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HC orders release of 2 persons detained under NSA

Nagaland News

Court notes ‘casual, routine, mechanical’ handling of case by officials

DIMAPUR, APRIL 9: Citing lack of material evidence and “casual and routine manner” of issuing orders by State officials, the Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court has ordered the immediate release of two persons detained under National Security Act (NSA).
In two separate orders issued on April 8, Justice Arun Dev Choudhury set aside and quashed detention orders and all other subsequent orders issued against Otoka Zhimo and Elithung Lotha and ordered their forthwith release, if they were not in custody for any other proceeding.
According to Court records, the two persons were arrested in September last year (separate incidents) by personnel of East Police Station, Dimapur, in alleged cases of extortion.
In the case of Otoka Zhimo, Justice Choudhury noted that there were no records of material evidence, except the FIR, seized documents and the report filed by the Investigating Officer (IO).
Further, he noted that the detention order was simply a replica of the report of IO.
“The report of the IO is also based on the same materials i.e. the FIR, the seized document, except a statement that detenue is under judicial custody and in the event of his release in bail, he will act prejudicially, no other materials are available.
“The office note dated October 4, 2021 of the Special Secretary (Home), preceded by the order of detention dated October 6, 2021, reflects his knowledge of custody of the detenue. But the record reveals no material or any independent application of mind, except the documents annexed with the proposal of detention dated September 24, 2021 and detention order dated September 27, 2021. No independent application of mind and no material to suggest such satisfaction is available on record”, he stated.
Choudhury pointed out that in the case in hand, the material available on record reflects that the detention was proposed on the basis of the findings during the investigation of the Dimapur East PS; the special report of IO and the proposal of DCP are replicas of each other.
“The materials reflect that the basis of such satisfaction of detention is recovery of six numbers of demand letters of one organization namely NNC (Parent Body) and that the detenue demanded tax from the complainant. Except repetition of what has been described in the FIR, nothing more is discernable from the proposal. The record also reveals that the Special Secretary (Home) Nagaland, Kohima, has relied only on FIR and the recovery of demand note and no other independent material or independent application of mind by the CP is discernable from the record. The same is the case relating to approval by the Chief Secretary.
“In the case in hand as observed hereinabove, there is no material either to have such satisfaction or any reflection of availability of such material is discernable from the orders and the records placed before this Court. Therefore, this Court is of the considered opinion that the detention order has been passed mechanically and in a casual and routine manner, which cannot be permitted”, he stated.
Thus, he ordered that the detention order and all other subsequent orders extending the detention of the detenue be set aside and quashed.
In the case of Elithung Lotha, the Court noted that on the date of proposal for detention and on the date of the order of detention issued by the Commissioner of Police, Dimapur, on September 27, 2021, the detenue was already released on bail by a competent Court of law by its order issued on September 24, 2021.
“The record reveals that the detenue was not under judicial custody in any other case. Thus this Court is of the considered opinion that the detention order dated October 6, 2021 is result of total non-application of mind and the same is liable to be interfered.
“In view of the aforesaid discussion, decisions and reasons, the detention order dated September 27, 2021 and the approval October 6, 2021 and all other subsequent orders extending the detention of the detenue are set aside and quashed”, the order stated.
(Page News Service)