Credible evidence must for preventive detention: Punjab and Haryana High Court : The Tribune India

Join Whatsapp Channel

Credible evidence must for preventive detention: Punjab and Haryana High Court

Credible evidence must for preventive detention: Punjab and Haryana High Court


Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, July 9

In a critical ruling amid rising concerns over preventive detention practices, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that such orders must comply with stringent legal standards and safeguards. The court emphasised that the orders were required to be backed by credible evidence and public interest, rather than mere suspicion. The Bench added the proportionality of the detention, availability of alternate measures, and adherence to procedural timelines and safeguards were essential to validate such orders.

Says its use must be rare, justified

Laying down the parameters, the HC has asserted that preventive detention is an extraordinary power that anticipates potential crime, impacting individual rights and liberties. Its use must be rare and justified by exceptional circumstances

The court further clarified that a proximate and live link between a person’s past conduct and the necessity for detention was crucial. Orders based on stale causes or excessive delays were deemed invalid. The decision-making process was required to be objective, supported by cogent material, rather than subjective perceptions. Any preventive detention order failing to meet the stringent criteria violated the fundamental rights and was, therefore, invalid.

The 141-page ruling by Justice Vinod S. Bhardwaj comes at a time when preventive detention practices are increasingly being scrutinised by legal experts, human rights organisations, and the judiciary for potential misuse.

Justice Bhardwaj was hearing a bunch of nine petitions filed against the state of Haryana and other respondents. In one of the pleas, the petitioner was seeking the quashing of an order by the respondent-state for his preventive detention under the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. The detention order was based on the petitioner’s alleged involvement in six other cases registered under the NDPS Act.

Justice Bhardwaj asserted such order must be evaluated based on the existing legal framework and statutory requirements for directing preventive detention, supported by reasonable grounds justifying such action. The competent authority’s satisfaction was required to be grounded in credible evidence rather than mere suspicion.

A review of the provisions and precedents established that adherence was mandatory to the prescribed timelines and evolved safeguards. Preventive detention was not a form of punishment. Justice Bhardwaj observed: “Where the satisfaction of the authority is not based upon a live and proximate link between the past conduct of a person and the imperative need to detain, such detention is deemed as based on a stale cause and the orders of preventive detention held to be bad”.

Similarly, inordinate delay in issuing the preventive detention order from the date the proposal was initiated rendered the detention order invalid. The grounds for invoking preventive detention might vary across statutes. But the safeguards outlined in the Constitution supplemented those provided under specific laws.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.


Top News

Accused under UAPA can be granted bail if trial moves at snail’s pace: Supreme Court

Accused under UAPA can be granted bail if trial moves at snail’s pace: Supreme Court

Says continued imprisonment can’t be justified; orders relea...

Chaos at airports as Microsoft outage grounds over 280 flights

Chaos at airports as Microsoft outage grounds over 280 flights

Glitch impacts airlines, banks, hospitals globally


Cities

View All