal, [1974] 4 SCC 463, relied on-

6. The persons examined under section 108 of the Customs Act, 1962 were well known to the petitioner. The statements of these persons clearly implicate the petitioner who know- ing fully that the two cars will be used for the purpose of transportation of prohibited drugs i.e. heroin and for soiling of the same, handed over the keys of the two cars to the driven- Therefore, the contention of the petitioner that the detention order was vitiated by non-application of mind is devoid of merit. [247A-B; 246F]

7. Accordingly, the impunged order of detention is quite in accordance with law and the same is valid. [254A]

CRIMINAL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION: Writ Petition (Crl.) No. 247 of 1990.

(Under Article 32 of the Constitution of India).

S.S. Ray, Vijay Bahuguna, S.K. Gambhir, Sunil Kr. Jain and Vijay Hansaria for the Petitioner.

Ashok Desai, Solicitor General, P- parmeshwaran and A. Subba Rao for the Respondents.

The Judgment of the Court was delivered by RAY, J- The petitioner, Syed Farooq Mohammad has chal- lenged the order of his detention passed on December 20, 1989 under Section 3(1) of the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988, and served on him on February 15, 244 1990. The order of detention was issued by Nisha Sahai Achuthan, Joint Secretary to the Government of India who was specially empowered under Section 3(1) of the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act and it recited that with a view to preventing the peti- tioner from engaging in abetting and transportation of narcotic drugs, the said Sayyed Farook Mohd. @ Farooq @ Sayyed Farooq Isamuddin @ Anand be detained and kept in custody in the Yervada Central Prison, Pune. The grounds of detention were also served on the same day i.e. February 15, 1990 immediately after his arrest by the Customs Authori- ties.

On July 19, 1989 the staff of the Preventive Collector- ate Customs, Bombay impounded two fiat cars bearing Nos. GJV 5440 and MHY 2625. The drivers of the said cars namely Aslam Mohammad Nazir and Mohammad Yakub Sheikh were apprehended.

On search of the two cars, 100 packets of brown coloured powder purporting to be narcotic drug of Pakistan origin was found out of the dickies of the cars. The narcotic drug recovered from the dickies of the said cars weighed 100 kgs. and its value in the market is about 2.34 crores. Car No. GJV 5440 belonged to the petitioner-detenu, Syed Farooq Mohammad and the other car No. MHY 2625 belonged to one C.P. Reddy, an Officer of international airport who was also apprehended and his statement u/s 108 of the Customs Act was recorded. It was revealed from his statement that this car was also used for transporting heroin along with petition- er's car. The statements of Aslam Mohammad Nazir and Moham- mad Yakub Sheikh who were apprehended as well as the state- ment of other person i.e. Mohd. Azam Khan @ Wali Mohd. Khan @ Hameed Khan were also recorded u/s 108 of the Customs Act by the Customs Officials. From these statements it appeared that these persons were known to the detenu and they used to visit often the hotel 'Fisherman' at Worli for disco. The detenu i.e. Farooq Mohammad also used to go for disco in the said hotel 'Fisherman' at Worli. It has been stated by Aslam Mohammad Nazir that on July 19, 1989 he was sitting in room No. 106, 2nd Floor, Kali Building near Burtan apartment, Bombay Central (residence of the detenu) along with his friend, Mohd. Yakub Sheikh, driver of the other car. Hameed also came there to meet Farooq Mohammad. Hameed asked him and Mohd. Yakub Sheikh to go along with him to Kalina. He told them that a truck had come to Kalina with some packets of contraband goods and that they were to take those packets near Jaslok hospital- Thereafter, he took two fiat cars beating registration Nos. GJV 5440 and MHY 2625 from Farooq.

He gave the keys of car No. GJV 5440 to him and car No. MID/2625 to Mohd. Yakub.

245 Thereafter, they drove those two cars to Kalina as per Hameed's instructions and Hameed led them in a red maruti car bearing No. BLB 7445 where Hameed showed them one truck wherefrom four gunny bags were unloaded and kept in the dickies of the above said two cars. It further appears from his statement that as per Hameed's instructions after the cars were parked near Jaslok Hospital, they handed over the keys of both the cars to Hameed and he told them to contact him again in the evening on telephone No. 367373 of R.K. Hotel- From Farooq's place they contacted him over the telephone. Hameed told them to wait there and he was coming there. Thereafter Hameed took them in the Maruti Car to a place near Tejpal Road, Gowalia Tank. There he showed them the same two fiat cars bearing Nos. GJV 5440 and MHY 2625.

