P. L. Lakhanpal Vs. The State of Jammu
and Kashmir  INSC 78 (20 December 1955)
SINHA, BHUVNESHWAR P.
DAS, SUDHI RANJAN BHAGWATI, NATWARLAL H.
IMAM, SYED JAFFER
CITATION: 1956 AIR 197 1955 SCR (2)1101
Constitution of India, Arts. 13, 21, 22 and
35(c)-Jammu and Kashmir Preventive Detention Act, 2011 (Act VI of 2011), s. 3(1)
(a)(i) and s. 8(1) Proviso-Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir)
Order, 1954-Detention order under the provisions of ss. 3 (1)(a)(i) and 8(1)
Proviso of the ActWhether violates fundamental rights guaranteed under Arts.
21 and 22 of the Constitution-Non supply of
grounds of detention to DetenuWhether violates his fundamental rightAddition of
clause (c) to Art. 35 of the Constitution Effect of.
The petitioner was detained in Kothibagh
sub-jail in Srinagar by the order of Jammu and Kashmir Government under the
provisions of s. 3(1)(a)(i) of the Jammu and Kashmir Preventive Detention Act,
2011, 1102 The petitioner challenged the order of detention on the grounds,
inter alia, (i) that it encroached on his fundamental right to life and
personal liberty guaranteed to him under Art. 21 of the Constitution as
extended to the State of Jammu and Kashmir, (ii) that it violated his
fundamental right guaranteed to him under clause (5) to Art.
22 of the Constitution as extended to Jammu and Kashmir State inasmuch as the petitioner was not supplied with the grounds on
which the order of detention was based. It was contended that s. 8(1) Proviso,
of Jammu and Kashmir Preventive Detention Act, 2011, under which the grounds of
detention were not supplied to him, was unconstitutional as being inconsistent
with Arts. 21 and 22 of the Constitution and thus void to the extent of that
inconsistency in view of the provisions of Art. 13 of the Constitution.
Held (overruling the contention) that s. 8
(1) Proviso is not unconstitutional in view of the provisions of Constitution
(Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954 which supersedes the
Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1950, and of clause (c) which has been
added to Art. 35 of the Constitution.
The effect of the modification of Art. 35 by
the addition of clause (c) thereto is that such of the provisions of the Act as
are inconsistent with Part III of the Constitution shall be valid until the
expiration of five years from the commencement of the Order.
ORIGINAL JURISDICTION: Petition No. 396 of
Under Article 32 of the Constitution for a
writ in the nature of Habeas Corpus.
R. Patnaik, for the petitioner.
M. C. Setalvad, Attorney-General of India, C. K. Daphtary, Solicitor-General of India, Raja Jaswant Singh, Advocate-General,
Jammu and Kashmir (-P. A. Mehta and R. H. Dhebar, with them) for the respondent.
M. C. Setalvad, Attorney-General of India (P.
A. Mehta and R. H. Dhebar, with him) for the Intervener.
1955. December 20. The Judgment of the Court
was delivered by SINHA J.-This application for a writ of habeas corpus is
directed against the State of Jammu and Kashmir which has by its order dated
the 4th October, 1955, directed the detention of the petitioner under section 3
of the Jammu and Kashmir Preventive Detention Act, (Jammu and Kashmir Act IV of
2011), hereinafter to be referred to as "the Act". Originally the
sole respondent impleaded was the State of Jammu and Kashmir. After a rule nisi
was issued to the respondent, the Union of India intervened because the
petitioner had challenged the validity of the Constitution (Application to Jammu
and Kashmir) Order, 1954.
The petitioner, P. L. Lakhanpal, aged
approximately 28 years, describing himself as the Chairman, End Kashmir Dispute
Committee, has moved this Court against the order of the State detaining him in
Kothi Bagh sub-jail in Srinagar.
