Once the order of detention is confirmed by the State Government, maximum period for which a detenu shall be detained cannot exceed 12 months from the date of detention. The Act nowhere requires the detaining authority to specify the period for which the detenu is required to be detained. The expression “the State Government are satisfied that it is necessary so to do, they may, by order in writing direct that during such period as may be specified in the order” occurring in sub­section (2) of Section 3 relates to the period for which the order of delegation issued by the State Government is to remain in force and it has no relevance to the period of detention. The period as mentioned in Section 3(2) of the Act refers to the period of delegation and it has no relevance at all to the period for which a person may be detained. Since the Act does not require the detaining authority to specify the period for which a detenu is required to be detained, order of detention is not rendered invalid or illegal in the absence of such specification.” Applying the law laid down by this Court in the aforesaid decision and, even otherwise, considering the provisions of Section 3 read with Section 13 of the Act, the High Court has committed a grave error in holding that as the period of detention of 12 months was mentioned in the order of detention, the same is contrary to Section 3 of the Act and, therefore, the same is liable to be quashed and set aside. The High Court has wrongly relied upon and mis­interpreted Section 3 (2) of the Act with respect to the period of detention. As observed hereinabove, sub­section (2) of Section 3 of the Act relates to the period for which the order of delegation issued by the State Government is to remain in force and does not relate to the period of detention. Under the circumstances, the observations made by the High Court in paragraph 33 of the impugned Judgment and Order and one of the grounds on which the order of detention is set aside, namely, that as in the detention order the period of detention for 12 months is mentioned, the same is illegal, the same is contrary to subsection (2) of Section 3 of the Act, cannot be sustained and deserves to be quashed and set aside. Even the directions issued by the High Court in Clauses (IV), (V) and ((VI) of the operative part, namely, “(i) A copy of this decision to be sent to each District Legal Services Authority and also to the High Court Legal Services Authority at places like Aurangabad, Mumbai, Nagpur and Goa for providing legal aid in cases of preventive detention; (ii) A copy of this decision to be sent to Home Department for circulation, sending to detaining authority. After executing detention order a copy of detention order and grounds of arrest need to be supplied by detaining authority to District Legal Services Authority of that district within 48 hours of the detention; and (iii) District Legal Services Authority to give legal aid to detenu on the day when the copy of detaining authority is received. A copy of this decision to be supplied to the counsel appointed through legal aid.”, are absolutely unwarranted and not required and the same deserve to be set aside.

1
REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1681 OF 2019
[SLP (Crl)…… @ D. No. 25956 of 2019]
State of Maharashtra & Ors. .. Appellants
Versus
Balu S/o Waman Patole .. Respondent
J U D G M E N T
M.R. SHAH, J.
Delay condoned. Leave granted.

  1. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned
    Judgment and Order dated 26.03.2019 passed by the High Court
    of Judicature at Bombay, Bench at Aurangabad, in Criminal Writ
    Petition No. 155 of 2019, by which the High Court has quashed
    and set aside the order dated 15.10.2018 passed by the
    Commissioner of Police, Aurangabad under Sections 3(1) and (2)
    of the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities of
    Slumlords, Bootleggers, Drug­Offenders, Dangerous Persons,
    Video Pirates, Sand Smugglers and Persons Engaged in BlackMarketing of Essential Commodities Act, 1981 (hereinafter
    2
    referred to as the Act) and also the order of confirmation of the
    order of detention made by the State Government, the detaining
    authority has preferred the present appeal.
  2. That in exercise of powers under Sections 3(1) and (2) of the
    Act, the Commissioner of Police, Aurangabad passed an order to
    detain the respondent herein treating and considering the
    respondent as a ‘dangerous person’. The respondent herein was
    served with the grounds of detention. The order of detention was
    approved by the State Government. The matter was referred to
    the Advisory Board. The Advisory Board gave the opinion that
    there was sufficient cause for preventive detention of the
    respondent­detenu. That, thereafter the detention order was
    approved by the State Government. The detention order passed
    by the detaining authority, approved by the State Government,
    came to be challenged by the respondent herein before the High
    Court. That, by the impugned Judgment and Order, the High
    Court has set aside the detention order on merits as well as on
    the ground that the order of detention prescribing the detention
    for 12 months is in breach of Section 3 of the Act. Feeling
    aggrieved with the impugned Judgment and Order passed by the
    High Court, the detaining authority has preferred this appeal.
    3
  3. Though served, nobody has remained present on behalf of
    the respondent­detenu. Shri Nishant Ramakantrao
    Katneshwarkar, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the Statedetaining authority has vehemently submitted that so far as one
    of the grounds on which the High Court has set aside the
    detention order, namely, that the detention order prescribing the
    detention for 12 months is contrary to Section 3 of the Act, is not
    sustainable at law. It is submitted that the said finding is
    contrary to the law laid down by this Court in the case of T.
