Foreign Exchange Regulation Act

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Preventive detention order passed under the provisions of the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974, hereinafter referred to as “the COFEPOSA Act, 1974″= whether a detention order passed under the provisions of the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974, hereinafter referred to as “the COFEPOSA Act, 1974”, could be challenged at the pre-execution stage only on any of the five exceptions carved out by this Court in Addl. Secretary, Govt. of India vs. Alka Subhash Gadia [(1992) Supp. (1) SCC 496], or whether such challenge could be maintained on other grounds as well. = (i) That, the detention orders passed in respect of the several proposed detenues were challenged at the pre-detention stage, on grounds other than those indicated in Alka Subhash Gadia’s case (supra), and that the five exceptions carved out in Alka Subhash Gadia’s case were illustrative and not exhaustive. (ii) Whether any live link could be said to exist between the order of detention and the object sought to be achieved by treating the detention order as valid after the passage of several years ranging from three to sixteen years, during which period there is no record of the proposed detenue having undertaken any activities similar to the ones indicated in the detention order? In the absence of any live link, can the detention order survive? (iii) Whether having absconded or evaded the execution of the detention order, the proposed detenue could take advantage of such fact and challenge the detention order, which remains unexecuted? (iv) Once the Settlement Commission under the Customs Act accepts a settlement and provides complete immunity from prosecution under Section 127H of the Customs Act, could the detention order be passed or proceeded with? (v) Whether, when the ordinary law of the land is available, orders of preventive detention can be passed? (vi) Whether the provisions of Section 7 of the COFEPOSA Act, 1974, and Section 7 of the National Security Act, 1980, can be made the basis for making an order of preventive detention? = whether the order of preventive detention should at all be executed in the absence of any information that the proposed detenue had continued with unlawful activities. When the object of a preventive detention order is to prevent the proposed detenue from committing any offence, which is either against the national interest or the interest of society in the future and there is nothing on record to indicate that the proposed detenue had indulged in any such activity after the order of preventive detention was passed, it would, in my view, be illogical to pursue the execution of the detention order as the arrest and detention of the proposed detenue would become irrelevant and would not achieve the object for which it had been passed. The concept of a person being prevented from taking advantage of his own wrong cannot, in my view, be applied in the case of a detention order where the object of passing such an order is quite different from proceeding against a person charged with having committed a criminal offence. In my view, the continued validity of a detention order would depend on whether the proposed detenue was in the record books of the authorities as a person habitually indulging in activities which were against the national interest and society in general and that it was, therefore, necessary in the public interest to detain him for a period of one year to prevent him from continuing with such activities and not to punish him as such. = I am inclined to hold that not only is a proposed detenue entitled to challenge the detention order at the pre-execution stage, but he is also entitled to do so after several years had elapsed after the passing of the detention order on grounds other than the five grounds enumerated in Alka Subhash Gadia’s case(supra). I am also inclined to hold that orders of detention must not, as a matter of course, be read as an alternative to the ordinary laws of the land to avoid the rigours of investigation in order to make out a case for prosecution against the proposed detenue. I also hold that if a dispute leading to the issuance of the detention order is settled on the basis of a statutory provision such as Chapter XIVA of the Customs Act, 1962 and in terms of the Statute immunity from prosecution under Section 127H of the Act is given, the continuance of the order of detention would be completely illogical and even redundant. Accordingly, in such cases, the orders of preventive detention are liable to be quashed along with the Warrants of Arrest and Proclamation and Attachment issued under Sections 82 and 83 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.- In the light of the views expressed by me hereinbefore, the matters indicated hereinbelow are allowed and the orders of detention challenged therein are quashed on the ground that the said orders had become stale and the live link between the orders of detention and the object sought to be achieved by the said orders, stood snapped. Some of the orders had been made thirteen years ago and the very purpose of such detention orders had been rendered meaningless in the absence of any material that the proposed detenues had continued to indulge in activities which form the basis of the preventive detention orders. = The question whether the five circumstances specified in Alka Subhash Gadia case (supra) are exhaustive of the grounds on which a pre-execution scrutiny of the legality of preventive detention order can be undertaken was considered by us earlier in the instant case. We held that the grounds are not exhaustive.[4] But that does not persuade me to hold that such a scrutiny ought to be undertaken with reference to the cases of those who evaded the process of law. 28. For all the above mentioned reasons, I regret my inability to agree with the opinion delivered by Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India. I dismiss all the matters.


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