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Valarmathi v. The District Magistrate & - H.C.P. No.335 of 2005  RD-TN 475 (18 July 2005)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS
The Hon'ble Mr. Justice P.SATHASIVAM
The Hon'ble Mr. Justice AR.RAMALINGAM
H.C.P. No.335 of 2005
Valarmathi ... Petitioner -Vs-
1. The District Magistrate &
2. The Secretary to Government,
Prohibition & Excise Department,
Fort St. George,
Chennai 600 009. ... Respondents Petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for the issuance of a writ of Habeas Corpus to call for the records pertaining to the order of the 1st respondent dated 31.01.2005 in Ref.C2/4947/2005 detaining the detenu Rajendran, son of Pichaipillai, as a Bootlegger under Tamil Nadu Act 14/1982 and set aside the same and direct the respondents to produce the said detenu now detained in the Central Prison, Cuddalore, before this Hon'ble Court and set him at liberty.
For Petitioner : Mrs.Mythili Srinivas
For Respondents : Mr.Abudukumar Rajarathinam Govt. Advocate (Crl. Side)
:O R D E R
(Order of the Court was made by P.SATHASIVAM, J.) The petitioner is the wife of the detenu. She challenges the detention order dated 31.01.2005, detaining her husband as 'Bootlegger', as contemplated under the Tamil Nadu Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug Offenders, Forest Offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders, Slum Grabbers and Video Pirates Act, 1982 (Tamil Nadu Act 14 of 1982).
2. Even at the outset, learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that there is undue delay in considering the representation of the detenu dated 11.03.2005. The particulars furnished by the learned Government Advocate show that the same was received by the Government on 16.3.2005. Though the said intimation was received by the Collectorate on 17.3.2005, remarks were received by the Collectorate from the Sponsoring Authority only on 30.3.2005. Thereafter, the same were sent to the Government and received by the Government on 01.04.2005. Again, the File was submitted for orders on 07.04.2005. The File was dealt with by the Deputy Secretary on 07.04.2005 and the Minister for Prohibition and Excise passed orders on 08.04.2005. However, the rejection letter was prepared only on 18.04.2005. Ultimately, the rejection letter was sent to the detenu on 20.04.2005 and served to the detenu on 23.04.2005. The particulars furnished by the learned Government Advocate show that there was inordinate delay on three occasions, namely, initially at the hands of Collectorate/Sponsoring Authority, secondly at the hands of the officials in submitting the file before the concerned authority, that is, between 01.04.2005 and 07.04.2005 and thirdly, while preparing the rejection letter. Though the Minister for Prohibition and Excise, who is the concerned authority, has passed orders on 08.04.2005, it is is not clear as to why the Officers concerned had taken time till 18.04.2005 in preparation of the order issued by the competent authority. In the absence of explanation by the persons concerned, we hold that the delay on the above said occasions is on the higher side, which vitiates the ultimate order of detention.
3. Accordingly, the Habeas Corpus Petition is allowed and the impugned order of detention dated 31.01.2005 is set aside. The detenu is directed to be set at liberty forthwith from the custody unless he is required in some other case or cause.
1. District Collector, Villupuram.
2. Secretary to Government, Prohibition and Excise Department, Fort St. George, Chennai 600 009.
3. The Superintendent, Central Prison, Cuddalore. (In duplicate for communication to detenu) 4. The Joint Secretary to Government, Public (Law and Order) Fort St. George, Chennai-9.
5. The Public Prosecutor, High Court, Madras.
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