Shamrao Vishnu Parulekar Vs. The
District Magistrate, Thana  INSC 46 (17 September 1956)
AIYYAR, T.L. VENKATARAMA DAS, SUDHI RANJAN
(CJ) SINHA, BHUVNESHWAR P.
MENON, P. GOVINDA
CITATION: 1957 AIR 23 1956 SCR 644
Preventive detention-Order of detention by
the District Magistrate-Report sent to the State Government-Approval by the
State-Grounds for the order sent later-Validity of detention-"Grounds on
which the order has been made", Interpretation of-Preventive Detention
Act, 1960 (IV of 1950), ss. 3(2)(3), 7.
Sub-section (3) of s. 3 of the Preventive
Detention Act, 1950, provides that when an order of detention is made under
subsection (2) by an officer mentioned therein, he shall forthwith report the
fact to the State Government together with the grounds on which the order has
been made ... 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 State Government.
Under s. 7(1) "when a person is detained
in pursuance of a detention order, the authority making the order shall ...
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 appropriate Government".
The petitioners were arrested on 27th January
1956 in pursuanoe of the orders of detention passed under s. 3(2) of the Preventive
Detention Act, 1950, by the District Magistrate who sent his report the next
day to the State Government which approved of the same on 3rd February 1956.
Meantime, the grounds on which the orders of detention were made were
formulated by the District Magistrate who furnished the same to the petitioners
on 31st January 1966 under s. 7 of the Act. A copy of these grounds was sent to
the State Government on 6th February 1956. The petitioners challenged the
validity of the detention and contended, inter alia, that as the expression
"grounds on which the order has been made" occurring in S. 3(3) is
word for word, the same as in s. 7 of the Act, it must have the same meaning
and as the copy of the grounds referred to in s. 7 had not been sent along with
the report under s. 3(3) to the State Government before it had approved of the
orders of detention there was a violation of the procedure prescribed by the
statute and consequently the detention became illegal. It was found that the
report sent by the District Magistrate set out not merely the fact of the
making of the order of detention but also the materials on which he had made
Held, that the failure on the part of the
District Magistrate to 645 send along with his report under s. 3(3) the very
grounds which he subsequently furnished the detenu under s. 7, is not a breach
of the requirements of that sub-section and that it was sufficiently complied
with when he reported the materials on which he made the order.
The scope and intendment of the expression
" the grounds on which the order has been made" in ss. 3(3) and 7 of
the Act are quite different and it is not essential that the grounds which are
furnished to the detenu must have been before the State Government before it
approves of the order.
ORIGINAL JURISDICTION: Petitions Nos. 100 and
101 of 1956.
Petitions under Article 32 of the
Constitution for writs in the nature of Habeas Corpus.
N. C. Chatterjee, Sadhan Chandra Gupta and
Janardhan Sharma, for the petitioners.
C. K. Daphtary, Solicitor-General for India,
Porus A. Mehta and R. H. Dhebar, for the respondents.
1956. September 17. The Judgment of the Court
was delivered by VENKATARAMA AYYAR J.-These are petitions under article 32 of
the Constitution for the issue of a writ in the nature of habeas corpus. On
26th January 1956 the District Magistrate, Than;, passed orders under section
3(2) of the Preventive Detention Act IV of 1950 (hereinafter referred to as the
Act) for the detention of the petitioners, and in execution of the orders, they
were arrested on 27th January 1956. The next day, the District Magistrate sent
his report to the State Government which on 3rd February 1956 approved of the
same. Meantime, on 30th January 1956 the District Magistrate formulated the
grounds on which the orders of detention were made, and the same were
communicated to the petitioners on 31st January 1956. A copy of these grounds
was sent to the State Government on 6th February 1956.
The petitioners challenge the validity of the
detention on two grounds. They contend firstly that the grounds for the order
of detention which were furnished to them under section 7 of the Act are vague,
646 and secondly that the requirements of section 3 (3) of the Act had not been
complied with, in that those grounds had been sent to the State Government by
the District Magistrate, not along with, his report on 28th January 1956, but
on 6th February 1956, after the State Government had approved of the order.
There is no substance whatsoever in the first
The communication sent to the petitioners
runs as follows:
"During the monsoon season in the year
1955, you held secret meeting of Adivasis in Umbergaon, Dhanu, Palghar and
Jawhar Talukas of Thana Distric't at which you incited and instigated them to
have recourse to intimidation, violence and arson in order to prevent the
labourers from outside villages hired by landlords from working for landlords.
