Manipur High Court quashes detention order of man accused of smuggling drugs
The accused Sinam Shambhu of Kakching Lamkhai, Kakching district was arrested in connection with two FIRs registered at Thoubal and Kaching police station under NDPS Act.
A detention order passed by the special secretary (Home) against a man detained for allegedly smuggling drugs was quashed by a division bench of the High Court of Manipur comprising justice Kh Nobin and justice A Bimol on Monday.
The accused Sinam Shambhu, 30, son of (L) Kishori of Kakching Lamkhai, Kakching district was arrested in connection with two FIRs registered at Thoubal and Kaching police station under NDPS Act, and he was remanded in judicial custody. He was alleged of being involved in transportation of illegal drugs and further alleged of being the kingpin in the supply of WY tablets in Manipur by coordinating with suppliers from Moreh as well as transporter and sellers at Imphal.
The division bench quashed the detention order stating that it did not complied with the procedure laid down by the Supreme Court on preventive detention.
Subsequently, the court directed that Sinam Shambhu should be released forthwith, if he is not for any other case.
The offences alleged to have been committed by the petitioner are serious ones and since two cases have been registered in that regard, the state government is expected to complete the investigation at an early date and to submit the charge sheet so that the petitioner can be put to trial.
The court observed that the power of preventive detention can be exercised, even if the detenu is already in custody.
However, the court noted that the exercise of such a power of preventive detention shall be subject to the procedure, as laid down by the Supreme Court in its various decisions, being strictly followed and adhered to by the detaining authority.
The state government is expected to instruct the detaining authority to keep in mind carefully the technicalities while passing the detention order. The non-compliance with the procedure will render the detention order to be illegal and this has exactly happened in the case, said the court.
While Shambhu is in custody, the detention order was passed by the special secretary (home), government of Manipur on April 22, 2021.
However, the ground of detention was furnished to him on April 29, 2021 with the averment that the same were furnished to him after eight days from the date of detention on account of the exceptional circumstances arising due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The detention order stated that he was likely to be released on bail in the near future and considering all his past activities, it was very likely that he would continue to act in the manner causing a threat to the society.
The accused had filed a writ petition questioning their legality on various grounds.
In one of its argument, petitioner’s counsel stated the detaining authority did not formulate the grounds of detention before passing the order of detention. As such, the counsel contended that order was bad in law and are, accordingly, liable to be quashed citing a decision of the Supreme Court.
In his second argument, the counsel further stated that the detaining authority did not indicate the likelihood of the petitioner being released on bail. Moreover, the failure to mention that the petitioner was already in custody in the detention order was also illegal, added the counsel.
Shambhu was arrested by a team of Thoubal police, following which another accused Yengkhom Bikram was arrested while a total of 2,24,204 WY tablets were seized on February 6, 2020.
Yengkhom Bikram who revealed his name during investigation disclosed that he transported the tablets under instruction of Shambhu. Further, another accused Irengbam Somorjit was arrested by a team of Kakching police on March 15, 2021 while WY tablets of about 5kg were seized.
Somorjit was arrested following a recorded statement made by Somorjit that the seized WY tablet of 5kg was to be transported to Guwahati by Shambhu. They were reported to be partners in the transportation of WY tablets and they had reportedly transported in the past as well.