Acting Chief Justice MV Muralidaran and Justice A Guneshwar Sharma have directed the Manipur government to pay Rs 50,000 compensation to a detenu for illegal detention for 13 days.
In a February 28 order, the HC stated that in a case wherein a person was arrested for being in possession of opium and was detained for 13 days from December 2, 2022 to December 15, 2022 without any authority by the state authority while exercising the extraordinary power of preventive detention in a casual and callous manner, without taking scant respect for the statutory safeguard provided by the statute, for which the detenu have to be adequately compensated.
The petition was filed by the father, Satminlen Kipgen of Loibol village, Kangpokpi district, of the detenu, Kaikam Kipgen, who was arrested by a commando unit team for being in possession of plastic packets filled with blackish sticky substance suspected to be opium.
The detenu was detained on December 2, 2022 under section 3 (1) of the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988 for effectively preventing him from further involvement in illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for a period of three months until further orders. It was stated that the detenu was dealing in the illegal drug trafficking business to make easy money and on being released, he would continue to be engaged in illegal activities of drug trafficking. So, he was taken into preventive detention.
The detenu submitted two representations through the Superintendent of Manipur Central Jail, Sajiwa to the Special Secretary (Home), government of Manipur and to the State Advisory Board for revoking the detention.
However, on December 15, commissioner (Home), government of Manipur revoked the detention under Section 12(a) of PIT-NS & PS Act, 1988. Immediately thereafter, on December 16, 2022, commissioner (Home), government of Manipur issued second detention order against the detenu Satminlen Kipgen to prevent him from further involvement in illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for a period of three months until further orders on the ground that he was likely to be released on bail.
It may be noted that on December 1, 2022 the detenu was directed to be released on default bail as charge sheet could not be submitted within the statutory period of 180 days.
But the representations were kept pending and not disposed of, violating the provisions of article 22(5) of Indian Constitution.
The HC stated that the representations are not disposed of on time and the delay in the disposal of the representations and non-furnishing of the information on time vitiate the detention order. Moreover, the state and central authority have flouted the statutory safeguards given to a person taken into preventive detention. So, the detention order is set aside and directed to release him.
The High Court expressed deep anguish in the manner which the law of preventive detention has been resorted to by the state authority in a very mechanical and casual manner and this requires to be rectified immediately.