Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu & Kashmir High Court: In this petition filed before Rashid Ali Dar, J., an order passed by District Magistrate, Baramulla was challenged whereby detenu was ordered to be taken into preventive custody under Section 8 of the J&K Public Safety Act.

Petitioner’s custody in the police for the offences referred in the grounds of detention was converted into the custody under the impugned detention order. Petitioner challenged the order of detention on the ground that detenu was already under custody where an FIR was registered for offences under Section 7 and 25 of the Arms Act, 2013 and thus could not have been detained under the provision aforementioned. Whereas, Asif Maqbool, learned counsel on behalf of respondents contended that order of detention was passed taking into consideration the relevant provisions of the Act and he was well informed of the grounds of his detention thus, no illegality occurred. The question before the Court was, whether an order of detention could have been passed when the detenu was already in the custody of the police.

High Court relied on the case of A.K. Gopalan v. State of Madras, (1950) 51 Cri LJ 1383 where it was held that: “Preventive detention is by its very nature repugnant to democratic ideals and an anathema to the rule of law”. Court mentioned that the mindset of respondents seems to be that if the detention order was passed the petitioner could not apply for bail and if he does he would be prevented by virtue of this order. The above thought of respondents was improper as the authorities in case of bail application could have contested the same thus; the impugned order cuts the very root of the State Act. Hence, this petition was allowed and the impugned order was quashed. [Akhter Rasool Lone v. State of J&K, 2019 SCC OnLine J&K 429, decided on 10-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu & Kashmir High Court: This Habeas Corpus petition was filed before the Bench of Ali Mohammad Magrey, J., for quashing of a detention order passed by District Magistrate by which detenu was detained.

Mir Shafaqat Hussain, learned counsel on behalf of petitioner submitted that detenu can make a representation to the Detaining Authority, is a valuable constitutional right guaranteed under Article 22(5) of the Constitution of India and is a right under section 13(1) of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978 but the same was denied. Mir Suhail, Addl. Advocate General stated that detenu’s activities were prejudicial to the security of the State as well as the public order. Detaining him would prevent him from indulging in such acts was approved by the Government and the State Advisory Board constituted under Section 14 of PS Act.

High Court found substance in the arguments of the petitioner. On the point where detenu was not communicated the ground of detention it was found that grounds of detention were in English language and it was not suggested from the file before the Court if the grounds were explained to the detenu in a language understood by him. Thereby, depriving detenu of the right to make representation against the same. Detenu’s constitutional right was infringed as the Detaining Authority failed to mention in the detention order about petitioner’s right to make representation which renders the impugned order invalid. Therefore, impugned detention order was quashed and direction to release the detenu was passed. [Ajaz Ahmad Sofi v. State of J&K, 2019 SCC OnLine J&K 408, Order dated 03-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: A Division Bench comprising of C.T. Selvam and S. Ramathilagam, JJ. ordered parole of two weeks to a life-convict in light of exercising his conjugal rights.

In the present case, the petitioner is the wife of the life convict, who sought leave for her husband for the purpose of the exercise of conjugal rights. Petitioner’s husband is an undertrial prisoner and is a convict under two cases, on the file of Principal District and Sessions Court, Pudukottai, jail authorities are said to be precluded from granting leave to detenu under Section 35 of Tamil Nadu Suspension of Sentence Rules, 1982.

While placing reliance on the decision of Madras High Court, Madurai Bench in Meharaj v. State, 2018 1 HCC (Mad) 150 in which it was stated that:

“Conjugal visit leads to strong family bonds and keep the family functional rather than the family becoming dysfunctional due to prolonged isolation and lack of sexual contact.”;

the High Court considered the above-stated decision to be appropriate and concluded to grant leave to the petitioner’s husband for the purpose of conjugal visit for a period of two weeks subject to certain conditions. [P. Muthumari v. Home Secretary,2018 SCC OnLine Mad 3304, dated 26-11-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu & Kashmir High Court: A Single Judge Bench of H.K. Hanjura, J., allowed a Writ Petition filed against the order of detention passed by the respondent authorities.

The petitioner was already in custody in connection with a criminal case and this formed the basis for passing of a detention order against the petitioner.

