Preventable abuse: SC calls out wrongful use of preventive detention. Such arrests must be made only in rare cases

Source: Times of India


The courts have made adverse remarks in the matter of preventive detention. This has raised the debate of fundamental rights and freedom as offered in the constitution. 

What is preventive detention? 

It means the detention of a person without trial and conviction by the court. It is a precautionary measure to prevent the person from committing any future offence which is also provided in Article 22 of the constitution.  

What is the current issue? 

Complaint against Telangana authorities who had detained the person for a year even after the person had been granted anticipatory bail in five cases. 

SC Observation in this matter 
  • SC instructed to detain the person only when he is a serious threat or likely to affect  public order 
  • In the recent case, police didn’t demand cancellation of anticipatory bail and kept the person in custody. 

What makes it Controversial? 

  • It gives power to the authorities to imprison a person without proper trial. 
  • There is no requirement to present the person before the magistrate within 24 hours of detention. 
  • Nearly 25% detenues were illiterate and 41% had sub-class 10 education.  

What is the Government’s justification? 

Several protests from history to the present day like the demand of statehood, reservation, labour & peasant issues, communal rights etc. have justified the need for Prevention detention to preserve the public order. 

What are the constitutional safeguards against preventive detention? 

  • Right to be informed on Grounds of arrest 
  • Right to consult & be defended by a lawyer 
  • Right to produce before the magistrate within 24 hours (excluding travel time) 
  • Right to be released after 24 hours unless magistrate authorizes further detention 


There is a need to use Preventive Detention only in Rarest of Rare cases. 

Even in these cases, Advisory boards should carefully vet the preventive detention. 

Terms to know: 

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