Hameed gave the keys of the car No. GJV 5440 to him and car No. MHY 2625 to Mohd. Yakub Sheikh and asked them to drive the said two cars following his car. etc. etc.

Similar statement was made by Mohd- Yakub Sheikh which was recorded by the Customs Officials. It has also been stated by them that they were told by Hameed that each of them will get Rs.5,000 as monetary consideration. Yakub also stated that similar jobs have been done by him on 4-5 occa- sions and he received Rs.5,000 each time from Hameed. From the statement of Hameed recorded by the Customs Officials, it appears that on July 19, 1989 afternoon he collected two drivers namely Aslam Mohd- Nazir and Mohd. Yakub Sheikh and two fiat cars from Farooq of Bombay Central. This Farooq was introduced to him by Mohd. Nasir, a narcotic drug dealer who is now detained m' Rajasthan in connection with a drug case.

The detaining authority searched the residence of the detenu on July 20, 1989 but nothing incriminating could be found therefrom. After recording the statements of these persons and examining and considering the test reports dated October 13, 1989, September 29, 1989 and November 15, 1989 which mentioned that the brown powder contained in those 100 packets is narcotic drug coming within the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, the impugned order of detention was made on December 20, 1989 and the petitioner was arrested and detained on service of the order of deten- tion on February 15, 1990.

The challenge to the detention order had been made in the instant writ petition principally on four grounds which are as under:

( 1 ) The impugned order of detention has been passed rely- ing on 246 the incident which is absolutely stale as the incident is dated July 19, 1989 whereas the impugned order has been passed on December 20, 1989.

(2) The statements of the three persons as recorded in the form of statement under section 108 of the Customs Act came to the respondents on July 20, 1989. The order should have been passed immediately on 20th July, 1989 but the order has been passed on December 20, 1989 i.e. after five months. The impugned order, it is therefore contended, is illegal and has been passed on stale ground.

(3) Since no order of preventive detention has been passed against C.P. Reddy on the same evidence, no order should have been passed against the petitioner as his involvement is of the same nature and to the same extent as that of C.P. Reddy.

(4) Assuming that the order rejecting bail application has been considered though not evident from the grounds of detention supplied, yet the same has not been supplied to the petitioner. This indicates that a relevant document has not been supplied to the petitioner which affected his right of effective representation guaranteed under Article 22(5) of the Constitution. The petitioner after grant of bail by an order of this Court appeared before the respondents and applied for making statement u/s 108 of the Customs Act. He was arrested and the order of detention was served on him.

This material aspect should have been considered before serving the impugned order.

As regards the first ground, the counsel for the peti- tioner has vehemently urged before this Court that the statements of the two persons i.e. Aslam Mohd. Nazir and Mohd. Yakub Sheikh the drivers of the said two cars handed over by the petitioner for carrying narcotic drugs and also the statement of Hameed, did not implicate the petitioner in the transportation and smuggling of the drugs and as such there was non-application of mind on the part of the detain- ing authority in clamping the order of detention on the petitioner. The impugned order of detention is, therefore, vitiated by non-application of mind. The learned counsel referred to certain portions of the statements recorded by the Customs Officials u/s 108 of the Customs Act and con- tended with great emphasis that there was nothing to say that the petitioner was implicated in the smuggling or transportation of the heroin which has been seized from the dickies of the two cars.

247 This contention of the learned counsel is totally devoid of merit in as much as the statements of these three persons as recorded by the Customs Officials u/s 108 of the Customs Act clearly implicate the petitioner who knowing fully that these two cars will be used for the purpose of transporta- tion of prohibited drugs i.e. heroin and for selling of the same, handed over the keys of the two cars to the said two drivers who were sitting at his residence with Hameed on the asking of Hameed for carrying the contraband goods. In these circumstances, it is meaningless to argue that the state- ments of these three persons did not implicate the petition- er. All the aforesaid three persons were well known to the petitioner and were sitting at the petitioner's residence, they were given the keys of the petitioner's car as well as the keys of the car of C.P. Reddy which was brought to his garrage for repairs by one Ravi Poojari through whom C.P. Reddy sent his car for repairs. The petitioner knowing fully well that these two cars will be used for the purpose of transporting contraband goods i.e. heroin from the truck stationed at Kalina from which four gunny bags containing the said heroin were unloaded and placed in the dickies of these two cars, handed over the keys of the cars. It is also evident from these statements recorded by the Customs Offi- cials that the petitioner along with those three persons used to visit hotel 'Fisherman' for disco regularly and they were well-known to the petitioner- In these circumstances, it is beyond pale of any doubt that the petitioner knowing fully well that these two cars will be used for transporting contraband goods, i.e. heroin, handed over the keys of the cars for the said purpose. Therefore, this challenge is wholly without any basis.

