If source containing information on the basis of which Detention Officer took decision not legible, then it needs to quashed

Madras High Court: The High Court recently addressed a Habeas Corpus petition filed under Art. 226 of the Constitution of India which, called for the records ordering the detention of the detenu and subsequently for quashing them.

The facts of the case involve a certain, Prabhu @ Kili Prabhu, who had been charged with several criminal offences under the I.P.C with several police stations. In the affidavit submitted by the Police to the Detaining Officer, there was a mention of a complaint being registered by one Sundarmani wherein he alleged that the detenu had snatched a sum of 1500 and the former’s wrist watch from him by intimidating him with a knife, following which the complainant registered a case against the detenu. After consideration of the affidavit, the Detaining Officer concluded that the accused is a habitual offender and passed the detention order in question. The wife of the accused had filed this petition to quash the detention order against him.

The respondent’s side argued that the documents presented to the Detaining Officer were complete and sufficient to reach to the decision of passing a detention order against the accused.

The petitioner’s side argued that even though the petitioner had given a voluntary confession, the booklet which contained his narrative was not legible and hence, that could greatly impact the rights of the detenu. Thus, this called for quashing the order. But this was refuted by the Public Prosecutor who argued that all relevant information on the booklet was legible and hence, there stood no reason to quash the order.

The Division Bench in this case held in favour of the petitioner and thus quashed the Detention Order by accepting the argument that the submission made to the Detention Officer by the Sponsoring Officer, i.e. the Police, by not being readable could greatly affect the decision of the Detention Officer. It would then be fair to quash the Order so as to not affect the rights of the detenu. [Vasanthi v. State of Tamil Nadu, 2017 SCC OnLine Mad 2925, decided on 25.07.2017]

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