Nenavath Bujji vs State Of Telangana 2024 INSC 239 – Preventive Detention – Advisory Board Role

Telangana Prevention of Dangerous Activities of BootLeggers, Dacoits, Drug-Offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders Land-Grabbers, Spurious Seed Offenders, Insecticide Offenders, Fertiliser Offenders, Food Adulteration Offenders, Fake Document Offenders, Scheduled Commodities Offenders, Forest Offenders, Gaming Offenders, Sexual Offenders, Explosive Substances Offenders, Arms Offenders, Cyber Crime Offenders and White Collar or Financial Offenders Act, 1986 Preventive Detention – (i) The Detaining Authority should take into consideration only relevant and vital material to arrive at the requisite subjective satisfaction, (ii) It is an unwritten law, constitutional and administrative, that wherever a decision-making function is entrusted to the subjective satisfaction of the statutory functionary, there is an implicit duty to apply his mind to the pertinent and proximate matters and eschew those which are irrelevant & remote, (iii) There can be no dispute about the settled proposition that the detention order requires subjective satisfaction of the detaining authority which, ordinarily, cannot be questioned by the court for insufficiency of material. Nonetheless, if the detaining authority does not consider relevant circumstances or considers wholly unnecessary, immaterial and irrelevant circumstances, then such subjective satisfaction would be vitiated, (iv) In quashing the order of detention, the Court does not sit in judgment over the correctness of the subjective satisfaction. The anxiety of the Court should be to ascertain as to whether the decision-making process for reaching the subjective satisfaction is based on objective facts or influenced by any caprice, malice or irrelevant considerations or non-application of mind, (v) While making a detention order, the authority should arrive at a proper satisfaction which should be reflected clearly, and in categorical terms, in the order of detention,(vi) The satisfaction cannot be inferred by mere statement in the order that “it was necessary to prevent the detenu from acting in a manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order”. Rather the detaining authority will have to justify the detention order from the material that existed before him and the process of considering the said material should be reflected in the order of detention while expressing its satisfaction, (vii) Inability on the part of the state’s police machinery to tackle the law and order situation should not be an excuse to invoke the jurisdiction of preventive detention, (viii) Justification for such an order should exist in the ground(s) furnished to the detenu to reinforce the order of detention. It cannot be explained by reason(s) / grounds(s) not furnished to the detenu. The decision of the authority must be the natural culmination of the application of mind to the relevant and material facts available on the record, and (ix) To arrive at a proper satisfaction warranting an order of preventive detention, the detaining authority must, first examine the material adduced against the prospective detenu to satisfy itself whether his conduct or antecedent(s) reflect that he has been acting in a manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order and, second, if the aforesaid satisfaction is arrived at, it must further consider whether it is likely that the said person would act in a manner prejudicial to the public order in near future unless he is prevented from doing so by passing an order of detention . For passing a detention order based on subjective satisfaction, the answer of the aforesaid aspects and points must be against the prospective detenu. The absence of application of mind to the pertinent and proximate material and vital matters would show lack of statutory satisfaction on the part of the detaining authority

Preventive Detention – Role of the Advisory Board- An Advisory Board is not a mere rubber-stamping authority for an order of preventive detention. Whenever any order of detention is placed before it for review, it must play an active role in ascertaining whether the detention is justified under the law or not. Where it finds that such order of detention is against the spirit of the Act or in contravention of the law as laid down by the courts, it can definitely opine that the order of detention is not sustainable and should not shy away from expressing the same in its report – the Advisory Board that must take into consideration all aspects not just the subjective satisfaction of the detaining authorities but whether such satisfaction justifies detention of the detenu. The Advisory Board must consider whether the detention is necessary not just in the eyes of the detaining authority but also in the eyes of law. (Para 49-63)

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