THE STATE OF MANIPUR & ORS. VERSUS BUYAMAYUM ABDUL HANAN @ ANAND & ANR.

THE STATE OF MANIPUR & ORS.  VERSUS BUYAMAYUM ABDUL HANAN  @ ANAND & ANR. 

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले


                                                        
REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO(s).            OF 2022
(Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No.2420 of 2022)
THE STATE OF MANIPUR & ORS.           ….APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS
BUYAMAYUM ABDUL HANAN 
@ ANAND & ANR.          ….RESPONDENT(S)
WITH
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO(s).            OF 2022
(Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No.2603 of 2022)
J U D G M E N T
Rastogi, J.
    
1. Leave granted. 
1
2. The instant appeals are directed against the decision of
the High Court of Manipur dated 28th October, 2021 and 16th
September, 2021 setting aside the order of detention passed
under   Prevention   of   Illicit   Traffic   in   Narcotic   Drugs   and
Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988 (hereinafter referred to as
“the Act 1988”) on the premise that the appellants failed to
supply the legible copies of documents which were relied upon
by the appellants while passing the order of detention under
the provisions of the Act 1988.
3. Respondent   no.   1,   in   both   the   appeals,   was   released
pursuant to the order impugned dated 28th October, 2021
passed by the High Court and the period of detention of one
year also expired.
4.   Notice was issued by this Court on 18th April, 2022, but
no one appeared on behalf of respondent no. 1 despite service
of notice.
5. On the last date of hearing, i.e., 1st September 2022, this
Court requested Ms. Prerna Singh, learned Advocate to appear
2
as  Amicus Curiae  on behalf of respondent no.1 in both the
appeals   which   she   voluntarily   accepted   and   assisted   the
Court.
6. We have heard learned counsel for the appellants, Ms.
Prerna Singh, Amicus Curiae on behalf of the respondent no. 1
in both the appeals as well as learned counsel for respondent
no.   2   and   with   their   assistance   perused   the   material   on
record.
7. The challenge in the writ petition originally filed on behalf
of respondent no.1 was the order of detention dated 17th May,
2021   and   the   grounds   of   detention   dated   22nd  May,   2021
passed   by   the   Special   Secretary   (Home),   Government   of
Manipur,   whereby   respondent   no.1   was   subjected   to
preventive detention under the provisions of the Act 1988.   
8. The main thrust on which the writ petition was filed
under Article 226 of the Constitution assailing the order of
detention was that respondent no.1 was not supplied with
legible copies of the documents relied upon by the detaining
3
authority while passing the order of detention and that has
taken away the valuable right of respondent no.1 in making an
effective representation.  The right to make a representation is
a fundamental right and non­supply of the legible copies of the
documents relied upon by the authorities in passing the order
of detention is in violation of Article 22(5) of the Constitution
and placed reliance on the judgments of this Court in  Smt.
Dharmista   Bhagat   v.   State   of   Karnataka   &   Another1
,
Manjit   Singh  Grewal  @  Gogi   v.  Union   of   India  &  Ors.2
,
Mehrunissa   v.   State   of   Maharashtra3
  and  Bhupinder
Singh v. Union of India & Others4
.   
9. The Division Bench of the High Court placed reliance on
the aforesaid judgments of this Court and set aside the order
of   detention   dated   17th  May,   2021   passed   by   the   Special
Secretary (Home), Government of Manipur.
10. Respondent no.1 in his writ petition, para 9 and ground
(e) in particular, has stated that the documents which formed
1 1989 Supp (2) SCC 155
2 1990 (Supp.) SCC 59
3 (1981) 2 SCC 709
4 (1987) 2 SCC 234
4
the basis of the grounds of detention at pages 31, 33, 35, 37,
38 are illegible and all blurred and not readable and as such
respondent no.1 could not make an effective representation
before the detaining authority and enclosed the grounds of
detention dated 22nd May, 2021 along with the petition.   Para
9 of the writ petition and ground (e) are extracted hereinbelow:
“9.       That,   it   is   pertinent   to   mention   herein   that   the
documents   which   form   the   basis   of   the   grounds   of
detention   at   page   no.31,   33,   35,   37,   38   enclosed
herewith are all blurred and not readable and as such
the detenu could not make an effective representation
before the detaining authority, therefore, the impugned
order and subsequent orders are liable to be set aside.
The   blurred   and   unreadable   original   documents
furnished to the detenu while he was under detention
have been filed along with the writ petition.  A true copy
of the documents which are not readable enclosed in the
grounds   of   detention   dated   22.05.2021   is   enclosed
herewith and marked as Annexure­A/3.”
