G. Reddeiah Vs. The
Government of Andhra Pradesh & ANR.
J U D G M E N T
appellant, who is the brother-in-law of R. Sreenivasulu-the detenue, has filed
this appeal against the judgment and final order dated 08.04.2011 passed by the
High Court of Judicature, Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad in a writ of Habeas
Corpus being Writ Petition No. 65 of 2011 whereby the High Court dismissed his petition
holding that the order of detention of R. Sreenivasulu passed by the Collector and
1 District Magistrate, Kadapa, Y.S.R. District, in Ref. No. 670/M/2010 dated
12.11.2010 is not illegal.
a) According to the prosecution,
the detenue was found to be involved in felling, transporting, smuggling of red-sanders
trees and committing theft of forest wealth in as many as eight times within a
period of one year. The cases registered against him disclose his activities. They
No. 130/2009-10- dated 22.02.2010: On 22.02.2010, on receiving information at 06:00
a.m., Forest Range Officer and Deputy Range Officer Rayachoty, alongwith other staff
proceeded to Masineni Kanuma locality of Palakonda Reserved Forest in Saraswathipalli
Beat and noticed 3 persons lifting and storing red-sanders wood and preparing to
transport the same. On seeing the Forest officials, they ran away from the
scene of offence and could not be apprehended. Later, they were identified and one
among them was the detenue.
Thereafter, the Forest
officials seized 30 red-sanders logs weighing 844 kgs. worth Rs.45,576/-. An offence
was registered against them vide P.O.R. No. 6 dated 2 22.02.2010 under Section 20(1)(c)(ii)
of the A.P. Forest Act, 1967 (hereinafter referred to as "the A.P.
Act") for trespassing in Reserved Forest, under Section 20(1)(c)(iii) of
the A.P. Act for causing damage by willfully cutting trees and dragging the same,
under Section 20(1)(c)(vi) and (x) of the A.P. Act for collection and removal of
red-sanders timber and under Section 29(2)(b) of the A.P. Act read with Rule 3 of
the A.P. Sandal Wood and Red Sanders Transit Rules, 1969 (in short "the Rules")
for transportation of red-sanders timber without permit and without any Government
Transit Mark and for theft of red-sanders timber from Reserved Forest under Section
378 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short "IPC") and for criminal
conspiracy under Section 120B IPC.
No. 01/2010-11 dated 01.04.2010 On 01.04.2010, on receiving information at 7.30
a.m., the Deputy Range Officer, Forest Beat Officers and Assistant Beat Officer
proceeded to the localities in Gudukonda and Pathikona and noticed the movement
of the detenue and two others who escaped from the scene of the offence and
later the detenue was identified and crime was registered against him 3 vide
P.O.R. No. 16 dated 01.04.2010 under various sections of the A.P. Act and the Rules
and also under Sections 378 and 120B IPC.
No. 02/2010-11 dated 03.04.2010 On 02.04.2010, the Forest Range Officer, Rayachoty
along with other staff stopped a vehicle carrying 20 red- sanders logs. The
detenue along with two others escaped from the vehicle but the Forest officials
apprehended the driver of the vehicle and a crime was registered vide P.O.R. No.
17 dated 03.04.2010 against them for an offence under various sections of the
A.P. Act and the Rules and also under Sections 378 and 120B IPC.
No.13/2010-11 dated 11.05.2010 and PS Crime No. 40/10 On 08.05.2010, on receiving
a complaint regarding smuggling of red-sanders logs, while doing routine vehicle
check, the Inspector of Police, L.R. Palli along with other staff stopped two
vans and caught hold of four persons and seized red-sanders logs from the above
two vehicles and on the basis of their information a crime was registered by
Galiveedu Police 4 Station in Crime No. 40/2010 for an offence under various sections
of the A.P. Act and the Rules and also under Sections 379 IPC against 14 accused
persons in which detenue was shown as 12th accused.
No. 18/2010-11 dated 23.05.2010 On the intervening night of 22.05.2010, the Forest
Officer, Rayachoty along with other staff caught-hold of detenue along with other
persons and seized 32 red-sanders logs weighing 794 kgs. and a crime was
registered vide P.O.R. No. 20 dated 23.05.2010 against them under various
sections of the A.P. Act and the Rules.
