Monday, April 4, 2011

Detention under PASA,Bootlegging History not Enough Guj. High Court

Merely because a person is a bootlegger with past history, he or she cannot be preventively detained under a law dealing with anti-social activities, the Gujarat High Court ruled while quashing police order for detention of a woman.
The ruling was given last week by a Division Bench of Chief Justice S J Mukhopadhaya and Justice J B Pardiwala while hearing a petition of Aarti Sujnani, a bootlegger who was detained by city police under PASA (Prevention of Antisocial Activities Act, 1985) on June 11, 2010.
“In our opinion, the detaining authority has failed to substantiate that the alleged antisocial activities of the appellant-detenu (Sujnani) adversely affects or are likely to affect adversely the maintenance of public order,” it said.
The court observed that just because four cases were lodged against Sujnani under the Bombay Prohibition Act, they do not have any bearing on the maintenance of public order.
Though Sujnani was a bootlegger within the meaning of the PASA Act, “but merely because she is a bootlegger she cannot be preventively detained under the provisions of the PASA Act unless, her activities as a ‘bootlegger’ affect adversely or are likely to affect adversely the maintenance of public order,” the court noted.
“The appellant (Sujnani) may be punished for the alleged offences committed by her but, surely, the acts constituting the offences cannot be said to have affected the even tempo of the life of the community much less public health,” the court further observed.
She was detained under PASA on the grounds that four cases under the Prohibition Act were pending against her. PTI

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