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Workmen Vs. Kettlewell Bullen & Co. Ltd. [1994] INSC 101 (8 February 1994)



The Judgment of the Court was delivered by JAYACHANDRA REDDY, J.- This special leave petition is filed on behalf of the detenu Amin Mohammed Qureshi who was detained under Section 3(2) of the National Security Act with a view to prevent him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order. The detention order along with the grounds of detention was served on June 8, 1993 on which date he was also taken into custody. On July 12, 1993 the detenu made representations to the Central Government and the State Government and the same were rejected on August 17, 1993 and August 25, 1993 respectively. Challenging the detention, a writ petition was filed on July 12, 1993 and the same was dismissed by the High Court on September 15, 1993. Hence the present petition.

2. In the grounds of detention it is mentioned that the detenu is a weapon-wielding desperado committing crimes such as robbery, extortion, criminal intimidation etc. in the area of Kalina, Santacruz (East) and that he and his associates were said to be moving in the area armed with deadly weapons such as revolver, sword and knife. Several incidents which took place on February 2, 1993 and February 4, 1993 in which the detenu along with his associates entered the liquor shops and threatened the managers and demanded and tried to extract large sums of money, have been mentioned. It is also mentioned in the grounds that criminal cases were registered and the detenu and his associates threatened the witnesses and also tried to extract money from them. Several other incidents in which the detenu and his associates entered the residential houses and extracted money from the inmates by using force are also mentioned. Therefore the detaining authority being satisfied that the detenu was acting in a manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order, ordered the detention.

It is also mentioned in the detention order that the copies of the documents have been enclosed to the grounds of detention and that he had right to make representations to the Central Government and the State Government against the detention order.

3. Before the High Court it was contended that the incidents mentioned in the grounds, even if accepted to be true, would only affect the maintenance of law and order and that they are not of that magnitude to affect the public order.

The High Court rejected this contention. Before us, the same ground is urged. We are satisfied that a perusal of the incidents would show that the detenu is of a desperate character and has been indulging regularly in committing crimes of serious nature disrupting maintenance of public order. The only other ground urged is that the detaining authority has not specifically mentioned in the grounds that the detenu has also a right to make a representation to it also besides making such representations to the Central Government and the State Government and therefore the earliest reasonable opportunity of making a representation 357 as provided under Article 22(5) of the Constitution has been denied. This submission is made relying on some of the observations made by this Court in Amir Shad Khan v. L. Hminglianal. That was a case which arose under COFEPOSA Act where there is no specific provision regarding the approval of the detention order by the State Government within 12 days. This aspect we have dealt with elaborately in our recent judgment in Writ Petition (Crl.) No. 364 of 1993 etc. Veeramani v. State of T.N.2 decided on February 4, 1994 wherein we held that unlike the provisions of COFEPOSA Act, there is a provision in the National Security Act to the effect that the detention order will cease to remain in force for more than 12 days if in the meantime it is not approved by the State Government and therefore the authorities to whom the representation could be made would be the Central Government and the State Government, as the case may be, and not the detaining authority. Therefore the detaining authority is not under an obligation to tell the detenu that he can make a representation to it also. Thus we see no merits in this special leave petition. It is accordingly dismissed.


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