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Subjective satisfaction of the Detaining Authority on clear facts and circumstances is sufficient to

UNION OF INDIA THROUGH JOINT SECRETARY (COFEPOSA), MINISTRY OF FINANCE, NEW DELHI.VS. ANKIT ASHOK JALAN, CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1746 OF 2019 ARISING FROM S.L.P.(CRIMINAL) NO.7010 OF 2019. – 22 NOVEMBER 2019.

The bench encompassing Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M.R. Shah collectively pronounced the judgment on Detaining Authority and its subjective satisfaction.

There were several petitions filed upholding the rights of detenue on one hand and the duties of Detaining authority on the other hand. It initially began when the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Kolkata Zonal Unit, intercepted  Anand on 09.06.2019  while he was traveling on a bus from Siliguri to Kolkata, carrying 8 Kgs. of gold of foreign origin valued at Rs.2.71 crores approximately. He indicated that he had been engaged by the detenus to receive the 8 bars of smuggled gold from the Indo­Bhutan border at Jaigaon to be transported and delivered to Kolkata and Delhi. The detenus were apprehended by officers of DRI on 10.06.2019 at about 2:00 p.m and were produced before the Court of Judicial Magistrate on 12.06.2019. The learned Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Kolkata rejected the prayer of bail made on behalf of the detenus and remanded them to judicial custody till 18.06.2019. while they were in custody, the detention orders were rendered by the Detaining Authority on 01.07.2019.

Ankit Ashok Jalan filed a writ petition before the High Court challenging the aforesaid detention orders and contended that the subjective satisfaction of the authority was erroneous and incomplete, and therefore, violative of the detenus right to effective representation as mandated and guaranteed by the Constitution. The Detaining Authority argued by stating that they arrived at the subjective satisfaction that the detenus were likely to be released from judicial custody and that there was a likelihood of their continuing to indulge in the prejudicial activities. The High Court, however, quashed and set aside the detention orders mainly on the ground that there were a clear lapse and failure on the part of the Detaining Authority to examine and consider the germane and relevant question relating to the imminent possibility of the detenus being granted bail, while recording its subjective satisfaction and passing the detention orders.          

Aggrieved by the decision of the High Court, the Union of India through the Detaining Authority preferred the present appeal. Shri K.M. Nataraj learned Additional Solicitor General of India appeared on behalf of the Appellants. He relied on the following cases to justify the subjective satisfaction of the Authority: Union of India and another v. Dimple Happy Dhakad, Noor Salman Makani v. Union of India; Kamarunnisa v. Union of India; Merugu Satyanarayana v. State of A.P.; State of Gujarat v. Sunil Fulchand Shah; Vijay Kumar v. Union of India;  Abdul Sathar Ibrahim Manik v. Union of India; Veeramani v. State of T.N.; Baby Devassy Chully v. Union of India;  Raverdy Marc Germain Jules v. the State of Maharashtra; Prakash Chandra Mehta v. Commissioner and Secretary, Government of Kerala; and Madan Lal Anand v. Union of India. Shri Vikram Chaudhri, learned Senior Advocate appearing on behalf of the respondents relied on the following cases to disprove the appellant’s: V.C. Mohan v. Union of India; Deepak Bajaj v. the State of Maharashtra; Rushikesh Tanaji Bhoite v. the State of Maharashtra; Rameshwar Shaw v. District Magistrate; T.V. Sravanan v. State; and Rekha v. the State of T.N.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court deliberated on the arguments put forth by the parties and rendered the following judgment:

“The High Court has committed a grave error in quashing and setting aside the detention orders and interfering with the subjective satisfaction of the Detaining Authority. Consequently, the appeal preferred by the Detaining Authority, i.e., Civil Appeal arising from Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No. 7010 of 2019 is allowed, the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court quashing and setting aside the detention orders is hereby quashed and set aside and the detention orders of the respective detenus are hereby restored. The detenus, i.e., Ashok Kumar Jalan and Amit Jalan shall be taken into custody forthwith by the Detaining Authority. Accordingly, the special leave petition preferred by the respondent, i.e., Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No. 7013/2019 stands dismissed. Given our judgment rendered in Criminal Appeal arising from Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No. 7010/2019, we find no merits in the present writ petitions and they are accordingly dismissed.”

Jumanah Kader

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