Sasthi Keot Vs. The State of West
Bengal  INSC 25 (8 February 1974)
SARKARIA, RANJIT SINGH
CITATION: 1974 AIR 525 1974 SCR (3) 313 1974
SCC (4) 131
ACT: Maintenance of Internal Security Act,
1971 s. 3(3)--Vagueness of grounds--opportunity not afforded for making
Pursuant to an order of detention issued
under s. 3(1) read with s. 3(2) of the Maintenance of internal Security Act,
1971 the petitioner was detained. One: of the grounds of detention, which
weighed with the detaining authority, the Government and the Advisory Board was
that the petitioner was a "man of desperate habits and dangerous character
and also prone to committing theft of underground cables".
Allowing the petition tinder Art. 32 of the
Constitution, HELD : The order of detention is in violation of both Art.
22(5) of the Constitution and s. 3(3) of the
Act and therefore must be quashed. The grounds "desperate habits" and
"dangerous character" cannot be regarded as anything but vague
grounds. Apart from the vice of vagueness every desperate or dangerous man
cannot be run down under s. 3 of the Act. Moreover, the vital %-et injurious
dossier about the petitioner has not been communicated to him and, opportunity
afforded for making a proper representation.
CRIMINAL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION : Writ
Petition No. 1607 of 1973.
Under Art. 32 of the Constitution for issue
of a writ in the nature of habeas corpus.
Sadhu Singh, for the petitioner-- Dalip Singh
and G. S. Chatterjee, for the respondent.
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
KRISHNA IYER, J.-The petitioner has moved this Court under- art. 32 of the
Constitution for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus, he being under
detention by order of the District Magistrate, Burdwan, under sub-s.(1), read
with sub-s.(2) of S. 3 of MISA (Maintenance of Internal Security Act, 1971).
Various grounds, similar to those considered by us in Bhut Nath Mate v. State
of West Bengal(1), have been urged, and our conclusions thereon are similar to
those we have already expressed in the other writ petitions.
It is important to note that in the
atlidavit-in-opposition, filed on behalf of the respondent we find a statement
as under "I further state that it appears from the records that the
detenue petitioner is a man of desperate habits and dangerous character and
also prone to committing theft of underground telecommunication cable."
(1) Writ Petition No. 1456 of 1973; judgment delivered on February 8, 1974.
314 This has been relied upon by the State as
additional ground in 'Support of the detention, apart from the theft of cables,
recited in the detention order and repeated in the counter affidavit. Counsel
candidly ,admitted that this additional circumstance had been placed before the
State Government and the Advisory board, and certainly was before .the District
Magistrate when he passed the detention order. It is perfectly plain that the
authorities have been influenced by the report ,of the police that the
petitioner was "a man of desperate habits and dangerous character and also
prone to committing theft of underground cables." We do not regard
'desperate habits' and 'dangerous Character' .as anything but vague. Apart from
the vice of vagueness which perhaps may not matter so far as the satisfaction.
of the authorities is concerned, every desperate or dangerous man cannot be run
down under s. 3 of the MISA. Moreover, this vital yet injurious dossier about
the petitioner has not been communicated to him and opportunity afforded for
making a proper representation contra. Therefore there is violation both of
art. 22(5) of the Constitution and of s.3(3) of the Act. In this view we are
constrained to quash the detention order on the petitioner and direct his