The application is based on the following
allegations. The petitioner is normally a resident of 9821, Nawabganj, Delhi
6. He went to Kashmir on a permit on the 24th
September this year "on a study-cum-pleasure trip". He has been
evincing keen interest in Kashmir politics since the year 1946, when as General
Secretary of the Congress Socialist Party, Lahore, be was closely associated
with the "Quit Kashmir movement". Last year he wrote a book entitled
I 'Communist Conspiracy in Kashmir", copies of which had been seized by
the Delhi Police but were subsequently released. The petitioner in the book
aforesaid, as also elsewhere in the press and on the platform, claims to have
been making "trenchant criticism of the Kashmir cabinet headed by Bakshi
Ghulam Mohammed and also of the Government of India's policy in regard to
Kashmir". He claims to be known as the supporter of Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah,
the former Prime Minister of Kashmir, and to have expressed the opinion that he
"has been the victim of a heinous conspiracy motivated by lust for power
between the communists and the rightists on the one hand and Bakshi Ghulam
Mohammed, the present Kashmir Prime Minister, on the other". He also
claims to have been advocating the cause of the ex-Prime Minister aforesaid of
Kashmir whose detention has been severely criticized by him.
He has "also publicly exposed and
denounced the brutal excesses committed by the police and authorities under the
Bakshi Government throughout 1104 the State". He has characterized the State
Constituent Assembly as having forfeited the confidence of the people.
He claims to have "declared that the
Bakshi cabinet, which in his view is dominated by the communists, is the corrupts,
the most tyrannical and the most hated Government that the State has ever
had". Similar views were expressed by him in telegrams said to have been
sent to the Sadar-i-Riyasat of Jammu and Kashmir, to the President of India and
to the Prime Minister of India. He claims to have organized a "persistent
campaign to secure support for his views on Kashmir among the public and
leaders of political thought". The aforesaid activities of the petitioner,
he further claims, have "provoked a bitter controversy between him and the
Indian Prime Minister". In this connection he makes reference to certain
statements said to have been made by the Prime Minister of India which it is
not necessary to detail here except the following:"During the last few
months, however, I have become aware of his (the petitioner's) activities and
have inquired into them. These inquiries led me to the conclusion that these
activities are of a most objectionable character which can only help the
enemies of our country".
The petitioner also claims to be the General
Secretary of the World Democratic Peace Congress. In this connection he makes
certain other allegations against the Prime Minister of India which are not
relevant to the case. He also makes a grievance that it was reported in a daily
newspaper of Srinagar called Khidmat that the present Prime Minister of Jammu
and Kashmir had described him as "a traitor and an enemy of the
nation". He then describes his activities during three days in Srinagar
meeting people from various walks of life, including editors of the newspapers
and members of the State Assembly. On the 29th September, he says, be left
Srinagar for Anantnag in the company of the alleged leader of the opposition in
the Assembly and President of the Jammu and Kashmir Plebiscite Front, named
Mirza Afzal Mohd. Beg, who, it may be added, has also 1105 been in detention
under the orders of the Jammu and Kashmir Government, as stated by the Advocate
General of that State.
At Anantnag he claims to have spent two days
as the guest of Mr. Beg meeting people of the town and neighbouring areas "listening
to their harrowing tales of woe". On the 30th September be "addressed
an informal meeting of the Plebiscite Front Workers at Mr. Beg's
residence". He came back to Srinagar on the 1st October and left for
Sopore on the 2nd October. There he addressed an informal gathering of a few
hundred workers on the same lines as he had done at Anantnag. On the 3rd
October he personally banded to the P.A. to the Chief Secretary of Jammu and
Kashmir an application seeking permission for an interview with Sheikh Abdullah
in the Kud jail where he has been in detention.
During his stay in Srinagar, he states, he
made unsuccessful attempts to contact the State Prime Minister for a meeting.
