Decided on June 15,1988

Commissioner Of Police, Surat And Another Respondents

Cited Judgements :-



J.P.DESAI - (1.)The petitioner is detained by an order dated 23-12-1987 Annexure A. by the Commissioner of Police Surat City under sub- sec. (2) of Sec. 3 of the Gujarat Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act 1985 The order of detention is challenged on several grounds. We do not propose to go into all the grounds of challenge because one of the grounds of challenge has appealed to us. That ground of challenge is that copies of several documents were supplied to the detenu but two documents (pages 49 to 56 of he compilation) were supplied to the detenu in English and the detenu did not understand English language. The ground of challenge is that Gujarati translation of these documents ought to have been supplied to the detenu so as to enable him to made an effective representation against the order of detention. The ground of challenge further is that because the translation was not supplied the detenu could not make effective representation and therefore the detention is vitiated. It is an admitted fact that these two documents which are in English were supplied in English to the detenu and no Gujarati translation was supplied to him. The affidavit of the Commsisioner of Police the detaining authority which is filed at page 63 shows that admittedly these documents were supplied to the detenu in English. The Commissioner has stated in the affidavit at para 16 page 72 of the compilation that these documents were explained to the detenu in Gujarati language and an endorsement to that effect has been made below the compilation of the documents. Explaining the contents of the documents in the language which the detenu understands is not sufficient. So far as the detention order is concerned explanation of the same in the language which is understood by the detenu is sufficient but so far as documents are concerned the documents are to be supplied to the detenu in the language which he understands otherwise he cannot make effective representation. This having not been done in the present case the detention of the petitioner is vitiated.
(2.)Mr. S. R. Divetia learned Addl. Public Prosecutor submitted that the order of externment was passed against the petitioner and it was confirmed by the Appellate Authority but ultimately the High Court quashed the said order of externment and the order of the Appellate Authority and the said order of the High Court was in favour of the detenu and. therefore non-supply of the translation has not caused any prejudice to the detenu. We are not at all impressed by this argument of Mr. Divetia The detaining authority while considering the question of detention took into consideration the aforesaid two documents with a view to consider whether lesser drastic remedy would serve the purpose in the present case. While considering that aspect he looked into the order of the Appellate Authority as also the judgment of the High Court and ultimately reached the conclusion that there was no other way except to detain the petitioner in the present case. The judgment of the High Court was of course in favour of the detenu but it has been used against him by the detaining authority while considering the question of lesser drastic steps against the petitioner. If the translation was supplied to the petitioner he could have taken up appropriate grounds of challenge in the representation which he was entitled to make as per the law. He could not do so because the translation was not supplied. He could have come forward with a say that the facts of the earlier case were quite different or that the order was quashed by the High Court on some technical ground. He could have as well said that the facts of the present case were quite different from the facts of the earlier case and he could as well have been externed rather than detained under the Act. This opportunity was not available to the detenu because the Gujarati translation was not supplied to him. The continued detention of the petitioner is therefore vitiated. As we are inclined to accept the above ground of challenge we have not gone into the other grounds of challenge.
(3.)As a result of the aforesaid discussion the petition is allowed the order of detention dated 23-12-1987 Annexure A is hereby quashed and the petitioner-detenu is ordered to be set at liberty forthwith if not required to be detained for any other lawful purpose. Rule is made absolute. Rule made absolute.

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