    Devaki v. Government of Tamil Nadu (1990) 2 SCC 456.
    4.1 It is vehemently submitted by Shri Katneshwarkar, learned
    counsel appearing on behalf of the State that while holding that
    the detention order is in breach of Section 3 of the Act, the High
    Court has not properly appreciated and/or considered the scope
    and ambit of Section 3 and Section 13 of the Act. It is submitted
    that the High Court has not considered Section 3 of the Act in its
    proper perspective. It is submitted that Section 3(2) of the Act
    refers to delegation of powers to the District Magistrate or the
    Commissioner of Police to detain a person under Section 3(1) of
    the Act and not with respect to the period of detention to be
    4
    mentioned in the detention order. It is submitted that, as per
    Section 13 of the Act, a person can be detained for such period
    not exceeding the maximum period of 12 months from the date of
    detention. It is submitted that neither Section 3 nor Section 13
    of the Act mandates the detaining authority to specify the period
    for which the detenu is required to be detained. In support of his
    above submissions, Mr. Katneshwarkar, learned counsel
    appearing on behalf of the State has heavily relied upon para 10
    of the decision of this Court in T. Devaki (supra).
  4. We have heard learned counsel appearing on behalf of the
    State at length.
    5.1 Now, so far as the impugned Judgment and Order passed
    by the High Court quashing and setting aside the order of
    detention is concerned, having gone through the impugned
    Judgment and Order passed by the High Court, we are of the
    view that the same is not required to be interfered with by this
    Court in exercise of powers under Article 136 of the Constitution
    of India. However, at the same time, one of the grounds on which
    the detention order is set aside, namely, that in the detention
    order the detaining authority prescribed the period of detention
    for 12 months and the same is in breach of Section 3 of the Act is
    5
    concerned, considering the provisions of Section 3 read with
    Section 13 of the Act, the same cannot be sustained. Sections 3
    and 13 of the Act read as under:
    “3. Power to make orders detaining certain
    persons.— (1) The State Government may, if satisfied
    with respect to any person that with a view to
    preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial
    to the maintenance of public order, it is necessary so
    to do, make an order directing that such person be
    detained.
    (2) If, having regard to the circumstances
    prevailing or likely to prevail in any area within the
    local limits of the jurisdiction of a District Magistrate
    or a Commissioner of Police, the State Government is
    satisfied that it is necessary so to do, it may, by order
    in writing, direct, that during such period as may be
    specified in the order, such District Magistrate or
    Commissioner of Police may also if satisfied as
    provided in sub­section (1), exercise the powers
    conferred by the said sub­section:
    Provided that the period specified in the order
    made by the State Government under this subsection shall not, in the first instance, exceed six
    months, but the State Government may, if satisfied
    as aforesaid that it is necessary so to do, amend such
    order to extend such period from time to time by any
    period not exceeding six months at any one time.
    (3) When any order is made under this section by
    an officer mentioned in sub­section (2), he shall
    forthwith report the fact to the State Government,
    together with the grounds on which the order has
    been made and such other particulars as, in his
    opinion, have a bearing on the matter, and no such
    order shall remain in force for more than twelve days
    after the making thereof, unless, in the meantime, it
    has been approved by the State Government.”
    6
    “13. Maximum period of detention.— The
    maximum period for which any person may be
    detained, in pursuance of any detention order made
    under this Act, which has been confirmed under
    section 13, shall be twelve months from the date of
    detention.”
    On fair reading of Section 3 of the Act, more particularly, subsection (2) of Section 3 of the Act, upon which much reliance has
    been placed by the High Court, sub­section (2) of Section 3
    relates to the period for which the order of delegation issued by
    the State Government is to remain in force. It has no relevance
    to the period of detention. The Legislature has entrusted the
    power of detention to the State Government. However, those
    powers can be delegated to the Jurisdictional District Magistrate
    or the Commissioner of Police, as provided in sub­section (2) of
    Section 3 of the Act. As per Section 13 of the Act, a person can
    be detained under the Act for such period not exceeding the
    maximum period of 12 months from the date of detention. The
    order of detention passed by the authorities mentioned in subsection (2) of Section 3 of the Act is required to be confirmed by
    the State Government. As per Section 13 of the Act, once the
    order of detention is confirmed by the State Government, the
    maximum period for which the detenu shall be detained cannot
    7
    exceed 12 months from the date of detention. The Act nowhere
    requires the detaining authority to specify the period for which
    the detenu is required to be detained.
