& Ors Vs Sangala Kondamma  Insc 743 (9 December 2004)
N.Santosh Hegde & S.B.Sinha (Arising out of S.L.P. (Crl) No. 5341 of 2003) SANTOSH HEGDE, J.
Heard learned counsel for the parties.
The husband of the respondent herein by name Shi Sangala Srinivasa Rao a
resident of West Godavari was detained by an order of the District Collector
made under Section 3 (1) (2) read with Section 2 (a) & (b) of the Andhra
Pradesh Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Dacoits, Drug
Offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders and Land Grabbers Act, 1986 (the
Act). The respondent-State Government approved the said detention on 24th of
January, 2003. The Advisory Committee after considering the material on record
and hearing the detenue in person approved the said detention order. On the
basis of the Report of the Advisory Board, the Government confirmed the
detention for a period of 12 months from the date of his detention which was
from 15th of January, 2003.
The said detention order came to be challenged by the wife of the detenue
who is the respondent herein, before the Andhra Pradesh High Court by way of a
writ petition. The High Court by the impugned order has allowed the writ
petition setting aside the order of detention, hence this appeal before us.
The High Court came to the conclusion that two of the grounds of detention
out of five were stale grounds and since the said two stale grounds could not
be separated from the other grounds, the satisfaction of the detaining authority
got vitiated, therefore, the order of detention cannot be sustained.
The order of detention was based on the following grounds:
(1) That the detenue was involved in criminal case Crime No.400/2000-01
dated 10.1.2001 involving 20 ltrs. of ID liquor in which case the detenue had
absconded from the scene of offence leaving behind the scooter used in
transport of ID liquor. The said ID liquor on chemical analysis was found to be
illicitly distilled and was injurious to health.
(2) He was involved in Crime No.173/1999-2000 dated 17.1.2000 involving 20 ltrs.
of ID liquor in the form of 200 arrack sachets which liquor was also found to
be illicitly distilled and was injurious to health.
(3) He was involved in Crime No.590/2001-02 dated 3.2.2002 involving 40 ltrs.
of ID liquor which liquor was also found to be illicitly distilled and was
injurious to health.
(4) He was involved in Crime No.406/2002-03 dated 6.10.2002 involving 20 ltrs.
of ID liquor in the form of 200 arrack sachets containing illicitly distilled
liquor which was also found to be injurious to health and unfit for human
(5) He was involved in Crime No.440/2002-03 dated 25.10.2002 involving 20 ltrs.
of ID liquor which was also illicitly distilled and was injurious to health and
unfit for human consumption.
As stated above, the order of detention was passed on 15.1.2003 about three
months after the last of the grounds referred to herein above and after
receiving necessary proposals in this regard.
Learned counsel appearing for the appellants-State contended that the object
of the Act was to prevent a person from indulging in any one of the activities
mentioned therein and bootlegging was one such activity. He contended that to
establish the apprehension of the authorities that there is a likelihood of the
detenue indulging in such dangerous activities, it is necessary to satisfy the
detaining authority with chain of similar events which could give rise to a
satisfaction of the detaining authority that the detenue is likely to indulge
in such activities in the near future also. In that process some of the facts
narrated individually may not be sufficient for the said authority to form an
opinion as to the need for such a detention. Therefore, the proposing authority
will have to place materials before the detaining authority of a series of
incidents which can satisfy the detaining authority the need for such
detention. In that process some of the incidents/grounds may not be proximate
to the order of detention.
If they are proximate to each other the fact that initial few incidents are
not proximate to the order of detention, would not make the order of detention
bad. Therefore, the High Court was not justified in picking two facts narrated
in the grounds as being stale and setting aside the order of detention.
Learned counsel appearing for the respondent supported the judgment of the
High Court and contended that it is not open to the detaining authority to rely
upon stale incidents in conjunction with some other incidents which may be
proximate to the order of detention to make an order of detention. The
detention order being one based on subjective satisfaction of the detaining
authority it will not be possible for a court to find out how far the stale
incident influenced the mind of the detaining authority, hence the
consideration of such stale incident along with some other proximate incidents
certainly would vitiate the subjective satisfaction of the detaining authority.
He contended that the State enactment does not contain any provision similar to
Section 5A of the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling
Act, 1974 which permits the court considering an order of detention to severe
the stale grounds from grounds proximate to the order of detention and in the absence
of such provision in the local act, the High Court was justified in setting
aside the order of detention. He also pointed out that the High Court correctly
relied upon certain earlier judgments of the said court while passing the
We notice from the preamble and statements and objects of the Act that it
aims to prevent a person from indulging in certain illegal activities
enumerated therein by his preventive detention.
For the said purpose, the detaining authority must be satisfied that the
proposed detenue is likely to indulge in such illegal activities in future
also. This is a satisfaction that could be reasonably arrived at by the
detaining authority only by examining the material that is produced by the
authority proposing his detention. In such a process, a detaining authority may
not always take into consideration a stray or solitary incident which may not
give rise to a reasonable apprehension or satisfaction as to such future act of
the proposed detenue. Therefore, it is necessary for the authority proposing
the detention of a person under the Act to produce such material which shows
the continuous previous illegal activities of the proposed detenue which would
satisfy the detaining authority of the need for detaining such a person. In
other words, the material produced by the authority proposing the detention
should form a chain of incidents last of which will have to be proximate to the
date of proposed detention while other acts must be proximate to each other.
Thus, if the facts placed before the detaining authority are proximate to each
other and the last of the fact mentioned in proximate to the order of detention
then the early incidents can not be treated as stale and detention order cannot
be set aside. In the instant case, it is seen that between the period from
10.1.2001 and 25.10.2002 the detenue was involved in five incidents of
bootlegging which are reasonably proximate to each other and the last of the
incidents being proximate to the order of detention, we think the High Court
was not justified in treating the two incidents of 17.1.2000 and 10.1.2001 as
stale by taking them in isolation. In our opinion, the court should have
considered the proximity of the incidents between themselves which indicates
the possibility of the proposed detenue continuing to indulge in the illegal
activities which requires his preventive detention. In the present case, as
noticed above, the five incidents recorded in the order of detention being
proximate enough to each other shows the continuity of the acts of the detenue.
In such a fact situation, we think the High Court erred in coming to the
conclusion that two of the five grounds being not proximate to the order of
detention and the order of detention was based on stale grounds. While it can
be stated that the incidents of 17.1.2000 and 10.1.2001 could not by themselves
have been sufficient grounds to detain the detenue but would certainly become a
relevant material along with other three grounds dated 3.2.2002, 6.10.2002 and
25.10.2002 to come to the conclusion that there is a need for detaining the detenue
to prevent him from indulging in similar activities in the future.
While we uphold the validity of the order of detention passed by the
detaining authority by disagreeing with the finding of the High Court. However,
on facts of this case, we notice that the detenue was taken into custody on
15.1.2003 and was released from detention pursuant to the order of the High
Court on 28.4.2003 and at this distance of time the appellants have no fresh
material to show before us that his further detention is necessary.
Therefore, we think there is no need to re-arrest the detenue to serve out
the balance period of detention. Hence, while allowing this writ petition by
setting aside the impugned order, we also hold that it is not necessary for the
detenue to be re-arrested to serve out the rest of the period of detention.
This, however, does not prevent the authorities from passing such an order as
is necessary if the present fact situation requires any such action.