Sarfaraz Alam vs Union of India 2024 INSC 18 :: [2024] 1 S.C.R. 267- Article 22(5) Constitution – Detention

Constitution of India, 1950 ; Article 22(5) – Article 22(5) of the Constitution of India can broadly be divided into two parts – The first part involves the bounden duty of the authorities in serving the grounds of detention containing such grounds which weighed in the mind of the detaining authority in passing the detention order. In doing so, adequate care has to be taken in communicating the grounds of detention and serving the relevant documents in the language understandable to the detenue. The second part is with respect to his right of making the representation. For exercising such a right, a detenue has to necessarily have adequate knowledge of the very basis of detention order. There is a subtle difference between the background facts leading to detention order and the grounds of detention. While the background facts are not required in detail, the grounds of detention which determine the  detention order ought to be found in the grounds supplied to the detenue. In other words, the knowledge of the detenue is to the subjective satisfaction of a detaining authority discernible from the grounds supplied to him. It is only thereafter that a detenue could be in a better position to take a decision as to whether he should challenge the detention order in the manner known to law. This includes his decision to make a representation to various authorities including the detaining officer. Therefore, an effective knowledge qua a detenue is of utmost importance -. On the second aspect, a detenue has to be informed that he has a right to make a representation. Such a communication of his right can either be oral or in writing. This right assumes importance as a detenue in a given case may well be a literate, semi-literate or illiterate person. Therefore, it becomes a cardinal duty on the part of the authority that serves the grounds of detention to inform a detenue of his right to make a representation – While the aforesaid two rights and duties form two separate parts of Article 22(5) of the Constitution of India, they do overlap despite being mutually reinforcing. Though they travel on different channels, their waters merge at the destination. This is for the due compliance of Article 22(5). The entire objective is to extend knowledge to the detenue leading to a representation on his decision to question the detention order. Such a right  is an inalienable right under scheme of the Constitution of India, available to the detenue, corresponding to the duty of the serving authority –   To what extent a communication can be made both orally and in writing?  In a case where a detenue is not in a position to understand the language, a mere verbal explanation would not suffice. Similarly, where a detenue consciously declines to receive the grounds of detention, he has to be informed about his right to make a representation. In such a scenario, the question as to whether the grounds of detention contained a statement that a detenue has got a right to make a representation to named authorities or not, pales into insignificance. This is for the reason that a detenue despite refusing to receive the grounds of detention might still change his mind and receive them if duly informed of his right to challenge a detention order by way of a representation. -In a case where a detenue receives the ground of detention in the language known to him which contains a clear statement over his right to make a representation, there is no need for informing verbally once again. Such an exercise, however, would be required when the grounds of detention do not indicate so. – Referred to Lallubhai Jogibhai Patel v. Union of India, (1981) 2 SCC 427 ; State of Bombay v. Atma Ram Shridhar Vaidya, AIR 1951 SC 157 ; Harikisan v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1962 SC 911. (Para 13- 15)

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