“e. For, that the documents which form the
basis   of   the   grounds   of   detention   and
enclosed   herewith   are   not   readable   and
could not make an effective representation
and as such the detention order is liable
to be set aside.”
11. In the counter affidavit filed by the appellants before the
High Court, the only justification tendered was that all the
relevant  documents   relied  upon  by  the   detaining   authority
were supplied to respondent no.1 and he did not make any
5
such request in his representation of the documents relied
upon   by   the   detaining   authority   either   being   blurred   or
illegible at any stage during pendency of the proceedings until
the final order of detention came to be passed by the detaining
authority.      The extract  of relevant para  no.10 of  counter
affidavit is reproduced hereunder:
“10. That, with reference to Para Nos.9 and 15(e) of the Writ
Petition, the deponent begs to submit that all legible
documents   which   form   the   basis   of   the   grounds   of
detention were furnished to the detenu.   Moreover, the
detenu while submitting his representation could have
sought   any   relevant   document   from   the   Detaining
Authority   as   done   in   other   cases.     However,   the
petitioner   did   not   mention   any   such   request   in   his
representation   submitted   to   the   detaining   authority.
Original acknowledgement receipt annexed hereto and
marked as A.”
12. Likewise, in Writ Petition (Crl.) No.15 of 2021 before the
High Court, similar averments were made.  Extracts of para 9
and ground (e) are reproduced hereunder:
“9.       That,   it   is   pertinent   to   mention   herein   that   the
documents   which   form   the   basis   of   the   grounds   of
detention at page nos.79, 81, 83, 85, 87, 89, 93, 95
enclosed herewith are all blurred and not readable and
even   then   the   respondent   No.1   furnished   incomplete
documents while furnishing the documents of ground of
detention to the petitioner (left behind most of the pages
of documents annexed in ground of detention).   The
petitioner has filed the documents in original before the
6
Hon’ble Court, furnished by the respondent no.1 and as
such   the   detenu   could   not   make   an   effective
representation before the detaining authority, therefore,
the impugned order are liable to be set aside.
  A true copy of the documents which are not
readable enclosed in the grounds of detention dated
22.05.2021   is   enclosed   herewith   and   marked   as
Annexure­A/3.”
“e. For, that the documents which form the
basis   of   the   grounds   of   detention   and
enclosed   herewith   are   not   readable   and
could not make an effective representation
and as such the detention order is liable
to be set aside.”
13. In the counter affidavit filed by the appellants to the
aforesaid writ petition before the High Court, in para 9, the
appellants replied as under:
  “9. That   with   reference   to   Para   No.9   of   the   criminal
petition, it is submitted that while serving grounds of
detention   all   relevant   documents   were   enclosed.
Moreover,   the   detenu   while   submitting   her
representation   done   in   other   cases.     However,   the
petitioner  did   not   mention   any   such   request   in  her
representation   submitted   to   the   detaining   authority.
Annexure   R/4   is   the   true   copy   of   the   Ground   of
detention.”
14. Learned counsel for the appellants has not disputed the
proposition settled by this Court that supply of legible copies
of the documents relied upon by the detaining authority is a
sine qua non  for making an effective representation which is
7
the   fundamental   right   of   detenu   guaranteed   under   Article
22(5)   of   the   Constitution.     The   only   submission   made   by
learned counsel for the appellants is that respondent no.1, at
no stage, raised any objection that the pages of the documents
relied   upon   by   the   detaining   authority   in   the   grounds   of
detention were illegible or blurred which, in any manner, has
denied him the opportunity of making representation and the
objection was raised, for the first time, before the High Court
and not at any stage before the detaining authority.   In the
given facts and circumstances, learned counsel submits that
the interference made by the High Court in setting aside the
order of detention is not legally sustainable and deserves to be
interfered with by this Court.   
15. Learned  Amicus   Curiae  appearing   on   behalf   of
respondent no. 1 supported the order of the High Court and
submitted that once it is settled that the supply of legible
copies of documents relied upon by the detaining authority is
a sine qua non for making an effective representation to be a
part   of   his   fundamental   right   under   Article   22(5)   of   the
8
Constitution and once this specific allegation was made by
respondent no. 1 in the writ petition with facts and particulars
and also the pages which, according to him, were illegible and
blurred and that has deprived respondent no.1 in making an
effective representation, denial thereof was indeed in violation
of Article 22(5) of the Constitution and once the fundamental
right has been infringed, even if it was not raised before the
detaining authority, that will not take away the fundamental
right conferred by law to respondent no.1 in assailing order of
detention as permissible to him under the law and once this
fact remains uncontroverted, no error has been committed by
the High Court in setting aside the order of detention. 
