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Key Takeaways

  • Failure of Government to communicate rejection of a detenu's representation in a time-bound manner is sufficient to vitiate the order of detention passed under National Security Act.

Background

  • The accused, in this case, was arrested after an FIR registered against him alleging that he procured fake Remdesivir injections which were administered to patients during the Covid-19 pandemic in order to make illegal profits thereby endangering the life of the general public.
  • Later, he was detained under Section 3(2) of the NSA, for a period of three months. He submitted a representation against the order of detention both to the Home Department of the State Government and the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Central Government.
  • The bench, at the outset, noted that Article 22(5) of the Constitution mandates that (i) the authority making the order shall "as soon as may be" communicate the grounds on which the order has been made to the person detained; and (ii) the detaining authority shall afford to the person detained "the earliest opportunity of making a representation against the order"

Observations

  • The Supreme Court observed that the failure of the Government to communicate a rejection of a detenu's representation in a time-bound manner is sufficient to vitiate the order of detention passed under the National Security Act.
  • The detenu has the right to have his representation considered expeditiously- failing which the detention order would be invalidated.
  • This right would ring hollow without a corollary right of the detenu to receive timely communication from the appropriate government on the status of its representation- be it an acceptance or a rejection, the bench also comprising Justices Vikram Nath and BV Nagarathna said.

Questions

  • What is your opinion on the judgement?
  • Do you agree with the observations made by the court?
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