The Delhi High Court recently quashed an externment order against an accused, observing that such orders bring in societal and personal deprivation.
“Nonetheless, there can be no dispute that an externment order brings in societal and personal deprivation and is a great blow on the finances of the externee. An order of externment makes an inroad into the cherished and valuable right of a person to have his domicile at the place of his choice,” Justice Ashutosh Kumar observed.
Justice Ashutosh Kumar was hearing a Petition filed by Mr. Jugal Kishore who had challenged an externment order passed in May, 2015 by the Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, prohibiting him from entering into the NCT of Delhi for a period of two years, without written permission of competent authority.
This was because Mr. Kishore was named in over eight FIRs relating to house trespass, rioting, gambling besides various other serious offences, and therefore, it was felt that his presence would be hazardous to the community. It was also alleged that witnesses were not willing to come forward to give their evidence in public because of fear of retaliation by him. Hence, while he was permitted to attend the hearings at the Court in Delhi, he was directed to immediately leave the city after the hearings, and not visit any other place during this time.
While this order was later upheld by the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, it was set aside by the High Court, remitting it back to the Lieutenant Governor to decide Mr. Kishore’s plea de novo, after affording the parties a reasonable opportunity of being heard in accordance with law. The LG had, however, upheld the externment order again, compelling Mr. Kishore to file another appeal with the High Court.
Mr. Kishore had now contended before the Court that he was being falsely implicated in several proceedings as he had filed a case against the local police. He had further contended that the list of cases against him showed that he was not a habitual offender, and therefore, the orders were passed without application of mind.
At the outset, commenting on the nature of law of externment, the Court observed, “This Court is mindful of the fact that unless such stringent measures are taken against such law breakers, it would be difficult for police authorities to maintain an even tempo of the society. At the same time the rights and liberties of a person cannot be lightly interfered with and has to be guarded with utmost zeal.”
It was however of the view that “considering the strain that it puts on an externee”, the considerations for externing a person ought to be in consonance with the requirements of law and the satisfaction arrived at by the executive authorities must pass the test of reasonableness.
Thereafter, holding that the externment order passed against Mr. Kishore was bad in law, the Court observed, “From the perusal of the externment order as also the appellate order, this Court is of the opinion that there was no sufficient reason to believe that the petitioner was so desperate and dangerous that his presence in NCT or any part thereof would be hazardous to the community and its safety. Both the orders referred to above, suffer from vice of non application of mind.”
Read the Judgment here.