No. 46/10 dated 27.05.2010 and OR No. 20/2010-11 dated 30.05.2010 On
27.05.2010, the Inspector of Police, Rayachoty Rural Circle and Sub-Inspector of
Police, Veeraballi P.S. along with their staff noticed one Indica Car followed by
a lorry from Ragimannudivanpalli. On seeing them, the occupants tried to run away
and the police chased and caught-hold of two persons while one person escaped. The
lorry was found loaded with 25 red-sanders logs. On interrogation, they 5 informed
that the detenue was escorting them and he ran away from the scene. The police
registered a case in FIR No. 46/10 dated 27.05.2010 under Section 379 IPC and Section
29A(1) of the A.P. Act read with Rule 3 of the Rules. The Forest Range Officer,
Rayachoty also booked a case vide POR No. 20/2010-11 dated 30.05.2010.
No. 75/10 dated 03.10.2010 and OR No. 60/2010-11 dated 04.10.2010 On
03.10.2010, the Inspector of Police, Rayachoty Rural Circle and Sub-Inspector of
Police, Veeraballi P.S. along with forest officials proceeded to Teacher Narayana
Reddy Mango Garden located at Peddamadiga Palli Village, hamlet of Vongimalla
and found four persons removing red-sanders logs from the bushes. On seeing
them, three persons escaped and the police could apprehend only one person who
informed that the detenue was also involved in taking away the logs three times
in his vehicle. The police registered a case in Crime No. 75/10 under Section 379
IPC and Section 29 of the A.P. Act read with Rule 3 of the Rules and the Forest
Range Officer also booked a case vide POR No. 60/2010-11 dated 04.10.2010.
No. 92/10 On 09.10.2010, the Sub-Inspector of Galiveedu and Veeraballi, C.I. L.R.
Palli along with staff and panchayatdars while proceeding towards the forest
found one Tata Sumo and a Ford Ikon car carrying 36 red-sanders logs. When the occupants
tried to escape, the police caught hold of them. One among them was the detenue.
The police seized the vehicles and registered Crime No. 92 of 2010 under Section
379 IPC and Section 29 of the A.P. Act read with Rule 3 of the Rules.
(b) Thereafter, on 10.11.2010,
the detenue was released on bail and he was immediately arrested and order of detention
was served on 12.11.2010 by the Collector and District Magistrate, Kadapa,
Y.S.R. District under Sections 3(1) and 2 (a) and (b) of the Andhra Pradesh Prevention
of Dangerous Activities of Boot Leggers, Dacoits, Drug Offenders, Goondas, Immoral
Traffic Offenders and Land Grabbers Act, 1986 (in short "the 1986
Act") stating that the activities of the detenue are dangerous to forest
wealth and forest eco-system and are prejudicial to the maintenance of public
order. 7 (c) The General Administration (Law and Order
II) Department of the
Government of A.P., in G.O. Rt. No. 5657, dated 20.11.2010, approved the order
of detention and he was sent to Cherlapalli Jail on 13.11.2010. Again on
22.12.2010, Government of A.P. confirmed the order of detention by directing to
continue the detention for a period of 12 months from the date of detention
i.e. from 13.11.2010. (d) In January, 2011, challenging the detention order
passed by the Collector and District Magistrate, Kadapa, Y.S.R. District, dated
12.11.2010, the appellant herein - brother-in- law of the detenue, filed W.P.
No. 65 of 20011 before the High Court for issuance of writ of Habeas Corpus.
By impugned order
dated 08.04.2011, the High Court dismissed the petition holding that the order
of detention is not illegal. Aggrieved by the said order, the appellant has filed
this appeal by way of special leave petition before this Court.
Mr. A.T.M. Rangaramanujam learned senior counsel for the appellant and Mr. R.
