Supreme Court: Stating that the subjective satisfaction of the detaining authority under COFEPOSA is not immune from judicial reviewability, the bench of R. Banumathi and AS Bopanna, JJ has held that,
“the court must be conscious that the satisfaction of the detaining authority is “subjective” in nature and the court cannot substitute its opinion for the subjective satisfaction of the detaining authority and interfere with the order of detention.”
The Court dealing with a case where a huge volume of gold had been smuggled into the country unabatedly in the last three years and about 3396 kgs of the gold had been brought into India during the period from July 2018 to March, 2019 camouflaging it with brass metal scrap. The detaining authority recorded finding that this has serious impact on the economy of the nation. Detaining authority also satisfied that the detenues have propensity to indulge in the same act of smuggling and passed the order of preventive detention, which is a preventive measure.
Holding that the High Court erred in interfering with the satisfaction of the detaining authority, the Court refused to accept the contention that the courts should lean in favour of upholding the personal liberty,
“the liberty of an individual has to be subordinated within reasonable bounds to the good of the people. Order of detention is clearly a preventive measure and devised to afford protection to the society. When the preventive detention is aimed to protect the safety and security of the nation, balance has to be struck between liberty of an individual and the needs of the society.”
The Court, hence, upheld the detention of the Gold smuggler.
[Union of India v. Dimple Happy Dhakad, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 875, decided on 18.07.2019]