The Court, in this case, observed that the custody of petitioner in the concerned criminal case had been converted into detention as per the impugned order. Such an order was passed on an assumption that if the detenue applies for bail then he might succeed but if it was the case then the detaining authority could have resisted the bail application itself instead of taking the extreme step of passing a detention order. The respondent authorities could have taken recourse to the ordinary law of the land.

The Court held that life and liberty of citizens of the State are of paramount importance and a citizen cannot be deprived of personal liberty, guaranteed to him/her by the Constitution, except in due course of law and for the purposes sanctioned by law. The Court allowed the petition and quashed the order of detention passed by the respondent authorities. [Mohammad Younis Sofi v. State of J&K, 2018 SCC OnLine J&K 669, Order dated 24-09-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Bench of CJ Dipak Misra and A.M. Khanwilkar and Dr D.Y. Chandrachud, JJ. allowed an appeal filed against the decision of Bombay High Court whereby it had allowed a writ of habeas corpus directing the appellants to produce detenu under lawful custody.

One Mukesh Pandian, a private detective, was arrested by the police on information that he was obtaining and selling call record details of different people. In the course of investigation, Rizwan Alam Siddique (detenu) was also arrested on suspicion of obtaining call records of the wife of bollywood actor Nawazuddin Siddique. The said Rizwan was not cooperating in the investigation and in fact was found destroying evidence, pursuant to which he was arrested and produced before jurisdictional Magistrate who sent him to police custody. The respondent, wife of the detenu, rushed to the High Court and filed a habeas corpus writ  petition for production of her husband before the Court and setting him at liberty. The High Court, vide the order impugned, allowed the petition and set the detenu at liberty. The High Court also made scathing observations against the police officials concerned. Against the said order, the appellants filed the instant appeal.

The Supreme Court perused the record and considered submissions made by the parties. The Court relied on its earlier decisions in Saurabh Kumar v. Jailor, (2014) 13 SCC 436 and Manubhai Ratilal Patel v. State of Gujarat, (2013) 1 SCC 314 and observed that the question — ‘whether a writ of habeas corpus can be maintained in respect of a person who is in police custody pursuant to a remand order passed by the jurisdictional Magistrate in connection with the offence under investigation?’ — was no more res integra. In Court’s opinion, no writ of habeas corpus could have been issued in such circumstances. When the writ was allowed, the detenu was under lawful custody pursuant to the orders of the Magistrate. The petition was filed without challenging the order of the Magistrate. It was not a case of continued illegal detention. Furthermore, since the petition was not maintainable in the first place, the High Court should have been loath in entering into the merits of arrest and recording scathing observations against the police officials. Therefore, the order impugned was set aside. The detenu had already been released after the order, so the Investigating Officer was directed to proceed strictly in accordance with law. The appeal was disposed of in the terms above. [State of Maharashtra v. Tasneem Rizwan Siddique,2018 SCC OnLine SC 1348, dated 05-09-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: The Division Bench comprising of V. Chitambaresh & K.P. Jyothindranath, JJ., held that the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India takes within its sweep, the right of a person to live as a transgender as was also previously held by Hon’ble Apex Court in National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India (2014) 5 SCC 438.

The mother (petitioner) of the person (detenu) had in this habeas Corpus petition alleged that her son was not a Transgender mentally or psychologically and a group of transgender persons has illegally detained him. She had claimed that he had “mental aberration of mood disorder” and lamented his sight in the robes of a woman and his being rechristened as ‘Arundhathi’ by the group.

In the medical examination ordered by the Court, it was revealed that the person suffered from no mental disorder. The Transgender person, who later referred himself as a female also appeared before the Court and told the Court that she was living as per her wishes and had identified herself as a woman from the age of 11. Based on the medical report, the Court noted that though the alleged detenu has normal male genitalia, she fits the label ‘transgender’ on external examination as per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5th Edition (2013).

The Court quoted from William Shakespeare’s play Othello the oft quoted words of Iago the villain in the Shakespeare’s play: ‘I am not what I am.’ Lastly, Court held that the detenu has undoubtedly the right to wander about or associate with likeminded people and cannot be compelled to be at his parental home. The Court, therefore, proceeded to dismiss the petition. [Tessy James v. Director General of Police, 2018 SCC OnLine Ker 2140, order dated 12-06-2018]