Govt acted in mechanical manner: HC Indore bench sets aside three detention orders passed under NSA

The Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court in two separate orders observed that the state government acted in a “mechanical manner” or without application of mind.

Setting aside three detention orders passed under the National Security Act (NSA) by the Indore district magistrate, the Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court in two separate orders observed that the state government acted in a “mechanical manner” or without application of mind.

Both the orders were passed on Thursday.

In the first case in which brothers Shubham Parmar and Bhupendra were detained for alleged blackmarketing and sale of fake remdesivir vials, a two-member bench of Justices Sujoy Paul and Shailendra Shukla criticised the DM for “mechanically copy-pasting reasons from FIR of some other person”.

Their advocate Rishi Tiwari said that while the SP’s letter, which formed the basis for the order, only spoke about black marketing, the DM “copy pasted the observation” listed in the case of the main accused Nilesh Chouhan — recovery of vial containing distilled water.

In the second case, the same bench, while hearing a petition filed by Yatindra Verma, Congress Indore district general secretary, who was arrested for cheating and subsequently detained under NSA, observed that the impugned order cannot sustain judicial scrutiny. Verma was arrested on May 7 for allegedly selling an oximeter at a higher price.

While hearing Verma’s petition, the bench recorded that despite mentioning in the detention order that he was already in custody, the state government repeatedly mentioned that he is absconding. The bench remarked that they were not impressed with the argument of the Additional Advocate General that “it was a mistake on the part of the government”.

Observing that the power of preventive detention is duly recognised in the constitutional scheme, the court said, “In order to maintain fairness, it is a good practise of mentioning reasons for issuances of such administrative orders. Fairness is an integral part of good administration. It is said that ‘sunlight is the best disinfectant’.”

The bench found merit in the argument by Verma’s counsel Ravindra Chhabra, who questioned the legality, validity and propriety of the MP government’s notification issued on April 6.

Chhabra told The Sunday Express, “The MP government since 2014 has been issuing notification every three months, empowering the DM and SP to issue detention orders under NSA but without scrutinising the situation and ascertaining that there is disturbance to communal harmony or any riot-like situation… We have placed on record every copy of the notification issued since 2014. All the DMs and SPs of 52 districts have been authorised to issue detention orders.”

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