SC favours early hearing on detenu's plea
New Delhi, July 28 (IANS) The Supreme Court has said it was the constitutional right of a person held in preventive detention to make a representation questioning his detention and his plea should be considered by the authorities at the earliest.
"It is well settled that the right of a person, who is preventively detained, to make a representation and have it considered by the authority concerned as expeditiously as possible, is a constitutional right under Article 22(5)," said the apex court bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice J. Chelameswar in a recent judgment.
Justice Chelameswar said: "Any unreasonable and unexplainable delay in considering the representation is held to be fatal to the continued detention of the detenue."
The court said this while setting aside the detention order of Khalil Ahmed Rashid Ahmed Kapadia who was detained July 20, 2011 under of the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974.
The customs alleged that the consignment of goods covered by eight shipping bills, Oct 26, 2010 being exported by a private firm had made a wrong declaration with respect to the quality, quantity and valuation.
They alleged that the goods being exported under an export incentive scheme were over-valued.
Aggrieved by Khalil's detention, his father Rashid Kapadia made a representation Aug 6, 2011, challenging the detention order, which was rejected Sep 7, 2011. He then moved the Bombay High Court, which also rejected it.
Rashid Kapadia's plea in the apex court said that the detaining authority mechanically passed the order of detention without carefully scrutinising the material placed before it.
He said his son's detention was vitiated by the inordinate delay of a month that the authorities took in replying to the representation impugning the detention order.
The apex court said: "We have no option, but to come to the conclusion that the detention order cannot be sustained on the above mentioned ground alone and it is required to be, accordingly, set aside."
"We do not think it necessary to go into other contentions raised on behalf of the appellant. The appeal is, therefore, allowed."
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