Sundaravardan, learned senior counsel for the State.
is the definite stand of the State that its administration is not in a position
to curb the illegal activities of the detenue under the normal procedure, who
was habitually indulging in illicit trespass, cutting, dressing and transporting
the red- sanders wood from the Reserved Forest owned by the State causing irreparable
loss to national wealth. The Detaining Authority, on going through all the
materials and after holding that the said detenue is a `goonda' under Section 2(g)
of the 1986 Act passed the order of detention.
the said detention was challenged by his brother- in-law before the High Court
and the same has been negatived by the High Court, let us refer certain
provisions of the 1986 Act. Section 2(g) defines "goonda" which reads
as under:- (g) "goonda" means a person, who either by himself of as a
member of or leader of a gang, habitually commits, or attempts to commit or abets
the commission of offences punishable under Chapter XVI or Chapter XVII or Chapter
XXII of the Indian Penal Code;" Section 3 of the 1986 Act enables the Government
to detain certain persons whose activities are prejudicial to the maintenance
of public order. Section 3 reads as under:- "3. Power to make orders
detaining certain persons:-
The Government may,
if satisfied with respect to any bootlegger: dacoit, drug-offender, goonda, immoral
traffic offender or land-grabber that with a view to preventing him from acting
in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order, it is necessary
so to do, make an order directing that such person be detained. (2) If, having
regard to the circumstances prevailing or likely to prevail in any area within the
local limits of the jurisdiction of a District Magistrate or a Commissioner of Police,
the Government is satisfied that it is necessary so to do, they may, by order in
writing, direct that during such period as may be specified in the order, such District
Magistrate or Commissioner of Police may also, if satisfied as provided in
sub-Section (1), exercise the powers conferred by the said sub-section:
Provided that the
period specified in the order made by the Government under this sub-section shall
not in the first instance, exceed three months, but the Government may, if satisfied
as aforesaid that it is necessary so to do, amend such order to extend such period
from time to time by any period not exceeding three months at any one time. (3)
When any order is made under this Section by an officer mentioned in sub-section
(2), he shall forthwith report the fact to the Government together with the
grounds on which the order has been made and such other particulars as in his
opinion, have a bearing on the matter, and no such order shall remain in force for
more than twelve days after the making thereof, unless, in the meantime, it has
been approved by the Government."
Government/Detaining Authority is able to satisfy that a person either by
himself or in association with other members habitually commits or attempts or abets
such commission of offence punishable under IPC, A.P. Act and the Rules subject
to satisfying Section 3 of the 1986 Act, he can be detained in terms of the
essential concept of preventive detention is that the detention of a person is not
to punish him for something he has done but to prevent him from doing it. Even,
as early as in 1975, the Constitution Bench of this Court considered the procedures
to be followed in view of Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution. In Haradhan
Saha vs. State of West Bengal & Ors. (1975) 3 SCC 198, the Constitution Bench
of this Court, on going through the order of preventive detention under Maintenance
of Internal Security Act, 1971 laid down various principles which are as
merely because a detenue is liable to be tried in a criminal court for the
commission of a criminal offence or to be proceeded against for preventing him from
committing offences dealt with in Chapter VIII of the Code of Criminal Procedure
would not by itself debar the Government from taking action for his detention
under the Act. Second; the fact that the Police arrests a person and later on enlarges
him on bail and initiates steps to prosecute him under the Code of Criminal
Procedure and even lodges a first information report may be no bar against the District
Magistrate issuing an order under the preventive detention.
Third; where the
concerned person is actually in jail custody at the time when an order of
detention is passed against him and is not likely to be released for a fair length
of time, it may be possible to contend that there could be no satisfaction on
the part of the detaining authority as to the likelihood of such a person indulging
in activities which would jeopardize the security of the State or the public order.
Fourth; the mere circumstance that a detention order is passed during the pendency
of the prosecution will not violate (sic) the order. Fifth; the order of
detention is a precautionary measure.
