The Supreme Court has held that it would be unconstitutional to detain a person under preventive custody without providing him/her with the grounds for the said detention.
A Bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Asok Kumar Ganguly said it was mandatory for the authorities to supply the detainee the material relied upon for the said detention as otherwise it would be violative of the safeguards provided in Article 22(5)(6) of the Constitution.
The said provision mandates that any person who is to be detained under a preventive detention order has to be necessarily supplied with copies of all documents, statements and other material relied upon by the authorities for passing the detention order.
“He has right to be supplied copies of all documents, statements and other material relied upon in the grounds of detention without any delay. The predominant object of communicating the grounds of the detention is to enable the detenu at the earliest opportunity to make effective and meaningful representation against his detention,” the Bench said.
The apex court passed the observation while ordering release of one B Mohammed Haris who was detained by the Karnataka Government under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act (COFEPOSA) for allegedly indulging in smuggling of red sanders.
The order of detention was passed by the authorities without providing him with the requisite material and documents.