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2017 (1) TMI 398

Head Note / Extract:
Principle of segregation - Detention order - Section 3(1) of the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974 - High Court has come to the conclusion that there were various grounds which formed the basis of the detention order and even if the documents pertaining to one particular ground were not furnished, that ground could be ignored applying the principle of segregation and on remaining grounds the detention order was still sustainable - whether the principle of severability of grounds, which is enshrined in Section 5A of the Act, is not applicable to the case at hand as the detention order was passed on one ground only? - Held that:- Each 'basic fact' would constitute a ground and particulars in support thereof or the details would be subsidiary facts or further particulars of the said basic facts which will be integral part of the 'grounds'. Section 3 of the Act does not use the term 'grounds'. No other provision in the Act defines 'grounds'. Different instances would be treated as different 'grounds' as they constitute basic facts making them essentially factual constituents of the 'grounds' and the further particulars which are given in respect of those instances are the subsidiary details.

When we apply the aforesaid test to the facts of this case, we are inclined to agree with the conclusion of the High Court that the order of detention is based on multiple grounds inasmuch as various different acts, which form separate grounds, are mentioned on the basis of which the detaining authority formed the opinion that it was desirable to put the appellant under detention. We, thus, reject the contention of the appellant that, in the instant case, the detention order is based only on one ground. Once it is found that the detention order contains many grounds, even if one of them is to be rejected, principle of segregation contained in Section 5A gets attracted.

In the instant case, the documents containing the statement of Pooran Chand Sharma were not given and for this very reason, the High Court rightly held that such a ground cannot be relied upon by the respondents in support of the order. However, that would not mean that if there are other grounds on which the detention order can be sustained, principle of severability would become inapplicable. If this is accepted, it would mean that provisions of Section 5A of the Act cannot be applied at all. While rejecting such a contention, it would be sufficient to point out that constitutional validity of Section 5A of the Act was challenged in this Court and repelled in the case of Attorney General for India & Ors. v. Amratlal Prajivandas & Ors. (1994 (5) TMI 235 - SUPREME COURT ) after discussing the provisions of Section 5A in the light of Article 22(5) of the Constitution. Therefore, this contention is not available to the appellant.


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