PREVENTIVE DETENTION (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     6th September 2023        

Context: Holding that governments cannot resort to preventive detention as a “tool for enforcement of law and order”, the Supreme Court has ruled that a habitual offender cannot be put under detention because of his habituality of committing offences but only when he is seen as having the potential to cause “public disorder”.

  • The court distinguished between 'law and order' and 'public disorder,' providing a clear distinction between these concepts.
  • The distinction made was that when an offence targets an individual, it falls under the category of "law and order."
  • Conversely, a person can be considered to have disrupted "public order" when their conduct adversely affects the general public.

Preventive Detention

  • It involves holding an individual without a trial or court conviction. Its primary objective is not punishment for a prior crime but to avert potential future offences.
  • The maximum duration of such detention is capped at 3 months unless an advisory board substantiates the need for an extended detention period.
  • Article 22: Protection is afforded to individuals arrested or detained.
  • Article 22 comprises two segments: the first addresses ordinary law situations, while the second pertains to preventive detention law scenarios.
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