It is based on a
reasonable prognosis of the future behaviour of a person based on his past conduct
in the light of the surrounding circumstances." In the light of the above principles,
let us test the validity of the detention order issued under the 1986 Act and
as affirmed by the High Court.
the earlier part of our order, we have culled out and noted 8 cases in which the
detenue-R. Sreenivasulu was involved and was habitually committing forest offences,
particularly, felling, cutting and smuggling of red-sanders wood causing loss to
national wealth. Inasmuch as we have adverted to the details regarding all the 8
cases commencing from 22.02.2010 ending with 09.10.2010 which is reflected in the
grounds of detention, there is no need to refer the same once again.
learned senior counsel for the appellant has submitted that some of the cases
have been 1 foisted and, according to him, the relevant details furnished in the
grounds of detention such as the date of occurrence, commission of various offences
both under the A.P. Act and the Rules and IPC, cannot be construed that his
activities are habitual or would not affect the national forest wealth.
We are unable to accept
the said contention. A reading of the grounds of detention clearly indicate that
the detenue had been indulging in various activities in felling and smuggling red-sanders
and he was habitually committing the same and was unmindful of wastage of
national forest wealth and public order. It also shows that it was not a
solitary or stray incident but continuously maintaining his activities commencing
from 22.02.2010 till 09.10.2010 in destroying the forest wealth.
It clearly shows that
he is habitually committing these offences. On going through all the details relating
to various offences, incidents and activities, we are satisfied that the
conclusion of Detaining Authority that by invocation of normal procedure, the
activities of the detenue cannot be controlled is acceptable. We also hold that
Detaining Authority is well within its powers in passing the impugned order of
detention. Further, we are 1 also in agreement with the reasoning of the High
Court which, by a detailed judgment, upheld the order of detention.
Rangaramanujam submitted that even though the detenue was arrested on
09.10.2010 and was released on bail on 10.11.2010, the detention order was
passed on 12.11.2010, the aspect that the detenue was in custody till
10.11.2010 was neither specifically adverted to and considered in the detention
order nor the sponsoring authority placed any material regarding the same, hence,
the ultimate detention order passed on 12.11.2010 cannot be sustained. Before considering
his objection, it is useful to refer the following decision and principles laid
incident relating to procedure to be adopted in case the detenue is already in custody
has been dealt in several cases. In Union of India vs. Paul Manickam and
Another (2003) 8 SCC 342, this Court, has held as under:- "14.....Where detention
orders are passed in relation to persons who are already in jail under some other
laws, the detaining authorities should apply their mind and show their awareness
in this regard in the grounds of detention, the chances of release of such
persons on bail.
The necessity of keeping
such persons in detention under the preventive detention laws has to be clearly
indicated. Subsisting custody of the detenue by itself does not invalidate an
order 1 of his preventive detention, and the decision in this regard must depend
on the facts of the particular case. Preventive detention being necessary to
prevent the detenue from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of
the State or to the maintenance of public order or economic stability etc. ordinarily,
it is not needed when the detenue is already in custody. The detaining
authority must show its awareness to the fact of subsisting custody of the detenue
and take that factor into account while making the order.
If the detaining authority
is reasonably satisfied with cogent materials that there is likelihood of his release
and in view of his antecedent activities which are proximate in point of time,
he must be detained in order to prevent him from indulging in such prejudicial
activities, the detention order can be validly made. Where the detention order in
respect of a person already in custody does not indicate that the detenue was likely
to be released on bail, the order would be vitiated. The point was gone into
detail in Kamarunnissa v. Union of India.
The principles were
set out as follows: even in the case of a person in custody, a detention order can
be validly passed: (1) if the authority passing the order is aware of the fact
that he is actually in custody; (2) if he has a reason to believe on the basis
of reliable material placed before him (a) that there is a real possibility of his
release on bail, and (b) that on being released, he would in all probability indulge
in prejudicial activities; and (3) if it is felt essential to detain him to
prevent him from so doing. If an order is passed after recording satisfaction in
that regard, the order would be valid. In the case at hand the order of
detention and grounds of detention show an awareness of custody and/or a possibility
of release on bail."
is clear that if the Detaining Authority was aware of the relevant fact, namely,
that he was under custody from 09.10.2010 and he would be released or likely to
be released or as in this case released on 10.11.2010 and if an order is passed
after due satisfaction in that regard, undoubtedly, the 1 order would be valid.
Before answering this point, Mr. R. Sundaravardan, learned senior counsel for the
State has brought to our notice that the said objection was neither raised before
the Advisory Board nor in the representation to the Government and was not mentioned
in the grounds of challenge and argued before the High Court.
