- Preventive detention means to detain a person so that to prevent that person from commenting on any possible crime or in other words preventive detention is an action taken by the administration on the grounds of the suspicion that some wrong actions may be done by the person concerned which will be prejudicial to the state.
- Preventive Detention is the most contentious part of the scheme fundamental rights in the Indian constitutions Article 22(3) provides that if the person who has been arrested or detained under preventive detention laws then the protection against arrest and detention provided under article22 (1) and22 (2) shall not be available to that person.
Object of the Preventive Detention
The object of Preventive Detention is not to Punish but to prevent the detenu from doing something which is prejudicial to the State.
Grounds for Preventive Detention
Preventive detention can, however, be made only on four grounds.
The grounds for Preventive detention are:
- Security of state,
- maintenance of public order,
- maintenance of supplies and essential services and defense,
- Foreign affairs or security of India.
A person may be detained without trial only on any or some of the above grounds. A detainee under preventive detention can have no right of personal liberty guaranteed by Article 19 or Article 21.
Safeguards Provided In Constitution
To prevent reckless use of Preventive Detention, certain safeguards are provided in the constitution.
- A person may be taken to preventive custody only for 3 months at the first instance. If the period of detention is extended beyond 3 months, the case must be referred to an Advisory Board consisting of persons with qualifications for appointment as judges of High Courts. It is implicit, that the period of detention may be extended beyond 3 months, only on approval by the Advisory Board.
- The detainee is entitled to know the grounds of his detention. The state, however, may refuse to divulge the grounds of detention if it is in the public interest to do so. Needless to say, this power conferred on the state leaves scope for arbitrary action on the part of the authorities.
- The detaining authorities must give the detainee earliest opportunities for making representation against the detention.
- These safeguards are designed to minimize the misuse of preventive detention. It is because of these safeguards that preventive detention, basically a denial of liberty, finds a place on the chapter on fundamental rights. These safeguards are not available to enemy aliens.