Madras HC sets aside CEIB's detention order in gold smuggling case

Any unexplained delay in the disposal of representation would be a breach of the constitutional imperative and would render the continued detention impermissible and illegal, said the court.
Madurai Bench of Madras High Court
Madurai Bench of Madras High Court(File photo | Express)

MADURAI: Setting aside the detention order of the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB), the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court recently directed the release of a man, who was detained in a gold smuggling case, stating that a defective Tamil translation issued by authorities concerned had misled the petitioner from submitting a timely representation seeking cancellation of the detention order.

Sources said, J Mohamed Sathik Ali (33) was detained under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities (COFEPOSA) Act, 1974 by the Department of Revenue (COFEPOSA unit) of the CEIB in connection with the smuggling of gold of foreign origin from Sri Lanka, along with other accomplices, in Ramanathapuram.

While hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Ali's wife, a division bench comprising Justices AD Jagadish Chandira and K Rajasekar said a defective Tamil translation issued by the authorities had misled the petitioner and deprived him of the opportunity to make an effective and timely representation to the State Advisory Board to cancel the detention order. Any unexplained delay in the disposal of representation would be a breach of the constitutional imperative and would render the continued detention impermissible and illegal, said the court.

The petitioner was served with the detention on grounds of defective translation while mentioning the name and address of the advisory board, which resulted in the return of the representation sent to the board by the petitioner. Citing the non-forwarding of the representation sent on behalf of the petitioner to the advisory board and the delay on the part of the detaining authority in forwarding the representation, the court said the detenu was denied the least safeguards guaranteed by the Constitution, and stated the detention order was liable to be set aside.

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