Magistrates Vs. R. Kumaravel  INSC 314 (4 August 1993)
Singh (J) Kuldip Singh (J) Sawant, P.B.
1993 AIR 2633 1994 SCC Supl. (1) 59 JT 1993 (4) 431 1993 SCALE (3)322
Judgment of the Court was delivered by KULDIP SINGH, J.- Special leave granted
in both the petitions.
2. R. Ramanathan
and G. Jothisankar were detained under Tamil Nadu Prevention of Dangerous
Activities of Boot- leggers, Drug Offenders, Forest Offenders, Goondas, Immoral
Traffic Offenders and Slum Grabbers Act, 1982 (the Act).
orders of detention were passed in respect of both the detenus by the District
Magistrate, Thanjavur under the Act.
challenged the detention by way of habeas corpus petitions before the Tamil Nadu
High Court. By a common judgment dated February 5, 1992, the High Court allowed both the
petitions and quashed the detention orders. These appeals, by way of special
leave petitions, are by the State of Tamil Nadu against the judgment of the High Court.
the detenus were reported in the records of the District Magistrate as habitual
criminals having history- sheet of committing various crimes. The occurrence
which has been made the ground-case in the detention orders, is alleged to have
taken place on November
25, 1991 at 3.00 p.m. It is not necessary for us to go into details of the
said occurrence, suffice it to say that the detenus allegedly committed violent
crimes in a crowded locality against the police personnel and thereby acted in
a manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order. Both the detenus were
detained on the basis of the same ground case.
challenged the orders of detention before the High Court inter alia on the
following ground :
relevant and vital documents, namely, the telegrams sent on behalf of the detenus
to the police authorities, the Chief Minister, the High Court and other
authorities wherein it was complained that the detenus were taken in police
custody at 11.00 a.m. on November 25, 1991, were neither 61 placed before the
detaining authority nor the copies of the said telegrams were supplied to the detenus
in spite of the request in that respect made by them in their representations.
detention order was thus vitiated for non- consideration of vital documents and
non- application of mind."
According to the detenus the telegrams were sent to various authorities
including the District Magistrate, Thanjavur wherein it was complained that the
detenus were taken by the police to the Thanjavur West Police Station at 11.00 a.m. on November 25, 1991
and were being kept in police custody illegally. The ground of detention while
narrating the occurrence of the ground-case specifically stated that the said
occurrence took place at 3.00
p.m. on November 25, 1991 and the detenus were arrested by
the police thereafter. According to the High Court if the contents of the
telegrams to the effect that the detenus were taken in police custody at 11.00 a.m. are correct, then the detenus could not have
participated in any occurrence at 3.00 p.m. on the same day. The High Court, therefore, came to the conclusion that
the telegrams sent on behalf of the detenus were relevant and vital material
which should have been placed before the detaining authority. Since the grounds
of detention did not disclose that the District Magistrate had taken the
telegrams into consideration, the detention was vitiated. The High Court
allowed the writ petitions and quashed the detention on this short ground.
do not agree with the reasoning and the conclusions reached by the High Court.
detenus filed bail application before the Judicial Magistrate, Thanjavur on November 26, 1991. Para 1 of the bail application is as under:
two petitioners were taken into custody by the respondent at about 11.30 a.m. from the compound of the Sessions and District
Judges' Court, Thanjavur." It is thus obvious that the detenus had
specifically mentioned in the bail application that they were arrested by the
police at 11.30 a.m.
District Magistrate in his counter-affidavit filed before the High Court
deposed as under :
regards the averments in paragraph 4 of the affidavit, I submit that the detenu
was not arrested at 11.00 a.m. in the court premises as alleged. He and his
associate were arrested only after the incident that took place at 3.00 p.m. on
November 25, 1991.
telegram referred to had been booked only after the arrest has been made, i.e.
late in the evening. I have also perused the bail application filed on behalf
of the detenu which contains the averments that the detenu was arrested at
11.30 a.m. and I am also aware that it is a false statement of the detenu as he
was arrested only at 3.00 p.m. Telegrams were sent at 4.54 p.m. only. This
respondent has not referred to the telegrams and not relied on the telegrams in
order to arrive at the subjective satisfaction and hence they are not material
documents and the detenu cannot contend that he has been deprived of making
effective and meaningful representation. All the documents relied in the
grounds of detention have been furnished to the detenu.
the contention to the contrary is not sustainable in law and is denied."
Learned Advocate-General appearing for the State of Tamil Nadu has taken us through the grounds of
detention. It has been mentioned in para 3 of the grounds that the bail
application filed on behalf of the detenus was dismissed by 62 the Judicial
Magistrate, Thanjavur on November
26, 199 1. It is thus
obvious that the District Magistrate had applied his mind to the bail
application which contained the averment that the detenus were arrested by the
police at 11.30 a.m.
on November 25, 1991. The District Magistrate had before
him the case of the detenus that they were arrested by the police at 11.00/1 1.30 a.m. In this view of the matter, the
argument of the learned counsel for the detenus based on the telegrams looses
may examine the argument of the learned counsel for the detenus from another
angle. The detenus have based their case solely on the fact that the contents
of the telegrams sent on their behalf were not taken into consideration by the
detaining authority. There is nothing on the record to show that before the
detention orders were passed any other communication was sent to the detaining
authority or to the police, confirming the contents of the telegrams. A
telegram. by itself is not an authentic document. It is like an
a telegram is confirmed by a subsequent signed application, representation or
an affidavit, the contents of the telegrams have no authenticity at all and the
same cannot be taken into consideration for assessing the value of the other
authentic documents on the record. The detention orders were passed by the-District
Magistrate on the basis of the material placed before him by the police
authorities. Any material received by the District Magistrate in the shape of
telegrams could not be taken into consideration by him in the absence of any
subsequent communication confirming the same. We are, therefore, of the view
that the orders of detention could not be challenged on the ground that some
material contained in a telegram simpliciter was not taken into consideration
by the detaining authority.
The High Court was, therefore, not justified in quashing the detention orders
on the ground discussed above.
aside the reasoning and conclusions reached by the High Court on the above said
The detenus were released, as a result of the High Court judgment, in February
1992. We are of the view that it would not be in the interest of justice - due
to lapse of time - to detain the respondents for undergoing the remaining
period of detention under the impugned detention orders. We, therefore, direct
that the impugned detention orders shall not be further executed as a result of
our judgment. It would, however, be open for the detaining authority to
consider afresh, keeping in view the present circumstances and activities of
the respondents, the question of detention in accordance with law. We allow the
appeals in the above terms.