The next ground of challenge is that the cars were impounded and the contraband goods were seized on July 19, 1989 and the statements of these three persons were recorded by the Customs Officials on July 20, 1989 and the residen- tial premises of the detenu were searched on July 20, 1989 but no incriminatory articles' were found. The detaining authority made inordinate delay in passing the impugned.order of detention against the detenu as late as on December 20, 1989 under section 3(1) of the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Sub- stances Act, 1988 to be hereinafter referred to as the 'said Act'. It has been submitted that if there was any urgent necessity to prevent the petitioner, the order should have been passed immediately on 20th July, 1989 but it has been passed on December 20, 1989 i.e. after five months. The impugned order is, therefore, illegal being passed on stale ground.

This contention is, in our considered opinion, devoid of any 248 substance as we have stated hereinbefore that the two cars were impounded on July 19, 1989 and brown sugar weighing 100 kgs. was recovered from the dickies of these two cars on that day. The said three persons i.e. Aslam Mohd. Nazir, Mohammad Yakub Sheikh and Hameed were examined and their statements were recorded by the Customs Officials on the next day i.e. July 20, 1989. It is also evident that samples of the said contraband drugs were taken from each of the 100 packets and the same were sent for chemical examination. The test reports dated October 13, 1989, September 29, 1989 and November 15, 1989 were received by the Customs Department and the Customs Officials screened all these things and the detaining authority after considering all these, passed the order of detention on December 20, 1989. In these circum- stances, it cannot be said that the delay of five months in making the impugned order of detention rendered the deten- tion illegal and bad as it was made on stale ground. The detention order has been made with promptitude considering the relevant and vital facts proximate to the passing of the impugned order of detention. This ground of challenge is, therefore, totally unsustainable.

The third ground of challenge is that the relevant document i.e. bail application of the petitioner and order made there on which might have been considered by the de- taining authority were not supplied to the petitioner and as such his right of making effective representation guaranteed under Article 22(5) of the Constitution of India has been seriously prejudiced. This ground is without any substance because firstly there is nothing to show from the grounds of detention that the rejection of this bail application by the Sessions Judge, Greater Bombay on January 5, 1990 was con- sidered by the detaining authority before passing the im- pugned order of detention and as such this being not re- ferred to in the grounds of detention, the documents had not been supplied to the petitioner, and it, therefore, cannot be urged that non-supply of this document prejudiced the petitioner in making effective representation against the order of detention. Article 22(5) of the Constitution, undoubtedly, mandates that all the relevant documents re- ferred to in the grounds of detention and which are consid- ered by the detaining authority in coming to his subjective satisfaction for clamping an order of detention are to be supplied to the detenu. The said document was not considered by the detaining authority in coming to his subjective satisfaction and in making the impugned order of detention.

The non-furnishing to the detenu of the said document i.e. the bail application and the order passed thereon, does not affect in any manner whatsoever the detenu's right to make an effective representation in compliance with the provi- sions of Article 22(5) of 249 the Constitution of India. This ground, therefore, is wholly untenable.

It has been contented in this connection by referring to the order made by this Court on January 22, 1990 in the Special Leave Petition filed by the petitioner before this Court against the rejection of his application of anticipa- tory bail whereon this Court made an interim order while issuing show cause notice on the Special Leave Petition and directing that in the meantime the petitioner shall not be arrested, that the impugned order of detention is illegal.

This order was made in the Special Leave Petition which did not challenge the impugned order of detention but questioned the rejection of the application for anticipatory bail. The order of detention was made on December 20, 1989 i.e. prior to the passing of the said order dated January 22, 1990. The said order of this Court has, therefore, nothing to do with the subjective satisfaction arrived at by the detaining authority in passing the order of detention in question. It has been urged in this connection that the facts in between the passing of the detention order and implementing the detention order have to be taken into account for consider- ing whether the detention order should be served on the detenu even after passing of the order by this Court dated January 22, 1990 stating that the petitioner shall not be arrested in the meantime. The counsel for the petitioner referred the case of Binod Singh v. District Magistrate, Dhanbad, Bihar and Ors., [1986] 3 SCR 905. Wherein the detenu was served with the order of detention u/s 3(2) of the National Scurity Act while he was in jail custody in connection with the criminal charge u/s 302 I.P.C. The question arose whether in such cases where the detention order which was passed before the detenu surrendered before the Court and was taken into custody in a criminal case, should be served on the detenu after he has surrendered in the criminal case and was in jail as an under-trial prison- er. It has been held by this Court that:

" ..... the power of directing preventive detention given to the appropriate ,authorities must be exercised in excep- tional cases as contemplated by the various provisions of the different statutes dealing with preventive detention and should be used with great deal of circumspection. There must be awareness of the facts necessitating preventive custody of a person for social defence. If a man is in custody and there is no imminent possibility of his being released, the power of preventive detention should not be exercised .....