16. Article 22(5) of the Constitution confers two rights on the
detenu, firstly, the right to be informed of the grounds on
which the order of detention has been made and, secondly, to
be afforded an earliest opportunity to make a representation
against the order of detention.   
17. It   is   well   settled   that   right   to   make   a   representation
implies that the detenu should have all the information that
9
will enable him to make an effective representation.  No doubt,
this right is again subject to the right or privilege given by
clause (6).  At the same time, refusal to supply the documents
requested by the detenu or supply of illegible or blurred copies
of   the   documents   relied   upon   by   the   detaining   authority
amounts   to   violation   of   Article   22(5)   of   the   Constitution.
Although  it  is   true   that  whether   an   opportunity   has   been
afforded to make an effective representation always depends
on the facts and circumstances of each case.  
18. What will be the effect when the detune is deprived of
effective   representation   or   denial   of   supply   of   relied   upon
documents by the detaining authority has been considered by
this Court in Ramchandra A. Kamat v. Union of India and
Others5
 as under:
“6. The  right  to make  a  representation is  a  fundamental
right. The representation thus made should be considered
expeditiously   by   the   government.   In   order   to   make   an
effective   representation,   the   detenu   is   entitled   to   obtain
information relating to the grounds of detention. When the
grounds of detention are served on the detenu, he is entitled
to ask for copies of the statements and documents referred
to in the grounds of detention to enable him to make an
effective representation. When the detenu makes a request
5 (1980) 2 SCC 270
10
for   such   documents,   they   should   be   supplied   to   him
expeditiously.   The   detaining   authority   in   preparing   the
grounds   would   have   referred   to   the   statements   and
documents relied on in the grounds of detention and would
be   ordinarily   available   with   him   —   when   copies   of   such
documents   are   asked   for   by   the   detenu   the   detaining
authority   should   be   in   a   position   to   supply   them   with
reasonable   expedition.   What   is   reasonable   expedition   will
depend on the facts of each case.”
19. What will be the effect of non­supply of legible copies of
the  documents relied upon  by  the  detaining authority has
been considered by this Court in Bhupinder Singh (supra) as
under:
“1. On 3­10­1985 the officers of the Enforcement Directorate
searched House No. B.20, Gujranwala Town, Part II, Delhi
and   recovered   certain   quantity   of   foreign   exchange.   It
appears that the petitioner was not immediately available.
He was called and interrogated. He made a statement which
was recorded by the officers of the Enforcement Directorate.
On 19­3­1986 an order for detention of the petitioner was
made by Shri M.L. Wadhawan, Additional Secretary to the
Government  of  India, Ministry of  Finance,  Department  of
Revenue, New Delhi. The petitioner was arrested on 16­4­
1986   and   served   with   a   copy   of   the   order   of   detention.
Grounds of detention were served on him four days later. On
12­5­1986 he was produced before the Advisory Board. He
made a complaint before the Advisory Board that the copies
of documents which were supplied to him along with the
grounds of detention were not legible and he also placed
before the Advisory Board a copy of a representation said to
have   been   made   by   him   for   supply   of   legible   copies   of
documents.   There   is   a   controversy   whether   this
representation was made on 8­5­1986 or 12­5­1986. From
the   original   files   produced   before   us   we   find   that   the
representation was typed on 8­5­1986, but actually signed
by the detenu on 12­5­1986. But that would not make any
difference for the purposes of this case. On 19­5­1986 the
11
Under­Secretary to the Government of India conceded the
demand of the detenu for legible copies of documents and
directed the Directorate of Enforcement to supply a duplicate
set of documents to the petitioner. A copy of this letter was
also sent to the detenu and was acknowledged by him on 21­
5­1986. There is a controversy as regards the date on which
the legible copies of documents were actually given to the
detenu. According to the detenu they were served on him on
1­7­1986, whereas according to the counter­affidavit of Shri
S.K. Chowdhry, Under­Secretary in the Ministry of Finance,
the   documents   were   supplied   on   21­6­1986.   It   does   not
make any difference whether the documents were supplied
on 21­6­1986 or on 1­7­1986 since we find that even before
legible copies of documents were supplied to the detenu, the
detention order was confirmed on 14­6­1986. The detenu
was   thus   clearly   denied   the   opportunity   of   making   a
representation and there was therefore a clear contravention
of the right guaranteed by Article 22 of the Constitution. The
detenu is entitled to be set at liberty. We are told that the
detenu is now on parole. He need not surrender.”
and later in Manjit Singh Grewal (supra) as under:
“3. It appears that the appellant had asked for certain
copies of the documents which admittedly were there with
the respondent – Union of India.   Copies of the documents
were supplied, but the same were not legible.  This position
is also apparent.  It is not necessary in the facts of this case
to   go   into   the   question   whether   these   documents   were
relevant or material.”
