Detention under Goonda Act quashed for not following guidelines

The HC also found that the authorities had failed to comply with the mandate of Section 10 of the Goonda Act.

Bengaluru: The High Court of Karnataka has quashed the detention order of a person under the Goonda Act after finding that the detention order did not follow the necessary rules.

Though the police authorities had followed the timeline in issuing the confirmation order to the detention order, they did not follow the timeline prescribed for placing the detention order before the Advisory Board.

“We find lacking in compliance of Section 10 of the Goonda Act, as the same (detention order) was not placed before the Advisory Board within three weeks of passing the detention order dated April 27, 2023. As can be seen from the records submitted by learned Government Pleader, as against the detention order dated April 27, 2023, the file was placed before the Advisory Board on June, 1, 2023 at 5 pm. which is evidently after the lapse of 35 calendar days,” the division bench of Justice K Somashekar and Justice Rajesh Rai K said in a recent judgement.

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The bench was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by one Mohammad Shafiulla, from Kolar, who sought the release of his son Roshan Jameer detained under the Goonda Act (Karnataka Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug-Offenders, Gamblers, Goondas, (Immoral Traffic Offenders, Slum-Grabbers And Video Or Audio Pirates) Act.

It was alleged that Jameer was involved in multiple criminal cases and an order of detention under the Goonda Act was passed on April 27, 2023. This was communicated to him and he was detained the same day and sent to Central Prison, Parappana Agrahara.

The detention order passed by the Deputy Commissioner, Kolar was confirmed by the Secretary, Home Department on May 6, 2023. The file pertaining to Jameer was forwarded to the Advisory Board on May 8, 2023.

After hearing both sides the Board upheld the detention order on June 2. The Secretary, Home Department extended the period of detention for one year on June 6.

The counsel for Shafiulla (Jameer’s father) argued before the HC that as per Section-8 of the Goonda Act, the authorities failed to furnish legible copies of the documents to the detenu. The documents supplied were in English and Kannada and Jameer had studied only till second standard in Urdu medium and was unable to read both Kannada and English.

Accepting this contention, the HC said, “As the student of an Arabic school and who has studied the first language as Arabic or Urdu, cannot possibly be considered as well-educated in the languages other than first language as he has studied only for three years in the said school. Hence, we are constrained to state that, the authorities have failed to comply with the mandates of Article 22(5) of the Constitution of India in its letter and spirit.”

The HC also found that the authorities had failed to comply with the mandate of Section 10 of the Goonda Act.

“On examination of case on hand, if viewed with the anomalies in the materials provided, it is glaring on the face of records that the Advisory Board did not have sufficient time to examine the records and hence, thereby the order of detention cannot be considered as one that is passed by the mandates of Goonda Act,” the HC said and quashed the orders passed by the police authorities detaining him.

It also directed the jail authorities to release him if he is not needed in any other case.

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