Decided on January 27,1982

District Magistrate, Jammu Respondents


- (1.) THE petitioner, Gurdeep Singh alias Babbi, has been detained u/s 81 of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978 hereinafter the Act, pursuant to the order of District Magistrate, Jammu, dated 17 -10 -1981, passed by him with a view to preventing the petitioner from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of Public order. The grounds of detention which were served upon him on 10 -10 -1981 read as under: "1. That on 14 -5 -81 at 2100 hours you along with your associates including Mohinder Singh and Mohinder Makhi went to Apsra Theatre and disturbed the que near the ticket window and when objected by Sh. Bahadur Singh and other cinegoers, who were purchasing tickets, you exhibited your dagger Dha. With this act of yours panic was caused in the cinema premises and cinegoers including ladies rush outside the premises of Apsra Theater. You also shouted that if anybody reported the matter anywhere would be no more 2. That on 22 -9 -81 at 1930 hours you along -with your 4/5 associates including Mohinder Singh and Mohinder Makhi visited the shop of Sh. Sudesh Kumar Prop. Kashmir Ice Cream Factory, Nanak Nagar, Jammu and took Ice cream and when prop damanded its price, you beat the employees of Sh. Sudershan Kumar. You were armed with Khokhri in your hand and while leaving the place you threatened Shri Sudesh Kumar and his employees with dire consequences. 3. That on 28 -9 -81 at 2300 hours you along -with your associates namely, Mohinder Singh and Mohinder Makni armed with Khokhri and knife attacked Rehari wallas, namely, Romesh and Girdhari Lal at Nanak Nagar with the intention to extort money from them. The Rehari wallas saved themselves by rushing towards the Railway Station and stayed for the night at the Railway Station. This acts of yours created terror in the minds of Romesh and Girdhari Lal and also other residents of the area. From all these facts and recurring commission of your acts of violence, it is evident that you have created a sense of insecurity in the minds of peace loving citizens in Jammu city and your remaining at large is highly prejudicial to the maintainance of public order. It is necessary to detain you under the public Safety Act, 1978 for a period of one year."
(2.) HE has challenged his detention on the grounds: firstly, that the acts imputed to him, even, if true, would not tantamount to disturbing public order, and secondly, that these acts being subject matter of three F. I. Rs. his order of detention was passed by the District Magistrate mechanically without applying his mind to the question whether he should be but on regular trial for these offence or merely kept in preventive detention.
(3.) PUBLIC order has been defined by Sec -83 of the Act, clause b ii whereof reads as under : "ii Making preparations for using, or attempting to use, or using or instigating, inciting provoking, or otherwise abetting the use of force where such preparation, using, attempting, instigating, inciting, provoking or abetting disturbs or is likely to disturb public order," Reliance on behalf of the State has been placed upon this Clause to show that the different acts attributed to the petitioner clearly bring his case within the four corners of the said clause defining the expression "public order." On behalf of the petitioner, however, it has been contended that these acts, even if proved, would still not lead to disturbing the current of the life of the community so as to amount to disturbance or public order. They affected merely an individual or individuals, leaving the community as a whole unperturbed. For this, reliance has been placed upon Wasiuddin Ahmed Vs. The District Magistrate, Aligarh, AIR 1981 S C 2166 wherein their Lordships have brought out the distinction between the three expressions : law and order, public order and security of the State in these terms: "On the merits, it is argued that the grounds of detention served on the detenue were not connected with "maintenance of law and order". There is no merit in the contention whatsoever. The distinction between "law and order" and "public order" has been brought out succinctly in Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Vs. State of Bihar, 1966 ISCR 709 : AIR 1966 SC 740, Arun Ghosh Vs State of West Bengal. 1970 3 SCR 288 AIR 1970 3 S CR 1228, Pushkar Mukherjee Vs. State of West Bengal, 1969 2 SCR 635: AIR 1970 SC 862 and Nagendra Nath Mondal Vs. State of West Bengal, 1972 I SCC 498 : AIR 1972 655 As to what is meant by "public order", Hidayatullah J as he than was said in Ram Manohar Lohias case supra that any contravention of law always affects order but before it could be said to affect "public order", it must affect the community or the public at large. He went on to consider the three concepts viz "law and order", "public order" and "the security of the State", generally used in preventive detention laws, and indicated that to appreciate the extent and scope of each one of them, we should have three concentric circles, the largest of them representing "law and order", the next representing "public order", and the smallest representing "the security of the State". An act may affect "law and order", but not "public order", just as an act may affect "public order" but not "the security of the State". The true distinction between the areas of law and order and public order lies not merely in the nature of or quality of the act but upon the degree and extent of its reach upon the society. The acts similar in nature but committed in different contexts and circumstances might cause different reactions. In one case, it might affect specific individuals and, therefore, touches the problems of law and order only, while in another it might affect public order. In Arun Ghoshs case AIR 1970 SC 1228, the concepts of "law and order and "public order were pointed out and it was observed that the distinction is one of the degree and the extent of the reach of the act upon the society. The Court, speaking through Hidayatullah, C J, observed "an act by itself is not determinant of its gravity. In its quality it may not differ from another but in its potentiality it may be very different". The principles laid down in Ram Manohar Lohias case AIR 1966 SC 740 were reiterated in Arun Ghoshs case. So it has to be seen in the instant case whether the petitioners activities have any impact upon the local community, or to put in words of Hidayatullah, C. J. in Arun Ghoshs case supra "disturb the even tempo of the life of the community of that specified locality".;

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