The Supreme Court, in Lahu Shrirang Gatkal vs. State of Maharashtra, has held that a blanket order of detention, without specifying the period of detention, is illegal and unsustainable.
The court was considering an appeal by a person who was detained under Section 3(1) of the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Slumlords, Bootleggers, Drug Offenders, Dangerous Persons, Video Pirates, Sand Smugglers and Persons Engaged in Black Marketing of Essential Commodities Act, 1981.
The appeal was against the high court order dismissing his plea challenging the detention order.
The bench comprising Justice NV Ramana and Justice Prafulla C Pant noted that the detention order does not specify the period of detention and this ground was urged before the high court in the writ petition.
Referring to Cherukuri Mani vs Chief Secretary case, the bench observed that presumptive legislation needs to be given a strict interpretation.
The court further observed: “As noted above proviso to Sub-section (2) of Section 3 prescribes a thing to be done in a particular manner following a particular procedure. Therefore, the proviso to Sub-section (2) of Section 3 envisages a period to be specified in the order with a maximum cap of six months at the first instant. From the above analysis it is clear that respondent no. 3 could not have passed such a blanket order of detention without specifying the period of detention, as has been done in this case.”