He also pointed out
that even before this Court, this ground was not raised in the special leave petition.
It is not in dispute that such objection was not raised anywhere except during
the course of argument. No doubt, learned senior counsel for the appellant by
drawing our attention to Crl.M.P. No. 11504 of 2011 which was filed for
permission to file additional documents submitted that the same may be
considered and in the absence of such satisfaction by the Detaining Authority as
reflected in the detention order, the same is liable to be quashed. Non- consideration
of bail order would amount to non-application of mind. [ vide M. Ahamedkutty
vs. Union of India & Another. (1990) 2 SCC 1 and Anant Sakharam Raut vs. State
of Maharashtra and Anr. (1986) 4 SCC 771].
pointed out above, the said objection was not raised anywhere. It is also not
in dispute that the detenue was given adequate opportunity of hearing before the
Advisory Board and all his grievances were addressed to by the Board and submitted
its report. The Government, on going through the entire materials including the
report of the Advisory Board as well as the representation of the detenue, considering
the gravity of the offence alleged against him and his habituality, confirmed
the order of detention.
grounds of detention running into 60 pages and the order of detention to 5 pages
clearly demonstrate various details about the involvement of the detenue violating
the provisions of IPC, A.P. Act and the Rules. The details furnished in the grounds
of detention clearly show the application of mind on the part of the Detaining
Authority. It is not the case of the detenue or the appellant that the required
relevant and relied on materials have not been furnished which prevented him from
making effective representation to the Government.
The detailed report of
the Inspector of Police and Sponsoring Authority clearly show that 1 the
detenue was a master mind in organising the felling of red- sanders trees owned
by the Government and also providing vehicles for illegally transporting the
red-sanders wood, hiring of labourers from the fringe forest villages and
responsible for destruction of valuable governmental property. It also shows that
it was he who operated gang for destruction of the national wealth causing deforestation
leading to ecological imbalance affecting the community as a whole.
The grounds of detention
also show that the Detaining Authority, after scrutinising all the details including
various orders of arrest and release, bail on various dates and noting that he is
habitually indulging in trespass in forest area, illicit cutting, felling, smuggling
and transporting red-sanders from the reserved forest owned by the State, arrived
at a definite conclusion that the provisions of normal law were not sufficient in
ordinary course to deal firmly because of his habitual nature and after satisfying
all aspects including the fact that the detenue was in jail from 09.10.2010 to 10.11.2010
and the factum of release from the jail in 4 criminal cases, passed an order of
detention with a view to prevent him from further indulging into such offences.
In a matter of detention, the law is clear that as far as subjective satisfaction
is concerned, it should either be reflected in the detention order or in the affidavit
justifying the detention order.
Once the Detaining
Authority is subjectively satisfied about the various offences labelled against
the detenue, habituality in continuing the same, difficult to control him under
the normal circumstances, he is free to pass appropriate order under Section 3
of the 1986 Act by fulfilling the conditions stated therein. We have already
concluded that there is no infirmity either in the reasonings of the Detaining Authority
or procedure followed by it. We are also satisfied that the detenue was afforded
adequate opportunity at every stage and there is no violation of any of the safeguards.
In these circumstances, we reject the contention raised by learned senior
counsel for the appellant.
an attempt was made to nullify the order of detention by drawing our attention to
the latest decision of this Court reported in Rekha vs. State of Tamil Nadu
(2011) 1 5 SCC 244, on going through the factual position and orders therein and
in view of enormous activities of the detenue violating various provisions of
IPC, the A.P. Act and the Rules, continuous and habituality in pursuing the same
type of offences, damaging the wealth of the nation and taking note of the abundant
factual details as available in the grounds of detention and also of the fact that
all the procedures and statutory safeguards have been fully complied with by the
Detaining Authority, we are of the view that the said decision is not
applicable to the case on hand. On the other hand, we fully agree with the reasoning
of the Detaining Authority as approved by the Government and upheld by the High
the light of the above discussion, we find no merit in the appeal,
consequently, the same is dismissed.
(DR. B.S. CHAUHAN)