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Preventive detention

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: Economic Times


Context: The Supreme Court emphasized the need to prevent the arbitrary use of preventive detention powers, overturning a Telangana High Court decision.

  • It clarified that preventive detention is meant to avert future harm, not as a form of punishment, and should be based on careful consideration of facts.
  • The court highlighted that preventive detention is a severe measure and should not be invoked routinely or arbitrarily by authorities.

The Supreme Court also underscored that the grounds for detention must be clearly stated, and the decision should be based on a thorough examination of relevant facts.

About Preventive Detention: 

  • Preventive detention entails the detention of an individual without a trial or conviction by a court, aiming to prevent future offences rather than punish past ones.
  • Governments enact preventive detention laws to ensure public safety and maintain social order.
  • In India, Article 22 of the Constitution provides safeguards for individuals detained under such laws.
  • It limits the duration of preventive detention to three months unless an Advisory Board approves an extension.
  • The detainee has the right to know the grounds of detention and make representations against it.
  • Parliament has exclusive power to enact preventive detention laws for defence, foreign affairs, or national security reasons, while both Parliament and State Legislatures can enact laws for maintaining public order or essential services.
  • Various laws in India, such as the National Security Act (NSA) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), allow for preventive detention for up to 12 months without formal charges, with periodic review by an advisory board.