Preventive Detention Statute I / The Revival of Ray LXIX

Frances Coralie Mullin v. W.C. Khambra, (1980) 2 SCR 1095; Vijay Narain Singh v. State of Bihar, (1984) 3 SCC 14; Union of India v. Yumnam Anand, (2007) 10 SCC 190; Yumman Ongbi Lembi Leima v. State of Manipur, (2012) 2 SCC 176; Mungala Yadamma v. State of A.P., (2012) 2 SCC 386.

In an important passage, this Court [Rekha v. State of Tamil Nadu, (2011) 5 SCC 244] then dealt with certain general observations made by Constitution Bench in Haradhan Saha v. State of West Bengal, (1975) 3 SCC 198.


There can be no doubt, for ‘public order’ to be disturbed, there must in turn be ‘public disorder’. Mere contravention of law such as indulging in cheating or criminal breach of trust certainly affects ‘law and order’ but before it can be said to affect ‘public order’, it must affect the community or the public at large. Preventive Detention is a necessary evil only to prevent ‘public disorder’. Court must ensure facts brought before it directly and inevitably lead to a harm, danger or alarm or feeling of insecurity among the general public or any section thereof at large. The harm, danger or alarm or feeling of security among the general public spoken of in Section 2(a) of The Telangana Prevention of Dangerous Activities Act, 1986 is make believe and totally absent in the facts of the present case.

At the highest, a possible apprehension of breach of ‘law and order’ can be said to be made out if it is apprehended, detenu, if set free, will continue to cheat gullible persons. This cannot provide the springboard to move under a Preventive Detention Statute. We, therefore, quash Preventive Detention Order, dated 28.09.2020, under Section 3(2) of The Telangana Prevention of Dangerous Activities Act, 1986.

Hon’ble Justice R.F. Nariman, Banka Sneha Sheela v. State of Telengana, [Criminal Appeal No. 733 of 2021].