In the afternoon of the 4th October be held a
press conference at which he "made a written statement" complaining
of "such barbaric brutalities, such-insecurity of life, property and
honour and such callousness on the part of the administration as are evidenced
in your valley only go to show that the Bakshi Government is just another name
for legalized lawless, disorder, corruption and nepotism". In the early
hours of the morning of the 5th October the Superintendent of Police, Srinagar,
read out to him the order of detention passed by the Cabinet and took him into
custody and detained him in the sub-jail Kothi Bagh. The order of detention
(Annexure "D" at page 20 of the paperbook) is in these terms:"GOVERNMENT
OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR CHIEF SECRETARIAT (GENERAL DEPARTMENT) Subject:-Detention
of P. L. Lakhanpal, Chairman, End Kashmir Dispute Committee at present residing
in Kashmir Guest House, Lal Chowk, Amira Kadal, Srinagar, under section
3(1)(a)(i) of the Jammu and Kashmir Preventive Detention Act, 2011.
1106 Read:-Memorandum No. IS-164-D/55 dated
4-10-1955, from the Minister Incharge, Law and Order.
Order No. 1644-C of 1955 Dated 4th October,
The Government having considered the facts
stated in the memo of the Minister Incharge, Law and Order are satisfied that
it is necessary to detain P. L. Lakhanpal, Chairman, End Kashmir Dispute
Committee at present residing in Kashmir Guest House, Lal Chowk, Amira Kadal,
Srinagar, with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial
to the security of the State. Accordingly the Government hereby accord sanction
to the Order annexed hereto and authorize the Chief Secretary to Government to
issue the same over his signature.
By Order of the Cabinet, , Sd. G.M. Bakshi
The order actually 'served on the petitioner
is an annexure to the cabinet order (Annexure 'E' at page 21 of the paperbook)
which is in these terms:
"GOVERNMENT OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR.
Annexure to Cabinet Order No. 1644-C of 1955, dated 4-10-1955.
Whereas the Government are satisfied with
respect to P. L. Lakhanpal, Chairman, End Kashmir Dispute Committee, at present
residing in Kashmir Guest House, Lal Chowk, Amirakadal, Srinagar that with a
view to preventing him from acting in a manner prejudicial to the security of
the State it is necessary to make an order directing that the said P.
L.Lakhanpal be detained:
Now, therefore in exercise of the powers
conferred by subsection (1) of section 3 of the Jammu and Kashmir Preventive
Detention Act, 2011, the Government are pleased to order that the said P. L.
1107 Lakhanpal be detained in sub-jail,
Notice of this Order shall be given to the
said P. L. Lakhanpal by reading over the same to him.
By order of Government.
Sd. Ghulam Ahmad Chief Secretary to
It is this order which the petitioner challenges
as "malicious, mala fide, vague and capricious, illegally depriving the
petitioner of his fundamental right to life and personal liberty guaranteed
under article 21 of the Constitution as extended to the State of Jammu and
The order of the petitioner's detention is
also challenged as unwarranted and illegal as the order sent to the jail
authorities does not bear the signature of the Prime Minister of Jammu and
Kashmir and also because the petitioner has not been supplied, in spite of demands
made by him, with the grounds on which the order of his detention is based,
"in clear violation of his fundamental rights guaranteed under clause (5)
of article 22 of the Constitution as extended to the State of Jammu and Kashmir
by the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954".
The State has filed an answer to the
petitioner's affidavit in support of his petition. The affidavit filed on
behalf of the State is sworn to by Shri Pirzada Ghulam Ahmad, Chief Secretary
to the Government. In this affidavit he denies that the petitioner had come to
Kashmir on a study-cumpleasure trip as alleged by him. He further states that
the petitioner during his stay in Kashmir "actually engaged himself in
activities prejudicial to the security of the State" and that the
Government was "satisfied that it is not in the public interest to
communicate to the petitioner the grounds of the said detention order".