20. Learned  counsel also relied upon the judgment of this
Court in  Union of India v. Ranu Bhandari6 wherein it was
held in paras 27 and 31 as under:
“27. It   has   also   been   the   consistent   view   that   when   a
detention order is passed all the material relied upon by the
detaining   authority   in   making   such   an   order,   must   be
6 (2008) 17 SCC 348
12
supplied to the detenu to enable him to make an effective
representation   against   the   detention   order   in   compliance
with Article 22(5) of the Constitution, irrespective of whether
he   had   knowledge   of   the   same   or  not.   These   have   been
recognised   by   this   Court   as   the   minimum   safeguards   to
ensure   that   preventive   detention   laws,   which   are   an   evil
necessity, do not become instruments of oppression in the
hands   of   the   authorities   concerned   or   to   avoid   criminal
proceedings which would entail a proper investigation.
28­30.   xxx xxx xxx
31. Of course, in Radhakrishnan Prabhakaran case [(2000) 9
SCC   170]   it   was   also   made   clear   that   there   is   no   legal
requirement that a copy of every document mentioned in the
order has to be supplied to the detenu. What is, therefore,
imperative is that copies of such documents which had been
relied   upon   by   the   detaining   authority   for   reaching   the
satisfaction that in the interest of the State and its citizens
the preventive detention of the detenu is necessary, have to
be supplied to him. Furthermore, if in this case, the detenu's
representation and writ petition had been placed before the
detaining authority, which according to the detenu contained
his entire defence to the allegations made against him, the
same may have weighed with the detaining authority as to
the necessity of issuing the order of detention at all.”
21. Thus, the legal position has been settled by this Court
that the right to make representation is a fundamental right of
the detenu under Article 22(5) of the Constitution and supply
of the illegible copy of documents which has been relied upon
by the detaining authority indeed has deprived him in making
an effective representation and denial thereof will hold the
13
order   of   detention   illegal   and   not   in   accordance   with   the
procedure contemplated under law. 
22. It is the admitted case of the parties that respondent no.1
has   failed   to   question   before   the   detaining   authority   that
illegible or blurred copies were supplied to him which were
relied upon while passing the order of detention, but the right
to   make   representation   being   a   fundamental   right   under
Article 22(5) of the Constitution in order to make effective
representation, the detenu is always entitled to be supplied
with the legible copies of the documents relied upon by the
detaining authority and such information made in the grounds
of detention enables him to make an effective representation.
23. Proceeding on the principles which have now been settled
by this Court, it was specifically raised by the respondents in
their writ petition and the reference has been made in para 9
of   the   petition   referred   to(supra)   and   in   the   pleadings   on
record,   there   was   no   denial   in   the   counter   filed   by   the
appellants before the High Court that the documents which
were supplied and relied upon by the detaining authority were
14
legible and that has not denied respondent no.1 in making
effective   representation   while   questioning   the   order   of
detention and once this fact remain uncontroverted from the
records as being placed before the High Court in writ petition
filed   under   Article   226   of   the   Constitution   and   the   legal
principles   being   settled,   we   find   no   substance   in   the
submissions made by learned counsel for the appellants that
merely   because   respondent   no.1   has   failed   to   raise   this
question before the detaining authority which go into root of
the   matter   to   take   away   the   right   vested   in   the
appellant/detenu   in   assailing   the   order   of   detention   while
availing the remedy available to him under Article 226 of the
Constitution of India.   
24. In   other   words,   the   right   of   personal   liberty   and
individual freedom which is probably the most cherished is
not, in any manner, arbitrarily to be taken away from him
even temporarily without following the procedure prescribed
by law and once the detenu was able to satisfy while assailing
the order of detention before the High Court in exercise of
15
jurisdiction Article 226 of the Constitution holding that the
grounds of detention did not satisfy the rigors of proof as a
foundational effect which has enabled him in making effective
representation in assailing the order of detention in view of the
protection provided under Article 22(5) of the Constitution, the
same renders the order of detention illegal and we find no
error being committed by the High Court in setting aside the
order of preventive detention under the impugned judgment.  
25. Consequently, the appeals fail and are hereby dismissed. 
26. Pending application(s), if any, stand disposed of.
……………………………J.
(AJAY RASTOGI)
…………………………….J.
(C.T. RAVIKUMAR)
NEW DELHI
OCTOBER 19, 2022.
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