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SC Dismisses Man's Plea Challenging His Father's Detention under COFEPOSA During Emergency [Read Judgment]

Ashok Kini
10 April 2019 5:54 AM GMT
SC Dismisses Mans Plea Challenging His Fathers Detention under COFEPOSA During Emergency [Read Judgment]
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"The challenge to order of detention dated 19.12.1974 passed under the provisions of COFEPOSA in respect of Roshan Lal must fail."

The Supreme Court, on Monday, dismissed a man's plea challenging detention order passed against his father under COFEPOSA in the year 1974. Narender Kumar had approached the Apex Court assailing the Delhi High Court order which dismissed his writ petition challenging the detention order passed against his father Roshan Lal under Conservation of Foreign Exchange and...

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The Supreme Court, on Monday, dismissed a man's plea challenging detention order passed against his father under COFEPOSA in the year 1974.

Narender Kumar had approached the Apex Court assailing the Delhi High Court order which dismissed his writ petition challenging the detention order passed against his father Roshan Lal under Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974.

Roshan Lal was detained in December 1974 on the ground that he had purchased 75 smuggled gold biscuits and had paid Rs.3 lakhs to a Pakistani citizen. On the very next day after emergency was revoked, i.e. on 22nd March, 1977,  detention orders in respect of 49 detenues, including Roshan Lal, were revoked by the State Government.

Later, a notice under Section 6(1) of SAFEMA was issued by the Competent Authority to Roshan Lal and his wife calling upon them to show the source of his income, earnings or acts or by means of which he had acquired properties mentioned in the schedule to said notice and to show cause why said properties be not declared to be illegally acquired properties and forfeited to the Central Government under the provisions of SAFEMA. After considering the responses, the competent authority concluded that the property was illegally acquired and that it stood forfeited to the Central Government free from all encumbrances. The Appellate Tribunal upheld these orders.

Roshan Lal approached the Apex Court challenging these orders passed by the Competent Authority and the Appellate Tribunal. A nine judge bench considered his petition along with the lead case Attorney General for India and Others vs. Amratlal Prajivandas. Rejecting their challenge against the constitutional validity of COFEPOSA and SAFEMA, the Apex court disposed of the petitions.

In 1996, Roshan Lal's son, Narender Kumar approached the High Court which dismissed the writ petition on the ground that the detention of Roshan Lal had run right through the duration or continuance of the Emergency and that there was no revocation of detention before the expiry of the Emergency and as such provisions of Section 2(2)(b) of SAFEMA would get attracted.

Upholding the High Court order, the bench comprising Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice Hemant Gupta observed:

"In the present case, the representation dated 17.01.1975 was considered by the State on 11.02.1975 and the rejection was communicated to the detenu. Moreover, at no stage, any grievance was raised that the grounds of detention were not communicated to him in a language known to him. Similarly, the submission that the grounds of detention were identical, is also without any merit. Insofar as the order of detention under COFEPOSA was concerned, the grounds dealt with instances where the detenu had indulged in smuggling of goods, on the basis of which subjective satisfaction was arrived at as regards his propensity to deal in smuggled goods."

The bench then observed that the Competent Authority and the Appellate Tribunal constituted under the provisions of SAFEMA had, after issuance of due notice and granting every opportunity to the noticees, arrived at findings that the properties mentioned in the schedules to the notices were illegally acquired and that they stood forfeited to the Central Government free from all encumbrances.

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