Protection Against Arrest and Detention

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Article 22 – Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases

(1) No person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest nor shall he be denied the right to consult, and to be defended by, a legal practitioner of his choice.
(2) Every person who is arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before the nearest magistrate within a period of twenty-four hours of such arrest excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the magistrate and no such person shall be detained in custody beyond the said period without the authority of a magistrate.
(3) Nothing in clauses (1) and (2) shall apply-

(a) to any person who for the time being is an enemy alien; or
(b) to any person who is arrested or detained under any law providing for preventive detention.

(4) No law providing for preventive detention shall authorise the detention of a person for a longer period than three months unless-

(a) an Advisory Board consisting of persons who are, or have been, or are qualified to be appointed as, Judges of a High Court has reported before the expiration of the said period of three months that there is in its opinion sufficient cause for such detention:
Provided that nothing in this sub-clause shall authorise the detention of any person beyond the maximum period prescribed by any law made by Parliament under sub-clause (b) of clause (7); or
(b) such person is detained in accordance with the provision of any law made by Parliament under sub-clauses (a) and (b) of clause (7).

(5) When any person is detained in pursuance of an order made under any law providing for preventive detention, the authority making the order shall, as soon as may be, communicate to such person the grounds on which the order has been made and shall afford him (he earliest opportunity of making a representation against the order.
(6) Nothing in clause (5) shall require the authority making any such order as is referred to in that clause to disclose facts which such authority considers to be against the public interest to disclose.
(7) Parliament may by law prescribe-

(a) the circumstances under which, and the class or classes of cases in which, a person may be detained for a period longer than three months under any law providing for preventive detention without obtaining the opinion of an Advisory Board in accordance with the provisions of sub-clause (a) of clause (4);
(b) the maximum period for which any person may in any class or classes of cases be detained under any law providing for preventive detention; and
(c) the procedure to be followed by an Advisory Board in an inquiry under sub-clause (a) of clause (4).

Explanation:

Article 22 grants protection to persons who are arrested or detained. Detention is of two types, namely, punitive and preventive.

Punitive detention is to punish a person for an offence committed by him after trial and conviction in a court. Preventive detention, on the other hand, means detention of a person without trial and conviction by a court. Its purpose is not to punish a person for a past offence but to prevent him from committing an offence in the near future. Thus, preventive detention is only a precautionary measure and based on suspicion.

The Article 22 has two parts—the first part deals with the cases of ordinary law and the second part deals with the cases of preventive detention law.

(a) The first part of Article 22 confers the following rights on a person who is arrested or detained under an ordinary law:

(i) Right to be informed of the grounds of arrest.
(ii) Right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner.
(iii) Right to be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, excluding the journey time.
(iv) Right to be released after 24 hours unless the magistrate authorises further detention.

These safeguards are not available to an alien or a person arrested or detained under a preventive detention law.

The Supreme Court also ruled that the arrest and detention in the first part of Article 22 do not cover arrest under the orders of a court, civil arrest, arrest on failure to pay the income tax, and deportation of an alien. They apply only to an act of a criminal or quasi-criminal nature or some activity prejudicial to public interest.

(b) The second part of Article 22 grants protection to persons who are arrested or detained under a preventive detention law. This protection is available to both citizens as well as aliens and includes the following:

(i) The detention of a person cannot exceed three months unless an advisory board reports sufficient cause for extended detention. The board is to consist of judges of a high court.
(ii) The grounds of detention should be communicated to the detenu. However, the facts considered to be against the public interest need not be disclosed.
(iii) The detenu should be afforded an opportunity to make a representation against the detention order.

Article 22 also authorises the Parliament to prescribe (a) the circumstances and the classes of cases in which a person can be detained for more than three months under a preventive detention law without obtaining the opinion of an advisory board; (b) the maximum period for which a person can be detained in any classes of cases under a preventive detention law; and (c) the procedure to be followed by an advisory board in an inquiry.

The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 has reduced the period of detention without obtaining the opinion of an advisory board from three to two months. However, this provision has not yet been brought into force, hence, the original period of three months still continues.

The Constitution has divided the legislative power with regard to preventive detention between the Parliament and the state legislatures. The Parliament has exclusive authority to make a law of preventive detention for reasons connected with defence, foreign affairs and the security of India.

Both the Parliament as well as the state legislatures can concurrently make a law of preventive detention for reasons connected with the security of a state, the maintenance of public order and the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community.

The preventive detention laws made by the Parliament are:
(a) Preventive Detention Act, 1950. Expired in 1969.
(b) Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA), 1971. Repealed in 1978.
(c) Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act (COFEPOSA), 1974.
(d) National Security Act (NASA), 1980.
(e) Prevention of Blackmarketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act (PBMSECA), 1980.
(f) Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), 1985. Repealed in 1995.
(g) Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (PITNDPSA), 1988.
(h) Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), 2002. Repealed in 2004.

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