" 250 This ruling as well as the ruling in Suraj Pal Sahu v. State of Maharashtra and Ors., AIR 1986 SC 2177 relied upon by the counsel for the petitioner have no application to the instant case in as much as in the instant case the detenu was not arrested and imprisoned in jail till February 15, 1990 when the order of detention was served on him and he was arrested by the Customs Authorities. Considering all these, this ground of challenge is also wholly untenable.

The next ground of challenge is that the detenu appeared before the respondents and applied to them to record his statement u/s 108 of the Customs Act. He was then arrested and the order of detention was served on him. It is relevant to mention in this connection the averments made in para 10 of the counter-affidavit filed on behalf of the respondents which is to the effect that in fact, when the petitioner presented himself, his statement was recorded on February 15, 1990 and it was only after the recording of the state- ment that the petitioner was detained in pursuance of the detention order. It has also been stated in para 11 of the said affidavit that there existed sufficient grounds which impelled the detaining authority to pass the detention order against the petitioner. It has also been stated in para 12 of the said affidavit that a detention order under the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psycho- tropic Substances Act, 1988 can be legally issued even if there is a single and solitary case against a person. It has also been stated that the detaining authority carefully scrutinised all the relevant documents and facts of the case and arrived at his subjective satisfaction that preventive order of detention of the petitioner is necessary to prevent him from smuggling and transporting contraband goods and as such the impugned order of detention is not at all illegal or bad and the same is not vitiated by non-application of mind or non-consideration of relevant materials. This ground, therefore, is not sustainable.

The last ground of challenge is that there has been inordinate delay in arresting the detenu and in serving the detention order i.e. on February 15, 1990 after a lapse of 1 month and 25 days and no serious attempt was made to arrest the petitioner and to serve the order of detention on him in accordance with the provisions of Section 8 of the said Act which specially provides for enforcing the provisions of Section 82, 83, 84 and 85 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

It has been urged in this connection that this unusual delay in arresting the petitioner shows that there was no real and genuine apprehension in the mind of the detaining authority regarding the necessity of detention of the petitioner and as such continued detention of the petitioner is 251 illegal and contrary to law. It is apropos to refer in this connection to the averments made on behalf of the respond- ents in para 7 of the counter-affidavit. It has been stated therein that the Department served two notices, one of which was accepted by his mother and the second by his brother, Nizamuddin for handing over the same to the petitioner, as the petitioner was not available in the house. It has been submitted that the petitioner deliberately avoided making himself available to the Department and thus delayed comple- tion of investigation of the case. Instead of appearing before the Department, the petitioner applied to the Ses- sions Judge for anticipatory bail which was rejected on 5.1.1990. Thereafter, the petitioner approached this Court for anticipatory bail, which was granted on 22.1.1990. It is, therefore, evident that the petitioner absconded and tried to evade arrest pursuant to the order of detention even though he knew the passing of such an order by the detaining authority. It is relevant to mention here the observations of this Court in Shafiq Ahmad v. District Magistrate, Meerut and Ors., [1989] 4 SCC 556 to the follow- ing effect:

" ..... We are, however, unable to accept this contention.

If in a situation the person concerned is not available or cannot be served then the mere fact that the action under Section 7 of the Act has not been taken, would not be a ground to say that the detention order was bad." In Bhawarlal Ganeshmalji v. State of Tamil Nadu & Anr., [1979] 2 SCR 633 an order of detention was made against the appellant u/s 3(1) of COFEPOSA Act in December, 1974. It could not be executed because the detenu was absconding and could not be apprehended despite a proclamation made under Section 7 of the Act. More than three years after the order was passed, the appellant surrendered in February, 1978. It was held that there must be a 'live and proximate link' between the grounds of detention and the avowed purpose of detention. But in appropriate cases the Court can assume that the link is 'snapped' if there is a long and unex- plained delay between the date of the order of detention and the arrest of the detenu. Where the delay is not only ade- quately explained but is found to be the result of the detenu's recalcitrant or retractory conduct in evading arrest, there is warrant to consider the 'link' not snapped but strengthened. It was, therefore, held that the delay in serving the order of detention on the detenu does not viti- ate the order.

