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Externment Orders Curtail Life & Liberty, Must Be Passed With Due Care & Caution: Rajasthan High Court

15 Aug 2022 9:15 AM GMT
Externment Orders Curtail Life & Liberty, Must Be Passed With Due Care & Caution: Rajasthan High Court

The Rajasthan High Court observed that since externment order curtails the life and liberty of a person, the same is required to be passed with due care and caution.

Essentially, the present writ petition was filed against the order passed by the Additional District Magistrate (city), Bikaner and the appellate order passed by the Divisional Commissioner, Bikaner, whereby the petitioner was declared as a "Goonda" and an order of externment was passed against him.

The authorities had considered the two criminal cases registered against the petitioner and it was concluded that the petitioner is involved in notorious activities and externment of the petitioner is necessary.

The court opined that under Section 3 of the Rajasthan Control of Goondas Act 1975, sufficient evidence is required to be produced before the authority concerned for arriving at a decision, if there are reasonable grounds for believing that a person is engaged or about to engage in the commission or abetment of any offence and that the witnesses are not willing to come forward to give evidence against the petitioner by reason of apprehension on their part.

The court added that the same is missing in the present case and thus, the order of Additional Collector dated cannot be said to be in consonance with the law.

Justice Vinit Kumar Mathur, while allowing the petition and setting aside the impugned order, observed,

"A bare perusal of the order dated 14.03.2018/2019 shows that the authority concerned has stated that two cases under the RPGO were registered against the petitioner and there is no fear of law and order in the petitioner's mind and the people of the area are also afraid of giving their statement against the petitioner. This Court feels that for arriving at such a conclusion the authority concerned was required to have sufficient material and evidence for the same. Since there is no material to arrive at such conclusion, this Court also feels that the learned Additional Collector proceeded in the matter without any foundation and sufficient material."

However, the court noted that if the authorities concerned are having ample material to proceed against the petitioner, they will be free to proceed against him strictly in compliance with the provisions of the Act of 1975.

Placing reliance on the coordinate bench's decision in Ajit Singh Vs. State of Rajasthan and Ors. [S.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 16010/2012], the court observed,

"Since the order of externment is an order which curtails the life and liberty of a person, the same is required to be passed with due care and caution and after having the evidence collected and placed before the authorities concerned for arriving at a decision for declaring the person a Goonda and passing the order of externment, which is missing in the present case."

The counsel for the petitioner submitted that merely because two cases were registered against the petitioner under the RPGO Act and on the basis of the statement of the Police Officer, the order impugned has been passed. He further submitted that no reasons have been mentioned in the order for fulfilling the requirement of Section 3 of the Act of 1975. He added that even the amended order was passed without giving any opportunity of hearing to the petitioner.

He submitted that the order curtails liberty of the petitioner directly contravenes Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Thus, proper care should have been taken by the authorities below while passing such orders, he added. It was also added that since stern action was taken, the authorities are under an obligation to have a strict proof of the adverse effect which the petitioner may cause in the area.

The respondents' counsel submitted that the petitioner is an habitual offender and is a threat to the society at large. He submitted that not only two cases rather there are 14 cases have been registered against the petitioner showing his character and by virtue of these cases having been registered against him, the petitioner can easily be termed as a habitual offender. The authorities, therefore, have rightly taken into consideration the material placed before them while arriving at a decision of declaring the petitioner as "Goonda" and passing an order of externment from the District Bikaner, he added.

Adv. Pravin Vyas appeared for the petitioner while AGC Anil Kumar Bissa appeared for the respondents.

Case Title: Bhanwarlal v. State Of Rajasthan & Ors.

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Raj) 216

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