Read Order: Shiv kumar Madeshwaran Devendra and ors v. The State of Maharashtra and ors 

Tulip Kanth

Mumbai, June 17, 2022: Placing reliance on the judgment of the Apex Court in Khudiram Das Vs. State of W.B., the Bombay High Court has reaffirmed that old and stale incidents in which the detenu has been granted bail, cannot be said to have any relevance for detaining a citizen and depriving him of his liberty without a trial. 

The Division Bench of Justice S.S.Shinde and Justice Milind N. Jadhav quashed a detention order issued under section 3(2) of the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Slumlords, Bootleggers, Drug Offenders and Dangerous Persons Act, 1981(M.P.D.A. Act) after taking note of the fact that the order had been passed after an abnormal delay of more than 3 months after the Petitioner-detenu was granted bail.

In this case, the Commissioner of Police had passed the order of detention under section 3(2) directing the Petitioner to be detained with a view to prevent him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order.This petition was filed for setting aside this detention order and the case of the petitioner was that for issuing the detention order the detaining authority had considered an incident which occurred on February 25, 2021. The Petitioner was taken in judicial custody and he filed a bail application which was granted to him on March 6, 2021 and he was released on bail. Hence, it was argued that the impugned order of detention had been passed after an abnormal delay of 4 months from the date of the Petitioner’s arrest and almost about 3 months from the date on which he was granted bail. It was also submitted that reasons for the same were not explained in the impugned order.

Clarifying that a person may be detained under the M.P.D.A. Act with a view to prevent him from engaging in, or making preparations for engaging, in any such activities mentioned therein, the Bench opined that the impugned order of detention relied upon 11 pending CRs against Petitioner out of which a few CRs were those that had already been considered and relied upon for issuing the previous detention order issued in 2019. Thus, according to the Bench, “The reliance by the detention authority was on stale and old incidents in which the Petitioner has been granted bail and they cannot be said to have any relevant for detaining the Petitioner.”

The statements of witnesses which were considered were of a fruit vendor and a pan stall vendor who had stated that the Petitioner had threatened them with a knife, abused them and attempted to extort money from them.The witnesses had stated that on the occurrence of the actual incidents several persons had come forward to help the witnesses and the Petitioner thereafter threatened them all with the weapon. On this aspect, the Bench held that if so many persons had gathered, there would have been atleast one aggrieved person who would have lodged a report and complaint with the police but the same never happened.

Thus, noticing these aspects along with the fact that there was a complete unexplained and inexcusable delay of more than 3 months from the date of grant of bail and delay of 4 months from the last date of incidents in the present case before the order of detention was passed, the Bench discerned that the order of detention could not be legally sustained.

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