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Can't detain anyone on merely fear of breach of law and order: Supreme Court

11:35 PM Aug 02, 2021 | FPJ Bureau

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday said a preventive detention order can only be passed if the activities of the detenu affects or are likely to adversely affect the maintenance of public order. The court said this as it quashed the Telangana government's detention order against a man, booked in several criminal cases related to fraud and forgery, saying that for public order to be disturbed, “there must in turn be public disorder”, affecting the society at large.

A close reading of the detention order, under the Telangana Prevention of Dangerous Activities Act (TPDAA), makes it clear that it was issued not on any apprehension of widespread public harm, danger or alarm but only because the detenu was successful in obtaining anticipatory bail/bail from the Courts in each of the five FIRs against him, the apex court said.

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A bench of Justices RF Nariman and BR Gavai allowed the appeal against the Telangana High Court order dismissing the plea filed by a woman challenging the

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detention order passed against her husband under the TPDAA.

It said that while it cannot seriously be disputed that the detenu may be a “white collar offender” as defined under provisions of TPDAA, yet a preventive detention order can only be passed if his activities adversely affect or are likely to adversely affect the maintenance of public order.

The bench noted that a public order as defined under the Act is to be a harm, danger or alarm or a feeling of insecurity among the general public or any section thereof or a grave widespread danger to life or public health.

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