Gajendragadkar, J. -
(1.)This appeal with a certificate issued by the Nagpur High Court under Art. 132 (1) of the Constitution raises a question about the validity of the Central Provinces and Berar Goondas Act X of 1946 as amended by Madhya Pradesh Act XLIX of 1950. It appears that against the respondent Baldeo Prasad the State of Madhya Pradesh, appellant 1, passed an order on June 16, 1955, under S. 4-A of the Act. Subsequently the District Magistrate, Chhindwara, appellant 2, passed another order dated June 22, 1955, communicating to the respondent the first externment order passed against him. The respondent then filed a writ petition in the High Court (No. 249 of 1955) under Art. 226 challenging the validity of the said orders, inter alia on the ground that the Act under which the said orders were passed was itself ultra vires. The appellant disputed the respondent's contention about the vires of the Act. The High Court, however, has upheld the respondent's plea and has held that Ss. 4 and 4-A of the Act are invalid, and since the two sections contain the main operative provisions of the Act, according to the High Court, the whole Act became invalid. It is the correctness of this conclusion which is challenged before us by the appellants.
(2.)It would be convenient at this stage to refer briefly to the scheme of the Act and its relevant provisions. The Act was passed in 1946 and came into force on September 7, 1946. It was subsequently and the amended Act came into force on November 24, 1950. As the preamble shows the Act was passed because it was thought expedient to provide for the control of goondas and for their removal in certain circumstances from one place to another. Section 2 defines a goonda as meaning a hooligan, rough or a vagabond and as including a person who is dangerous to public peace or tranquility. It would thus be seen that the definition of the word "goonda" is an inclusive definition and it includes even person who may not be hooligans, roughs or vagabonds if they are otherwise dangerous to public peace or tranquility. Section 3 (1) empowers the State Government to issue a proclamation that disturbed conditions exist or are likely to arise in the areas specified in such proclamation if the State Government is satisfied that public peace or tranquility in any area is disturbed or is likely to be disturbed. The area in respect of which a proclamation is thus issued is described in the Act as the proclaimed area. Section 3(2) limits the operation of the proclamation to three months from its date and provides that it may be renewed by notification from time to time for a period of three months at a time. The first step to be taken in enforcing the operative provisions of the Act thus is that a proclamation has to be issued specifying the proclaimed areas, and the limitation on the power of the State Government to issue such a proclamation is that the proclamation can be issued only after it is satisfied as required by S. 3(1), and its life will not be longer than three months at a stretch. Sections 4 reads thus:
"4 (1). During the period the proclamation of emergency issued or renewed under S. 3 is in operation, the District Magistrate having jurisdiction in or in any part of the proclaimed area, if satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the presence, movements or acts of any goonda in the proclaimed area is prejudicial to the interests of the general public or that a reasonable suspicion exists that any goonda is committing or is likely to commit acts calculated to disturb the public peace or tranquility may make an order -
(i) directing such goonda to notify his residence and any change of or absence from such residence during the term specified and to report his movements in such manner and to such authority as may be specified;
(ii) directing that he shall not remain in the proclaimed area within his jurisdiction or any specified part thereof and shall not enter such area; and
(iii) directing him so to conduct himself during the period specified as the District Magistrate shall deem necessary in the interest of public order:
Provided that no order under cl. (ii) which directs the exclusion of any goonda from a place in which he ordinarily resides shall be made except with the previous approval of the State Government:
Provided further that no such order shall be made directing exclusion of any goonda from the District in which he ordinarily resides.
2. No order under sub-sec. (1) shall be made by a District Magistrate in respect of a goonda without giving to such goonda a copy of the ground on which the order is proposed to be made and without giving an opportunity to be heard:
Provided that where the District Magistrate is of opinion that it is necessary to make an order without any delay he may for reason to be recorded in writing, make the order and shall, as soon as may be within ten days from the date on which the order is served on the goonda concerned, give such goonda a copy of the grounds and an opportunity to be heard.
3. After hearing the goonda, the District Magistrate may, cancel or modify the order as he thinks fit".
This section confers on the District Magistrate jurisdiction to make an order against a goonda if there are reasonable grounds for believing that his presence, movements or acts in any proclaimed area is likely to be prejudicial to the interests of the general public, or if there is a reasonable suspicion that a goonda is committing or is likely to commit prejudicial acts. Sub-clauses (i), (ii) and (iii) indicate the nature of the directions and the extent of the restrictions which can be placed upon a goonda by an order passed under S. 4. Sub-section (2) requires the District Magistrate to give the goonda a copy of the grounds on which an order is proposed to be made, and to give him an opportunity to be heard why such an order should not be passed against him. The proviso to the section deals with an emergency which needs immediate action. After hearing the goonda the District Magistrate may under sub-sec. (3) either cancel or modify the order as he thinks fit.
(3.)Section 4-A reads thus:
"1. Where the District Magistrate considers that with a view to maintain the peace and tranquility of the proclaimed area in his district it is necessary to direct a goonda to remove himself outside the district in which the proclaimed area is comprised or to require him to reside or remain in any place or within any area outside such district, the District Magistrate may, after giving the goonda an opportunity as required by sub-sec. (2) of S. 4 forward to the State Government a report together with connected papers with a recommendation in that behalf.
2. On receipt of such report the State Government may, if it is satisfied that the recommendation made by the District Magistrate is in the interests of the general public, make an order directing such goonda -
(a) that except in so far as he may be permitted by the provisions of the order, or by such authority or person as may be specified therein, he shall not remain in any such area or place in Madhya Pradesh as may be specified in the order;
(b) to reside or remain in such place or within such area in Madhya Pradesh as may be specified in the order and if he is not already there to proceed to that place or area within such time as may be specified in the order:
Provided that no order shall be made directing the exclusion or removal from the State of any person ordinarily resident in the State".
Thus an order more stringent in character can be passed under this section. The safeguard provided by the section, however, is that the District Magistrate is required to give the goonda an opportunity to be heard and further required to make a report to the State Government and forward to the State Government papers connected with the recommendation which the District Magistrate makes. Sub-section (2) of S. 4-A then requires the State Government to consider the matter and empowers it to make an order either under cl. (a) or cl. (b) of the said sub-section. The proviso to this section lays down that no order shall be made by which the goonda would be excluded or removed from the State where he ordinarily resides. The last section to which reference may be made is S. 6. It gives a goonda aggrieved by an order made against him, inter alia, under S. 4 or S. 4-A to make a representation to the State Government within the time prescribed, and it requires the State Government to consider the representation and make such orders thereon as it may deem fit. That in brief is the scheme of the Act.