Preventive Detention can’t be sustained on Stale or Illusory grounds which has No Real Nexus with Past Smuggling: Delhi High Court [Read Order]

Smuggling- Delhi High Court - Taxscan

The Delhi High Court held that the preventive detention cannot be sustained on stale or illusory grounds which has no real nexus with the past Smuggling.

The petitioner, Naveen Kasera Alias Naveen Agarwal raised the issue  whether there was a live-link or a causal connection between the prejudicial activity, in which the petitioner is alleged to have indulged, and the passing of the detention order; and whether the grounds on which the detention order is premised are “stale” or “illusory” or have “no real nexus” with the need for placing the petitioner under preventive detention.

It is noticed that between 11.12.2018 and 15.01.2021, a close reading of the several dates mentioned in the time-chart shows, that these dates relate to recording of statements, conducting search of premises, preparation of reports, examination of allegedly mis-declared consignments (without disclosing the dates of such consignments), issuance of summonses, filing of complaints under section 174 IPC, remand and transit proceedings and other similar matters; but there is not a single reference to any other or further business or transaction that the petitioner may have indulged in between 11.12.2018 and 15.01.2021 that may be termed as “prejudicial activity”.

The division bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Anup Jai Ram Bhambani noted that the last act which the petitioner undertook, and which may amount to prejudicial activity, was on 11.12.2018, but the detention order was passed more than 02 years later on 15.01.2021, it is evident that the live-link or causal connection between the petitioner‟s preventive detention, meant to forestall the petitioner from indulging in any prejudicial activity, can surely be said to have snapped.

The court held that the detention order passed on 15.01.2021 and served upon the petitioner on 23.01.2021 cannot be said to be validly based upon alleged prejudicial activity undertaken by the petitioner on 11.12.2018. A gap of more than 02 years between the last alleged prejudicial activity undertaken by the petitioner cannot be the basis for a justifiable apprehension that the petitioner would indulge again in similar prejudicial activity, to prevent which he should be preventively detained.

“Preventive detention being drastic State action based only upon suspicion arising from a person‟s past activity, can be allowed, as the settled legal position mandates, only if there is a live, causal link between a person’s past activities and the need for passing of a preventive detention order. A preventive detention order is unsustainable on stale or illusory grounds, which have no real nexuswith the past prejudicial activity. Delay in the passing and execution of a preventive detention order not only defeats the very purpose of such order, but more importantly, creates a doubt as to the necessity of adopting such a harsh measure against an individual, whereby the individual‟s liberty is curtailed on suspicion alone,” the court said.

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