The affidavit further states that the petitioner's "detention was ordered
by the Cabinet not for any collateral purpose but because the Government was
satisfied that the activities of the petitioner were calculated to prejudice
the security of the State" 140 1108 The allegations of improper motive and
mala fides made by the petitioner are denied as wholly "unfounded and
baseless". It is also denied that the petitioner's detention was illegal
or that the provisions of the Act under which the order had been passed were
The affidavit ends by stating that it is
apprehended that if the petitioner were to be released, he is "likely to
indulge further in activities which would greatly jeopardize the security of
the State" and that the detention order had been made solely with a view
to preventing the petitioner from doing any further mischief.
The Act impugned in this case provides that
it shall remain in force for a period of five years from the date of its
commencement. The relevant portion of section 3 is in these terms:(1) The
Government may(a) if satisfied with respect to any person that with a view to
preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to(i) the security of the
State; or........ it is necessary so to do, make an order directing that such
person be detained".
The main attack against the orders served
upon the petitioner is against the following paragraph in the order dated the
7th October 1955:"Now, therefore, the Government, in exercise of the
powers conferred by the proviso to sub-section (1) of section 8 of the said
Act, hereby declare that it would be against the public interest to communicate
to the said P. L. Lakhanpal the grounds on which the detention order has been
That part of the order of detention passed
against the petitioner is in consonance with section 8 of the Act which is in
these terms:"(1) When a person is detained in pursuance of a detention
order, the authority making the order shall, as soon as may be, communicate to
him the grounds on which the order has been made, and shall afford him the
earliest opportunity of making a representation against the order to the
Provided that nothing contained in this
sub-section shall apply to the case of any person detained with a view to
preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the
State if the Government by order issued in this behalf declares that it would
be against the public interest to communicate to him the grounds on which the
detention order has been made.
(2)Nothing in sub-section (1) shall require
the authority to disclose facts which it considers to be against the public
interest to disclose".
The proviso to the section just quoted makes
provision for such cases as come within the purview of section 3(1) (a) (i) of
the Act; that is to say, a person in the position of the petitioner who has
been detained for preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the
security of the State of Jammu and Kashmir is outside the general rule laid
down in section 8(1) if the Government declares as it has done in this case,
that it would be against the public interest to communicate to him the grounds
on which the detention order has been made. It is not contended that the orders
served upon the petitioner are not justified by the terms of the section quoted
above. But it has been argued by the learned counsel for the petitioner that
the terms of the section are unconstitutional inasmuch as they are inconsistent
with the provisions of articles 21 and 22 of the Constitution and are therefore
to the extent of such in consistency void in view of the provisions of article
13 of the Constitution. This argument presupposes that the petitioner can
invoke the aid of those articles. It has not been contended on behalf of the
petitioner that apart from the provisions of Part III of the Constitution the
petitioner has any fundamental rights guaranteed to him, Therefore, if articles
21 and 22 are out of the way, as will presently appear, the argument is without
The Constitution does not apply to the State
of Jammu and Kashmir in its entirety. On the 14th May, 1954, the President of
India in exercise of the powers conferred by clause (1) of article 370 of the
Constitution made and promulgated with the concurrence of the Government of the
State of Jammu and Kashmir, the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir)
Order, 1954 (which shall be described hereinafter as "The Order").
It came into force on the same day and
superseded the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1950.. By
its terms the Order provides that in addition to articles I and 370, the
specified provisions of the Constitution shall apply to the State of Jammu and
Kashmir subject to the exceptions and modifications indicated therein. In so
far as those exceptions and modifications are relevant to our present purpose,
it is provided that in clauses (4) and (7) of article 22 "The Legislature
of the State of Jammu and Kashmir" shall be substituted for
"Parliament", so that the Legislature of the State of Jammu and
Kashmir is competent to legislate in respect of preventive detention. In
article 35, clause (c) has been added, which is in these terms:"No law
with respect to preventive detention made by the Legislature of the State of
Jammu and Kashmir, whether before or after the commencement of the Constitution
(Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954, shall be void on the ground
that it is inconsistent with any of the provisions of this Part, but any such
law shall, to the extent of such inconsistency, cease to have effect on the
expiration of five years from the commencement of the said Order, except as
respects things done or omitted to be done before the expiration thereof".
