SC raps Telangana police over frequent use of PD Act

The court was hearing a petition filed by the wife of a man whom the Telangana police slapped with the Preventive Detention Act and detained.
Supreme Court (Photo | Express)
Supreme Court (Photo | Express)

NEW DELHI/ HYDERABAD: In a scathing critique, the Supreme Court on Monday admonished the Telangana police for the overzealous use of preventive detention laws, saying that some officers are infringing upon the liberty and freedom of citizens at a time the nation celebrates ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ commemorating 75 years of Independence. A bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and Dipankar Datta delivered these remarks while quashing a detention order issued against the husband of the appellant.

“While the Nation celebrates Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to commemorate 75 years of Independence from foreign rule, some police officers of the said State, who are enjoined with the duty to prevent crimes and are equally responsible for protecting the rights of citizens as well, seem to be oblivious of the Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Constitution and are curbing the liberty and freedom of the people. The sooner this trend is put to an end, the better,” the bench said.

The court was hearing a petition filed by the wife of a man whom the Telangana police slapped with the Preventive Detention Act and detained. The man had cases registered in Bahadurpura, Golconda and Humayangar police stations against him. 

After failing to get relief from the high court, his wife moved to the Supreme Court which found that the authority concerned had failed to differentiate between offences that lead to a ‘law and order’ situation and those that affect ‘public order.’

The bench pointed out that the Telangana Prevention of Dangerous Activities Act of 1986 is an extraordinary statute and should not have been invoked when ordinary criminal laws could have addressed the concerns leading to the detention order.

The bench highlighted that preventive detention, originally conceived as an extraordinary measure by the framers of India’s Constitution, has been used recklessly over the years as if it were available for routine use. The Court stressed the importance of diligently enforcing safeguards enshrined in the Constitution, particularly under Articles 14, 19, and 21, collectively forming the ‘golden triangle.’

Article 14 ensures equality before the law, Article 19 guarantees freedom of speech and expression, and Article 21 secures the right to life and personal liberty, all fundamental rights for Indian citizens.

The apex court also underlined that, when reviewing the legality of preventive detention orders, the courts must ensure that the order is based on the necessary satisfaction of the detaining authority.

(With PTI inputs)

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