Registration of a Solitary Offence under Prohibition Act is not a valid ground for detention under PASA: Gujarat High Court

By Anupam Singh Sengar

Gujarat high court has come up with a striking judgment in which they have declared that if any solitary offence has been registered against a person under the Gujarat Prohibition Act it does not imply that orders can be given for preventive detention and thus registration of such solitary offence does not have any bearing on the maintenance on the public order. Thus the collective bench of Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Biren Vaishnav who were hearing the trail of the case has quashed the detention orders which were passed previously. According to the court the preventive detention is not constructed as an ordinary criminal proceeding, where both procedure and remedy are provided, instead of that it has to be strictly followed as per the statutes and the settled laws and in the present case there was only a single FIR registered against the appellant and thus the court was of the suggestion that registration of a single FIR does not makes the person a bootlegger. In the background of this order, the appellant was detained during following an order emerging from registration of a complaint against him under the Gujarat Prohibition Act. The said order was also challenged before a single judge who refused to interfere and granted approval to the detention order. Advocate Mohddanish M. Barejia appeared from the appellant’s side arguing that there was no breech of law and the whole detention was just demanded for public order, in contrast the state was represented by assistant government pleader Shruti Pathak who opposed the prayers and strongly advocated that technical loopholes should not be used as advantage. The court of the finding that apparent to the situation the appellant cannot be called bootlegger when the offence is solitary and said that there are no compelling circumstances for the detaining authority to detain the appellant. Moreover the court by referring the case of Aartiben vs. Commissioner of Police held that there is a distinction between the public order and the law and order. When there are two persons fighting or one has suffered personal injury it cannot be termed as the disturbance to the public order. Thus by establishing all these facts the court declared that the detention order against the appellant must be quashed.

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