The effect of this modification in article 35
of the Constitution is that such of the provisions of the Act as are inconsistent
with Part III of the Constitution shall be valid until the expiration of five
years from the commencement of the Order. This is an exception which has been
engrafted on the Constitution in respect of fundamental rights relating to
personal liberty for the limited period of five years. The Act itself has a
limited life of five years. Thus the exception aforesaid is co-extensive with
the life of the Act itself. Hence, so long as the Act continues in force in its
present form, the provisions of articles 21 and 22 in 1111 so far as they are
inconsistent with the Act are out of the way of the respondent and the
petitioner cannot take advantage of those provisions. Therefore, there is no
question of the provisions of section 8 of the Act being unconstitutional by
reason of their being inconsistent with articles 21 and 22 of the Constitution;
and consequently article 13 is of no assistance to the petitioner.
We have assumed that article 32 of the
Constitution under which this application has been made to this Court is
available to the petitioner, though the Attorney-General who appeared to show
cause on behalf of the respondents,' went to the length of suggesting that even
the benefit of article 32 of the Constitution is not available to the
As he did not raise this point by way of a
preliminary objection and as we did not hear the petitioner's counsel on this
aspect of the case, because in our view clause (c) added to article 35 of the
Constitution by the President's Order was enough to deprive the petitioner of
the benefit of articles 21 and 22 at least, we have not thought it necessary to
examine and pronounce upon that extreme proposition.
Realizing the difficulty in the petitioner's
way in view of the provisions of clause (c) added as a afore-said to article 35
of the Constitution, the learned counsel for the petitioner faintly suggested
that clause (c) of article 35 added by the President's Order was itself bad
inasmuch as, so the argument further ran, that provision was in excess of the
powers conferred on the President by article 370 of the Constitution. No
attempt was made on behalf of the petitioner to show how the Order promulgated
by the President was in excess of his powers under article 370 of the
Constitution. It was not contended that that article did not authorise the
President to promulgate the Order.
What was suggested was that in promulgating
the Order which the President was authorized to make under article 370 he had
exceeded his powers. Beyond saying so, no tangible reason was adduced in
support of this extreme position. It is manifest that article 370(1)(c) and (d)
authorizes the President by Order 1112 to specify the exceptions and
modifications to the provisions of the Constitution (other than articles I and
370) subject to which the Constitution shall apply to the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Clause (c) as indicated above has been added to article 35 of the
Constitution only so far as the State of Jammu and Kashmir is concerned.
Section 8 of the Act is not in excess of or inconsistent with the provisions of
clause (c) so added to article 35 of the Constitution. That being so the orders
as served upon the petitioner are not inconsistent with or in excess of such
provisions of Part III of the Constitution as apply to the State of Jammu and
Kashmir. It must therefore be held that the petitioner was not entitled to know
the grounds upon which he had been detained beyond what is disclosed in the
order itself It was argued that the order of detention served on the petitioner
or the order sent to the officer in charge of the jail where he was detained,
did not bear the signature of the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. But no
provisions of any law have been brought to our notice which require that the
Prime Minister himself should have signed the copy of the order to be served on
the detenu or the copy of the order which was forwarded to the officer in
charge of the jail. Even the long petition submitted by the petitioner which is
not characterized by sobriety of language or strict accuracy does not contain
any the least suggestion to that effect; and no material in sup-port of it has
been shown to us. We cannot, therefore, take notice of such an irresponsible
and unfounded suggestion. It must therefore be held that all the grounds of law
urged or suggested in support of the petition are without any substance. We may
add that we did not call upon the Attorney-General who appeared on behalf of
the respondents to show cause with reference to the allegations of the order
impugned being malicious or wanting in bona fides because no foundation had
been laid in the petition on the facts stated in the affidavit which could lead
us even remotely to make such an inference, 1113 For the reasons aforesaid it
must be held that there is no merit in the application and the rule is
accordingly discharged, and the application is dismissed.