Decided on September 17,1982



D. A. Desai, J. - (1.) Detenu Raverdy Marc Germain Jules, a French national, at the relevant time was employed as Airport Manager by Air India at Geneva. By an Air India flight, on Sept. 20, 1981, he arrived at Sahar International Airport, Bombay and passed through green channel indicating he had no dutiable goods to declare to the Customs Authorities. When he was at Exit Gate No. 1, the Intelligence Officer questioned him about the contents of two suitcases and other packages carried by him. The reply led to the inspection of the baggages which led to the recovery of watch parts weighing 4 1/2 Kgs. in 8 packages. This led to a further enquiry, and evaluation of the watch parts led to the conclusion that the value was Rs. 3,91,200 CIF. Ultimately, the Government of Maharashtra, on Dec. 16, 1981, made an order of detention with a view to preventing the detenu from smuggling goods, in exercise of the power conferred by sub-section (1) of S. 3 of the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974. On the same day, he was furnished grounds of detention which inter alia referred to the smuggling of the watch parts and two wristwatches.
(2.) Detenu filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under Art. 226 of the Constitution in the High Court of Judicature at Bombay. Before the High Court, three contentions were advanced on behalf of the detenu, They were: "(1) It was a case of solitary incident, and prosecution was pending; (2) The detention order was mala fide having been served to prevent the Magistrate from passing an order on the application for leaving India; (3) All material documents relevant for subjective satisfaction were not considered and the order has been passed mechanically."
(3.) The Division Bench of the High Court which heard the petition held on ground number 1 that even though this is the first time the detenu was found indulging in smuggling activities and a prosecution might have been launched yet taking into account all the relevant materials, satisfaction on likelihood of repetition of smuggling activities in future seem to be real. In respect of ground No. 2, the Court was of the opinion that even though the detention order was made on Dec. 16, 1981, the day fixed for pronouncing order on the application of the detenu seeking permission to leave India, yet the file shows that the screening committee had taken the decision of recommending the detention of the detenu as well as those other persons connected with the different incidents so far back as on Nov. 19, 1981 and the actual proposal recommending detention by Customs Authority was forwarded on Nov. 25, 1981. The counter-affidavit before the High Court disclosed that the detaining authority did not know that an application for permission to leave India was filed by the detenu and the decision of the Chief Judicial Magistrate was likely to be pronounced on Dec. 16, 1981, the day on which the detention order was made. After taking note of this fact, the High Court rejected the contention. On the 3rd contention, the Court was of the opinion that there is nothing to show that there was no consideration of material documents and rejected the same. Ultimately, the High Court rejected the petition of the detenu.;

Click here to view full judgement.
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.