Indiscriminate externment can devastate families: HC

A single-judge of the Nagpur bench of the court Justice Ashok Bhangale last week quashed the notice against the businessman, terming it as "indefensible" after observing that his dependents including parents, wife and children would become vagrant and destitute due to the externment of the sole earning member of the family.

Aleem Khan Salim Khan (29) had challenged an order against him, passed by Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of Morshi in Amaravati district on March 8, for allegedly indulging in various criminal cases and posing a threat to the lives and properties of nearby residents as well as to the social fabric of the society.

The Magistrate had directed that Khan be externed for two years under Section 56(a) and (b) of the Bombay Police Act, 1951.

However, the court observed that the authority, before passing the order, must satisfy itself about sufficient reason to believe that there is clear and present danger based upon credible information that an externee may cause hazards to safety in the locality, unless externed.

According to the petitioner, police officer at Morshi had first forwarded the externment proposal through Superintendent of Police, Amaravati on November 16 last year, alleging that Khan had many cases registered against him at different police stations.

The SDM then asked the sub-divisional police officer to conduct an enquiry and submit a report. On the same day, a show-cause notice was issued to Khan, as to why he should not be externed.

Later, the Sub-Divisional officer called the petitioner to appear with only two witnesses to reply.

Accordingly, Khan replied stating that he was acquitted in four cases and discharged in one case. The court said the notice issued to the petitioner contained vital defects such as remarks on the "court pending" cases.

"Such cases were suggestive of want of inquiry and non-application of mind when judgements of acquittals were brought to the notice of the authority," Justice Bhangale observed.

The court mentioned that powers were vested in the authority to take prophylactic action to protect the society from imminent dangers, but such action must be fair and reasonable.

"Passing an externment order in view of the nature of offences would not be the sole criteria. The authority will have to inquire as to whether the present activity of the individual concerned, has reached such degree of harm that in the interest of the society and people of that particular locality, the person should be externed," it said.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get the top news in your inbox
Comments (+)