Preventive Detention Order Can Be Struck Down After A 14-Day Excessive & Unexplained Delay In Examining The Detainee’s Representation: Madras High Court

The Madras High Court has recently set aside a preventive detention order after observing that there was an inordinate and unexplained delay of 14 days in considering the representation made on behalf of the detenu. The matter was between Lilly Pushpam v The Additional Chief Secretary and others (H.C.P.No.1223 of 2022) and was presided over by Hon’ble Mr. Justice P.N. Prakash and Hon’ble Mr. Justice RMT. Teekaa Raman.


the daughter of a detenue who was held under the 1982 Tamil Nadu Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug-offenders, Forest Offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders, Sand Offenders, Sexual Offenders, Slum-Grabbers, and Video Pirates Act filed a habeas corpus petition (Tamil Nadu Act 14 of 1982). 

The petitioner contended that there was a delay of 14 days in considering his representation by the Minister for Home, Prohibition and Excise Department after the Deputy Secretary dealt with it. Thus, it was argued that there was a gross violation of procedural safeguards which would vitiate the detention.


The court cited the Supreme Court’s rulings in the cases Rekha v. State of Tamil Nadu, Tara Chand v. State of Rajasthan and others, as well as the Madras High Court’s ruling in the case Sumaiya v. The Secretary to Government, where the court repeatedly ruled that an unexplained delay rendered the detention itself illegal and was sufficient grounds for vacating the detention order. The court ordered the respondents to immediately release the detenue in light of this. 

The court further stated that 

“In the subject case, admittedly, there is an inordinate and unexplained delay of 14 days in considering the representation by the Hon’ble Minister for Home, Prohibition and Excise Department. The impugned detention order is, therefore, liable to be quashed.”​​ Thus, the petition was allowed.

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