In the instant case, it has been clearly averred in the affidavit that two notices were served, one on the petition- er's mother and another 252 on the petitioner's brother directing the petitioner to appear before the detaining authority. The petitioner, it has been stated, has intentionally absconded and thereby evaded arrest. These averments have not been denied by the petitioner. In these circumstances it cannot be said that the delay was not explained and the rink between the grounds of detention and the avowed purpose of detention has been snapped. Reference may also be made in this connection to the decision in T.A. Abdul Rahman v. State of Kerala and Ors., [1989] 4 SCC 741. This ground of challenge is, there- fore, devoid of any merit.

It has also been submitted on behalf of the petitioner that the representation made by the detenu on February 28, 1990 both to the Chairman, Advisory Board as well as to the Central Government were not disposed of till March 29, 1990 when the said representation was rejected by the Central Government. It has been submitted that this long delay of one month made the continued detention of the petitioner invalid and illegal. The counsel for the respondents has produced before this Court the relevant papers from which it is evident that after receipt of the representation of the petitioner, it was sent to the detaining authority for his comments and immediately after the comments of the detaining authority were received the same were processed and put up before the Minister concerned who rejected the representa- tion after considering the comments of the detaining author- ity and the State Government. It has been urged on behalf of the petitioner that the comments were not duly considered.

This submission is not at all tenable in as much as it is evident from the relevant papers produced before this court that the Central Government passed the order after consider- ing the comments of the detaining authority. So this submis- sion is without any substance and the same is rejected.

It has been further submitted that the counter-affidavit was sworn not by the detaining authority but by one Shri A.K. Roy, Under Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, De- partment of Revenue, New Delhi and as such this affidavit cannot be taken into consideration and the averments made therein are not relevant to explain the unusual delay in serving the order of detention as well as in rejecting the representation. In this connection some rulings of this Court have been cited at the bar. In Madan LaI Anand v.

Union of India and Ors., [1989] (2) Scale 970 the counter- affidavit filed on behalf of the respondents had been af- firmed by Kuldip Singh, Under Secretary to the Government and not by the detaining authority himself. It was urged that the counter-affidavit being not sworn by the detaining authority, the averments made therein should not be taken notice of. It was held 253 that there being no personal allegation of mala fide or bias made by the detenu against the detaining authority in-per- son, the omission to file affidavit-in-reply by itself is no ground to sustain the allegation of mala fides or non-appli- cation of mind.

Similar observation has been made by this Court in Mohinuddin v. District Magistrate, Beed and Ors., [1987] 4 SCC 58 which is to the following effect:

" ..... In return to a rule nisi issued by this Court or the High Court in a habeas corpus petition, the proper person to file the same is the District Magistrate who had passed the impugned order of detention and he must explain his subjective satisfaction and the grounds therefore; and if for some good reason the District Magistrate is not available, the affidavit must be sworn by some responsible officer like the Secretary or the Deputy Secretary to the Government in the Home Department who personally dealt with or processed the case in the Secretariat or submitted it to the Minister or other officer duly authorised under the Rules of Business framed by the Government under Article 166 of the Constitution to pass orders on behalf of the govern- ment in such matters." Reference has also been made therein to the cases of Niran- jan Singh v. State of Madhya Pradesh, [1973] 1 SCR 691; Habibullah Khan v. State of West Bengal, [1974] 4 SCC 275; Jagdish Prasad v. State of Bihar, [1974] 4 SCC 455 and Mohd. Alam v. State of West Bengal, [1974] 4 SCC 463.

In the instant case, the counter-affidavit has been filed by Shri A.K. Roy, Under Secretary to the Government, Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue, New Delhi al- though the order of detention was made by Nisha Sahai Achu- than, Joint Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Finance. It is evident that the said Under Secretary was dealing with the papers relating to the particular order of detention and he placed those papers before the Minister concerned. In these circumstances, the counter-affidavit filed on behalf of the respondents cannot but be considered and there is no allegation of mala fide or malice or extra- neous consideration personally against the detaining author- ity in making the impugned order of detention. This conten- tion is, therefore, not tenable.

254 In the premises aforesaid we dismiss the writ petition and hold that the impugned order of detention is quite in accordance with law and the same is valid. The observations made herein are confined to this application.

T.N.A. Petition dismissed.

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