    5.2 An identical question came to be considered by this Court in
    the case of T. Devaki (supra). In paragraph 10, this Court has
    observed and held as under:
    “10. Provisions of the aforesaid sections are
    inbuilt safeguards against the delays that may be
    caused in considering the representation. If the time
    frame, as prescribed in the aforesaid provisions is not
    adhered to, the detention order is liable to be struck
    down and the detenu is entitled to freedom. Once the
    order of detention is confirmed by the State
    Government, maximum period for which a detenu
    shall be detained cannot exceed 12 months from the
    date of detention. The Act nowhere requires the
    detaining authority to specify the period for which
    the detenu is required to be detained. The expression
    “the State Government are satisfied that it is
    necessary so to do, they may, by order in writing
    direct that during such period as may be specified in
    the order” occurring in sub­section (2) of Section 3
    relates to the period for which the order of delegation
    issued by the State Government is to remain in force
    and it has no relevance to the period of detention.
    The legislature has taken care to entrust the power of
    detention to the State Government; as the detention
    without trial is a serious encroachment on the
    fundamental right of a citizen, it has taken further
    care to avoid a blanket delegation of power, to
    subordinate authorities for an indefinite period by
    providing that the delegation in the initial instance
    will not exceed a period of three months and it shall
    be specified in the order of delegation. But if the
    State Government on consideration of the situation
    8
    finds it necessary, it may again delegate the power of
    detention to the aforesaid authorities from time to
    time but at no time the delegation shall be for a
    period of more than three months. The period as
    mentioned in Section 3(2) of the Act refers to the
    period of delegation and it has no relevance at all to
    the period for which a person may be detained. Since
    the Act does not require the detaining authority to
    specify the period for which a detenu is required to
    be detained, order of detention is not rendered
    invalid or illegal in the absence of such specification.”
    5.3 Applying the law laid down by this Court in the aforesaid
    decision and, even otherwise, considering the provisions of
    Section 3 read with Section 13 of the Act, the High Court has
    committed a grave error in holding that as the period of detention
    of 12 months was mentioned in the order of detention, the same
    is contrary to Section 3 of the Act and, therefore, the same is
    liable to be quashed and set aside.
    5.4 The High Court has wrongly relied upon and mis­interpreted
    Section 3 (2) of the Act with respect to the period of detention. As
    observed hereinabove, sub­section (2) of Section 3 of the Act
    relates to the period for which the order of delegation issued by
    the State Government is to remain in force and does not relate to
    the period of detention. Under the circumstances, the
    observations made by the High Court in paragraph 33 of the
    impugned Judgment and Order and one of the grounds on which
    9
    the order of detention is set aside, namely, that as in the
    detention order the period of detention for 12 months is
    mentioned, the same is illegal, the same is contrary to subsection (2) of Section 3 of the Act, cannot be sustained and
    deserves to be quashed and set aside.
    5.5 Even the directions issued by the High Court in Clauses (IV),
    (V) and ((VI) of the operative part, namely, “(i) A copy of this
    decision to be sent to each District Legal Services Authority and
    also to the High Court Legal Services Authority at places like
    Aurangabad, Mumbai, Nagpur and Goa for providing legal aid in
    cases of preventive detention; (ii) A copy of this decision to be sent
    to Home Department for circulation, sending to detaining authority.
    After executing detention order a copy of detention order and
    grounds of arrest need to be supplied by detaining authority to
    District Legal Services Authority of that district within 48 hours of
    the detention; and (iii) District Legal Services Authority to give legal
    aid to detenu on the day when the copy of detaining authority is
    received. A copy of this decision to be supplied to the counsel
    appointed through legal aid.”, are absolutely unwarranted and not
    required and the same deserve to be set aside.
    10
  5. In view of the above and for the reasons stated above,
    though we confirm the impugned Judgment and Order passed by
    the High Court quashing and setting aside the detention order on
    merits, we set aside the finding in the impugned Judgment and
    Order passed by the High Court by which the High Court has set
    aside the order of detention on the ground that as in the
    detention order the period of 12 months is mentioned, the same
    is contrary to sub­section (2) of Section 3 of the Act, more
    particularly the observations made by the High Court in
    paragraph 33 of the impugned Judgment and Order. The
    directions issued by High Court contained in Clauses (VI), (V) and
    (VI) of the operative portion of the impugned Judgment and
    Order, reproduced hereinabove, are also quashed and set aside.
    Disposed of in the aforesaid terms.
    ……………………………….J.
    [INDIRA BANERJEE]
    ……………………………….J.
    [M. R. SHAH]
    New Delhi,
    November 13, 2019.