NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has held that a person cannot be held in preventive detention (custody) without adequate evidence as otherwise it would be violative of his or her “personal liberty” guaranteed by the Constitution. In matters relating to preventive detention, authorities have to examine whether there was any organized act or activities giving room for an inference that the detainees would continue to indulge in similar prejudicial activity warranting detention of the person, the apex court said.
“In an appropriate case, if there is no adequate material for arriving at such a conclusion based on solitary incident the court is required and is bound to protect him in view of the personal liberty which is guaranteed under the Constitution of India,” a Bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and P Sathasivam observed.
Under law, a person can be held under “preventive detention” for a certain period if there are sufficient evidence to indicate that the accused has the propensity to indulge in criminal activities, if he/she is not detained by the authorities.
The Bench passed the observation while upholding an appeal filed by Pooja Batra challenging the preventive detention of her husband Deepak Batra by Customs authorities under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act (COFEPOSA).
29 March 2009, PTI