Single act which has propensity to affect the public order and tranquility will be sufficient for detention: High Court of Telangana

An order or detention is not a curative or reformative or punitive action, but a preventive action, the avowed object of which is to prevent the anti-social and subversive elements from imperiling the welfare of the people or the security of the nation or from disturbing the public tranquility or from indulging in white collar offenses. This was held in Banka Sneha Sheela v. State of Telangana[W.P.No.20146 of 2020] in the High Court for the State of Telangana by division bench consisting of Justice A.RAJASHEKER REDDY AND JUSTICE Dr. SHAMEEM AKTHER.

Facts are that the detainee is a Stock Market Trader with five criminal cases filed against him wherein charge-sheet is not filed and he had been granted bail. Habeas corpus petition has been filed by wife of detainee, challenging the detention order of Commissioner of Police under Section 3(2) Telangana P.D. Act.

The counsel for the petitioner contended that no incriminating material is present that the detainee had cheated the public. Detainee is alleged to be a ‘White Collar Offender’, thus can be tried and convicted under the Penal Code. There is no need to invoke the preventive detention laws which affect the fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The court in order to highlight the legal parameters for testing the validity of ‘preventive detention’ and ‘Public order’ which is distinct from ‘law and order’ made reference to the Supreme Court judgement in Commissioner of Police & Others Vs. C.Anita, wherein the following observations were made, “The crucial issue is whether the activities of the detenu were prejudicial to public order. While the expression “law and order” is wider in scope in as much as contravention of law always affects order, “public order” has a narrower ambit, and public order could be affected by only such contravention which affects the community or the public at large. Public order is the even tempo of life of the community taking the country as a whole or even a specified locality. The distinction between the areas of “law and order” and “public order” is one of the degree and extent of the reach of the act in question on society. It is the potentiality of the act to disturb the even tempo of life of the community which makes it prejudicial to the maintenance of the public order.”

Considering the precedent and the facts of the case court held that, the modus operandi of the detainee in the alleged offenses, to collect money form gullible public and fraud which was committed in quick succession would certainly disturb the public peace and tranquility. Personal liberty of an individual, can also be taken away by following the procedure established by law, when it is used to jeopardize the public good and not merely private interests. Thus dismissing the Writ petition.

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