Legal Framework of Preventive Detention in India

GS-2 Mains

Short Notes or Revision Notes 

 Question : Analyze the constitutional safeguards provided under Article 22 for individuals subjected to preventive detention in India.


  • Detentions to prevent potential crimes, based on suspicion.
  • Used for national security, public order, etc.

Difference from Punitive Detention:

  • Punitive – for past crimes after trial.
  • Preventive – to stop future crimes.

Safeguards in Constitution (Article 22):

  • Maximum initial detention: 3 months.
  • Extension requires Advisory Board review.
  • Detainee has right to know grounds (except public interest cases).
  • Opportunity to make representation.

Arguments For:

  • National Security:Addresses internal/external threats like terrorism.
  • Public Order:Prevents escalation of violence during unrest.
  • Preserving Sovereignty:Detains individuals involved in sedition, espionage, etc.
  • Deterrence:Discourages potential offenders.

Arguments Against:

  • Colonial Legacy:Introduced during British rule, targeting freedom fighters.
  • Misuse Potential:State can withhold grounds, creating room for arbitrariness.
  • Rights Infringement:Suspends fundamental rights under preventive detention.
  • Suspicion-Based:Allows detention based on suspicion, not concrete evidence.
  • Peacetime Measure:Unlike some countries (UK, US, Canada) where it’s a wartime measure.

Way Forward:

  • Limited judicial review due to emphasis on “subjective satisfaction” of the state.
  • More safeguards for detainees to minimize misuse.
  • Judicial scrutiny to ensure proper procedure by government.


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