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Preventive detention is devised to afford protection to society: Madhya Pradesh High Court

Preventive detention is designed to keep society secure, even if they involve some restraint and hardship upon some individuals, do not partake in any way of the nature of punishment, but are taken by way of precaution to prevent mischief to the State. The judgment was passed by The High of Court Madhya Pradesh in the case of Kalla alias Surendra Jat Versus State of Madhya Pradesh and others [WRIT PETITION NO.4499/2021] by Division bench consisting of Justice Sheel Nagu & Justice Anand Pathak.

The facts of the case are that from the last almost 20 years petitioner faced different criminal cases/charge-sheeted for alleged commission of different offences, particulars of which are placed with the petition and on the basis of those cases as well as apprehension of the authorities that petitioner may commit breach of public order, with the following authorities invoked National Security Act, 1980 and has been directed to be detained for 3 months at Central Jail.

The Learned Counsel for the Petitioner submitted that order of detention is being passed on the basis of old and stale cases in which petitioner has already been acquitted way back and these stale cases are not at all sufficient to invoke the provisions of the Act. He referred different orders passed in this regard by the trial Courts in which after full-fledged trials, he has been acquitted, albeit in some cases on the basis of settlement and in some cases on the basis of witnesses being turned hostile. Even in some cases, after investigation, police did not find the case for prosecution.

The Learned Counsel for the Respondents submitted that petitioner not only has long chequered history of 20 cases spread over twenty long years, out of which most of the cases carried allegations of grievous offences. He further contended that from the overall circumstances disclosed in the impugned order, it would manifest that a reasonable opinion was formed that the petitioner was a desperate character and a hardened criminal of the area and was indulging in activities, prejudicial to the maintenance of the public order.

While relying on the Apex Court judgment Ashok Kumar vs. Delhi Administration and others, “it was held that preventive detention is devised to afford protection to society. It was observed that preventive measures, even if they involve some restraint and hardship upon some individuals, do not partake in any way of the nature of punishment, but are taken by way of precaution to prevent mischief to the State.” Further in the case of Debu Mahto Vs. State of West Bengal, “it was held that the order of detention is essentially a precautionary measure and it is based on a reasonable prognosis of the future behaviour of a person based on his past conduct judged in the light of the surrounding circumstances.”

While dismissing the petition “the court opined witness and police report indicates that petitioner is a habitual offender and he is in habit of forcible encroachment of lands of private owners also and they are afraid to come forward to ventilate their grievances and all these attributes, render the petitioner a threat to public peace and order and appears to be against the interest of society/community at large.”

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