Patanjali Sastri, C. J. -
(1.)This is a petition under Art. 32 of the Constitution praying for the release of the petitioner from his alleged unlawful detention. We accepted the petition and, at the conclusion of the hearing, ordered the petitioner to be released. We now proceed to give the reasons for our order.
(2.)The petitioner was arrested and detained under an order dated 1-3-1950 made by the District Magistrate, Amritsar, under S. 3 (1), Preventive Detention Act, 1950 (hereafter referred to as "the Act') and the grounds of detention were communicated to the petitioner as required by S. 7 of the Act on 15-3-1950. The petitioner challenged the validity of the order on various grounds, but, while the petition was pending after this Court issued a rule nisi to the respondent, the petitioner was served on 6th August with another detention order dated 30-7-1951 purporting to be made by the Governor of Punjab under sub-s. (1) of S. 3 and S. 4 of the Act as amended by the Preventive Detention (Amendment) Act, 1951, and he was served with fresh grounds of detention on 16-8-1951. Thereupon the petitioner filed a supplementary petition impugning the validity of the said order on the ground, inter alia, that it directed the detention of the petitioner up to 31-3-1952, the date on which the Act itself was to expire and that this was contrary to the provisions of the Act as amended. On behalf of the respondent, the Advocate-General of Punjab urged that the said order was not intended to be a fresh order of detention but was passed only with a view to limiting the period of detention till 31-3-1952 as it had been held in some cases that an order of detention for an indefinite period was bad. The order runs as follows:
"Whereas the Governor of Punjab is satisfied with respect to the person known as Makhan Singh Tarsikka, son of Gujjar Singh, Jat, of Tarsikka, Police Station Jandiala, Amritsar District, that with a view of preventing him from acting in a manner prejudicial to the security of the State, it is necessary to make the following order:
Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-s. (1) of S. 3 and S. 4, Preventive Detention Act, 1950 (Act IV of 1950), as amended by the Preventive Detention (Amendment) Act, 1951 (Act IV of 1951), the Governor of Punjab hereby directs that the said Makhan Singh Tarsikka be committed to the custody of the Inspector - General of Prisons, Punjab, and detained in any jail of the State till 31-3-1952, subject to such conditions as to maintenance, discipline and punishment for breaches of discipline as have been specified by a general order or as contained in the Punjab Communist Detenu Rules, 1950.
(3.)It will be seen that the terms of the order make it clear that it was intended to operate as a fresh order for the detention of the petitioner and this view is strengthened by the fact that the order was followed by the service of a fresh set of grounds on the petitioner as required by S. 7 of the Act, a proceeding which would be wholly unnecessary if no fresh order of detention was intended. Indeed, it was suggested on behalf of the petitioner that the said order followed by service of fresh grounds only four days before the dated fixed for the hearing of the petition by this Court was a deliberate move by the respondent to circumvent the objections raised by the petitioner to the validity of the earlier order of 1-3-1950 and thus render the proceedings infructuous. However that may be, we are clearly of opinion that the order dated 30-7-1951 must be regarded as a fresh order made for the petitioner's detention in supersession of the earlier order and the question is whether it was illegal in that it straightaway directed that the petitioner be detained till 31-3-1952, which was the date of the expiry of the Act.