Chennai: A wrong detention order would infringe upon the liberty of a person enshrined under Article 21 of the constitution of India and authorities who pass detention orders should apply their mind and satisfy themselves about the necessity to pass a detention order, the Madras High Court yesterday said.
The observation was made by the High Court while disposing of a petition by Prisoners Rights Forum seeking judicial inquiry into the March 24 attack on about 500 inmates of the prison at Puzhal here, allegedly by prison officials, and action against the officials responsible for the incident.
Acting Chief Justice Satish K Agnihotri and Justice M M Sundresh said “it is true that an untoward incident had happened on March 24 inside the prison. The prisoners who were involved in the agitation were detenues.”
“Their grievance appeared to be against police officials and the court. To be precise, they were of the view that the police officials have foisted false cases against them which have not been taken up by the court early.”
“But for the grievance of the detenues, the occurrence could not have happened. Therefore, we are of the view that what is required is steps to deal with the grievance of the detenues rather than going into the occurrence of such incidents”, the bench said.
“A wrong detention order would infringe upon the liberty of a person enshrined under Article 21 of the constitution of India”, the bench said, adding, authorities who pass detention orders should apply their mind and satisfy themselves about the necessity to pass a detention order.
Maintainaing that most of the orders did not stand the scrutiny of the court of law, the judges said “a detention order cannot be a substitute for a criminal case. Therefore, an element of sensitivity is required at every stage by all the authorities”.
The bench, while advising the Chief Secretary and the Home Secretary of the state government to look into the matter and issue appropriate directions, asked them to appoint a separate officer for filing counter affidavits within the time granted by the High Court in the matters of the challenges made to the detention orders and to collect the concerned papers from the office of the Public Prosecutor every day and to keep track of the case to make sure that the counter affidavits are filed.