Centre for Policy Alternatives on 2 September, 2008

The Centre for Policy Alternatives Vs. Secretary to the Ministry of Defence (SC FR 351/2008)

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In September 2008, The Centre for Policy Alternatives through its intervention managed to obtain a Supreme Court order on the 15th of December staying the operation of a purported amendment to the Emergency Regulations which allowed the Executive to detain a person in police custody for a prolonged period. According to the petition the Gazette notification 1561/11 issued on 5th August 2008, alters the scope of the law relating to detention under emergency law granting extraordinary discretion to the executive to decide place, manner and period of detention, severely affecting personal liberties and placing the subjects at great peril by allowing a person to be under police custody for 1 ½ years. The law under the Code of Criminal Procedure embodies distinct provisions as to the procedure to be followed immediately after an arrest is made by a police officer. Persons arrested and detained as above will necessarily be only ‘suspects’. Such prolonged detention of a suspect would deprive a person of his liberty and expose him to various forms of torture, and other cruel and inhuman or degrading treatment. Thus a power in the nature of the above amendment introduced by Gazette 1561/11, would have given opportunity for abuse of such discretion otherwise allowed under the exceptional circumstances affecting national security.

The Supreme Court granted Leave to proceed on 22nd September 2008. The proceedings were terminated on 15th December 2008 and the detention period of “18 months” was declared invalid.