As a direct result of your incitement and instigation, there were several cases
of intimidation, violence and arson in which the Adivasis from these Talukas
indulged. Some of these cases are described below............" Then
follows a detailed statement of the cases. It is argued for the petitioners
that no particulars were given as to when and where the secret meetings were
held in which they are alleged to have participated, and that the bald
statement that they took place during the monsoon season was too wide and vague
to be capable of being refuted. But then, the particulars Which follow give the
dates on which the several incidents took place, and it is obvious that the
meetings must have been held near about those dates. The communication further
states that it is not in the public interests to disclose further facts.
Reading the communication as a whole, we are of opinion that it is sufficiently
definite to apprise the petitioners of what they were charged with and to
enable them to give their explanation there for. That was the view taken by
Chagla, C. J. in the applications for habeas corpus, which the petitioners
moved in the High Court of Bombay under article 226 of the Constitution, and we
are in agreement with it.
The complaint that the grounds are vague must
As regards the second contention, it will be
usefu 647 to set out the relevant sections of the Act bearing on the question:
Section 3(1) "The Central Government or
the State 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 defence
of India, the relations of India with foreign powers, or the security of India,
or (ii)the security of the State or the maintenance-of public order, or
(iii)the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community; or
(b)if satisfied with respect to any person who is a foreigner within the meaning
of the Foreigners Act, 1946 (XXXI of 1946), that with a view to regulating his
continued presence in India or with a view to making arrangements for his
expulsion from India, it is necessary so to do, make an order directing that
such person be detained.
(2) Any of the following officers, namely,(a)
District Magistrates, (b) Additional District Magistrates specially empowered
in this behalf by the State Government, (c) the Commissioner of Police for
Bombay, Calcutta, Madras or Hyderabad, (d) Collector in the State of Hyderabad
may if satisfied as provided in sub-clauses (ii) and (iii) of clause (a) of subsection
(1) exercise powers conferred by the said subsection.
(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 State Government to which he is subordinate 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 made after the commencement of the
Preventive Detention (Second Amendment) Act, 1952, shall remain in force for
more than twelve days after the making thereof unless in the meantime it has
been approved by the State Government.
648 (4) Where any order is made or approved
by the State Government under this section, the State Government shall, as soon
as may be, report the fact to the Central Government together with the grounds
on which the order has been made and such -other particulars as in the opinion
of the State Government have bearing on the necessity for the order".
Section 7 (1) "Where a person is
detained in pursuance of a detention order, the authority making the order
shall, as soon as may be, but not later than five days from the date of
detention 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 appropriate Government.
(2) Nothing in sub-section (1) shall require
the authority to disclose facts which it considers to be against the public
interest to disclose".
On these sections, the argument of Mr.
Chatterjee for the petitioners is that section 3 (3) requires that when an
order of detention is made by one of the authorities mentioned in section
3(2)-in this case it was so made that authority should forthwith report the
fact to the State Government together with the grounds on which the order was
made; that this provision is clearly intended to safeguard the rights of the
detenu, as it is on a consideration of these grounds that the Government has to
decide whether it will approve of the order or not;, that when therefore the
grounds had not been made available to the State Government before they had
approved of the order, as happened in the present case, there was a clear
violation of the procedure prescribed by the statute, and that the detention
Now, it is clear from the affidavit filed on
behalf of the respondent that when the District Magistrate sent a report under
section 3(3) on 28th January 1956, he did send a report not merely of the fact
of the making of the order of detention, but also of the materials on which he
had made the order. The contention of the petitioner is that the grounds which
649 were formulated on 30th January 1956 and communicated to them on 31st
January 1956 should also have been sent along with the report. The question is
whether what the District Magistrate did was sufficient compliance with the
requirements of section 3 (3), and that will depend upon the interpretation to
be put upon the words "grounds on which the order has been made"
occurring in that section.
Construing these words in their natural and
ordinary sense they would include any information or material on which the
order was based. The Oxford Concise Dictionary gives the following meanings to
the word "ground": 'Base, foundation, motive, valid reason'. On this
definition, the materials on which the District Magistrate considered that an
order of detention should be made could properly be described as grounds there for.
But it is contended by Mr. Chatterjee that the expression "grounds on
which the order has been made" occurring in section 3(3) is, word for
word, the same as in section 7, that the same expression occurring in the same
statute must receive the same construction, that what section 3 requires is
that on the making of an order for detention, the authority is to formulate the
grounds for that order, and send the same to the State Government under section
3(3) and to the detenu under section 7, and that therefore it was not
sufficient merely to send to the State Government a report of the materials on
which the order was made. Reliance was placed on the following passage in
Maxwell's Inter predation of Statutes, 10th Edition, page 522:
"it is, at all events, reasonable to
presume that the same meaning is implied by the use of the same expression in
every part of an Act".
