Externment order held void as showcause notice lacked material particulars

Bombay High Court: In a significant ruling, a bench comprising of Anuja Prabhudessai and Naresh H. Patil, JJ set aside an order issued by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, externing a tailor from Pune city for two years on the ground that it violated principles of natural justice. In the present case, the Deputy Commissioner of Police had externed the petitoner on the ground that he and other members of a gang were indulging in criminal activities. The externment order was preceded by two show cause notices asking the petitioner to reply as to why he should not be externed.  The petitioner moved the High Court after his appeal against the order was dismissed by the appellate authority. Hearing the  petition, the judges held that show cause notices issued  clearly showed that the externment authority had relied upon additional and extraneous material, which was not disclosed to the petitioner. The notice neither specified the area of criminal activities nor gave details of the criminal activities which had been detailed in the externment order. The bench also noted that apart from a criminal case, the said notice did not refer to any other crimes allegedly committed by the members of the gang. The judges further noted that the second notice did not indicate that the petitioner was a member of a gang and that he was involved in any such activity which warranted externment. The narration of two in-camera statements in the notice was also cryptic and lacking in material particulars. Quashing the externment order, the bench concluded that the petitioner had no opportunity to offer explanation in respect of the material relied upon by the Externment Authority. Therefore, the Court held that the action of the Externment Authority was in violation of the principles of natural justice and vitiated the externment order. Munaf Samshuddin Shaikh vs. Deputy Commissioner of Police, Criminal Writ Petition No. 4363 of 2013, Decided on May 2, 2014

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