The Madras High Court recently quashed a detention order issued under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act (COFEPOSA) Act, 1974 against a practising lawyer, ordering his release.
GS II: Polity and Governance
Dimensions of the Article:
- About the COFEPOSA Act
- Advisory Boards under Preventive Detention Laws
- Other Preventive Detention Laws in India
About the COFEPOSA Act:
- The COFEPOSA Act was passed by the Parliament on December 13, 1974, with the following objectives:
- To enable preventive detention in specific cases related to the conservation and augmentation of foreign exchange.
- To prevent smuggling activities and associated matters.
- Power to Make Detention Orders:
- The Central Government, State Government, or designated authorities such as a joint secretary of the central government and secretary of a state government can issue detention orders for individuals (including foreigners) in cases of:
- Assisting in smuggling.
- Transporting, concealing, or storing smuggled goods.
- Providing shelter to individuals involved in smuggling.
- Dealing in smuggled goods.
- Any detention order issued by the State government must be sent to the Central government within 10 days.
Grounds for Detention:
- The reasons for detention must be communicated to the detained individual within 5 days. A delay of up to 15 days is permissible if provided in writing.
- The detaining authority must satisfy both the courts and the detainee that the detention was carried out in accordance with the law and after due consideration.
Review by High Courts:
- High Courts have the authority to examine detention orders before their execution.
- Detention orders cannot be challenged at the pre-execution stage on grounds of delay in execution.
- Detention orders can be executed anywhere in India, similar to arrest warrants under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
Advisory Boards under Preventive Detention Laws:
- The government is required to refer cases of preventive detention to an Advisory Board within five weeks of the date of detention.
- The Advisory Board is responsible for reviewing the detention and must provide its report within 11 weeks of receiving the detention order.
- If the Advisory Board is satisfied with the grounds for detention, the detention period can be extended up to one year.
- However, if the Advisory Board believes there is insufficient cause for detention, the order is revoked, and the person is released.
Other Preventive Detention Laws in India:
Apart from the COFEPOSA Act, India has several other preventive detention laws designed to address various aspects of national security, illegal activities, and public order. Some of these laws include:
- National Security Act (NSA), 1980
- Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) of 1967
- Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (PITNDPS) Act, 1988
- Prevention of Black Marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980
- Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA)
-Source: The Indian Express