The Manipur High Court has set aside a detention order issued by the special secretary (home), government of Manipur for detaining an accused for three months to prevent him from further involvement in trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
The accused, Wangkhem Sarkar Meitei, aged around 38 years, son of (late) W. Nageshwor Meitei of Wapokpi Chingol Leikai, Kakching district, was arrested on May 24, 2022, in connection with FIR No. 8(5)2022 SGN-PS under Section 21(c)/27A/29/60(3) of ND&PS Act by a police team of Sugnu-PS and from the car belonging to him, 22 (twenty-two) number of soap cases containing brown colour powder, suspected to be heroin, was recovered.
During his judicial custody term, he filed a default bail application as the investigator could not complete the investigation within the stipulated period of 180 days.
On December 5, 2022, the special judge of ND&PS allowed his default bail but during the pendency of bail before the court on December 2, 2022 passed by the Special Secretary (Home), government of Manipur, detention order under Section 3(1) of the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (PIT-ND&PS Act), 1988, was issued for detaining detenu for preventing him from further involvement in illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for a period of three months until further orders.
The accused submitted common representation on January 10, 2023 to the chief secretary, government of Manipur, and deputy secretary (PIT-ND&PS), government of India, through the Superintendent, Manipur Central Jail, Sajiwa, for revoking the detention order on the ground that the detention order was issued to frustrate the orders of granting bail; that there was no cogent reason for detention; no legible copy was submitted; and the detention order violates personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The state government rejected the representation on January 13 and also, the Central Government rejected the representation on March 7.
The HC stated that there is no explanation for the period from 18.01.2023 to 01.03.2023 during which the file was laying in the Ministry. Further, the time taken from 01.03.2022 to 07.03.2023 by the secretary (Revenue) in disposing is not properly explained. Hence, there is an unexplained delay of 48 effective days (out of 56 days) by the Central Government for time taken in disposal of the representation.
“In the preventive detention, a person has been taken into detention without any fair trial and strict interpretation of the statute is required as it affects the right and liberty of a person enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution”, said the HC.
The HC after considering the facts, set aside the order issued by the special secretary (Home), government of Manipur and the confirmation order dated 25.01.2023 issued by the commissioner (Home), government of Manipur.
Further, the HC directed to release Wangkhem Sarkar Meitei from detention forthwith, if not required in any other case.