The Madras High Court recently quashed a detention order issued under
the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling
Activities Act (COFEPOSA) Act, 1974 against a practising lawyer, ordering his
- It was passed by the Parliament on 13th December 1974, to provide for
preventive detention in certain cases for the purposes of conservation and
augmentation of foreign exchange and prevention of smuggling activities
and for matters connected therewith.
- The Central Government or the State Government or any joint secretary of
central government and secretary of state government can order the
detention of a person (including a foreigner), in case of1. Smuggling;
- Abetting smuggling;
- Transport, concealing, storing;
- Harbouring persons involved in smuggling;
- Dealing in smuggled goods;
- Any order by the State government is to be forwarded to the Central
government within 10 days.
- Grounds for detention are to be communicated within 5 days to detenu.
Delay of up to 15 days is allowed if the reason is given in writing.
- The detaining authority requires to satisfy the courts and also the detenu
that he has acted in accordance with the laws with due consideration.
- High Courts can examine detention orders prior to execution. A detention
order cannot be challenged at pre execution stage on the grounds of delay
- The ”rder can be executed anywhere in India, similar to arrest warrants
under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
- Government should, within 5 weeks of the date of detention, make a
reference to the Advisory Board.
- Advisory Board to report within 11 weeks of the detention order. If
satisfied, the detention period can be extended to one year.
- If, in the opinion of the advisory board, there is insufficient cause for
detention, the order is revoked, and the person is released.