The rule of construction contended for by the
petitioners is well-settled, but that is only one element in deciding what the
true import of the enactment. is) to ascertain which it is necessary to have
regard to the purpose behind the particular provision and its setting in the
scheme of the statute. "The presumption", says Craies, "that the
same words are used in the same meaning is however very slight, and 650 it is
proper 'if sufficient reason can be assigned, to construe a word in one part of
an Act in a different sense from that which it bears in another part of an
(Statute Law, 5th Edition, page 159). And
Maxwell, on whose statement of the law the petitioners rely, observes further
"But the presumption is not of much
weight. The same word.
may be used in different senses in the same
statute, and even in the same section". (Interpretation of Statutes, page
Examining the two provisions in their
context, it will be seen that section 3(1) confers on the Central Government
and the State Government the power to pass an order of detention, when the
grounds mentioned in that sub-clause exist. When an order is made under this
provision, the right of the detenu under section 7 is to be informed of the
grounds of detention, as soon as may be, and that is to enable him to make a
representation against that order, which is a fundamental right guaranteed under
Coming next to section 3(2), it provides for
the power which is conferred on the State Government under section 3(1) being
exercised by certain authorities with reference to the matters specified
therein. This being a delegation of the power conferred on the State Government
under section 3(1), with a view to ensure that the delegate acts within his
authority and fairly and properly and that the State exercises due and
effective control and supervision over him, section 3(3) enacts a special
procedure to be observed when action is taken under section 3(2). The authority
making the order under section 3(2) is accordingly required to report the fact
of the order forthwith to the State along with the grounds there for, and if
the State does not approve of the order within twelve days, it is automatically
to lapse. These provisions are intended to regulate the course of business
between the State Government and, the authorities subordinate to it exercising
its power under statutory delegation and their scope is altogether different
from that of section 7 which deals with the right of the detenue as against the
State 651 Government and' its subordinate authorities. Section 3(3) requires
the authority to communicate the, grounds of its order to the State Government,
so that the latter might satisfy itself whether detention should be approved.
Section 7 requires the statement of grounds
to be sent to the detenu, so that he might, make a representation against the
order. The purpose of 'the two sections is so different that it cannot, be
presumed that the expression "the grounds on which the order has been
made" is used in section' 3(3) in the same sense 'Which it bears in
That the legislature could not have
contemplated that the grounds mentioned in section 3(3) should be, identical
with those referred to in section 7 could also be seen from the fact that
whereas under section 7(2) it is open to the authority not to disclose to the
detenu facts if it considers that it would be against public interests so to
do, it is these facts that will figure prominently in a report by the
subordinate authority to the State Government under section 3(3),and form the
basis for approval. If the grounds which are furnished under section 3(3) could
contain matters which need not be communicated to the detenu under section 7,
the expression "grounds on which the order has been made" cannot bear
the same meaning in both the sections.
There is also another reason in support of
When the authority mentioned in section 3(2)
decides, on a consideration of the materials placed before it, to act under
that section and orders detention, it is required by section 3(3) to, report
that fact with the grounds therefore to the State Government forthwith. But
under section 7, the duty of the authority is to communicate the grounds to the
detenu, as soon as may be. Now, it has been held that as the object of this
provision is to give the detenu an opportunity to make a representation against
the order, the grounds must be sufficiently definite and detailed to enable him
to do so. It is obvious that the communication that has to be served on the
detenu under section 7 of the Act is a formal document setting out the grounds
for the order and the 652 Particulars in support thereof, subject, of course,
to section 7(2); whereas the report to the State under section 3(3) is a less
formal document in the nature of a confidential inter-departmental
communication, which is to contain the particulars on which the order was made.
It could not have been intended that the contents of the two communications
which are so Dissimilar in their scope and intendment should be identical.
Mr. N. C. Chatterjee also cited certain
observations of Kania C.J. in State of Bombay v. Atma Ram Sridhar Vaidya(1) as
supporting his contention that the grounds which are furnished to the detenu
must have been before the State Government before it approves of the order.
Said the learned Chief Justice:
"It is obvious that the grounds for
making the order as mentioned above, are the grounds on which the detaining
authority was satisfied that it was necessary to make the order. These grounds
therefore must be in existence when the order is made".
But the grounds referred to in the above
passages are the reasons for making the order, not the formal expressions in
which they are. embodied, and that will be clear from the following observation
"By their very nature the grounds are
conclusions of facts and not a complete detailed recital of all the
Our conclusion is that the failure on the
part of the District Magistrate of Thana to send along with his report under
section 3(3), the very grounds which he subsequently communicated to the detenu
under section 7 is not a breach of the requirements of that sub-section, and
that it was sufficiently complied with when he reported the materials on which
he made the order.
The second contention of the petitioners also
fails, and these applications must therefore be dismissed.
(1)  S.C.R. 167, 178.