Article 22 — Calling Time on Preventive Detention
9 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2019
Date Written: September 17, 2019
Part III of the the Indian Constitution guarantees various fundamental rights to persons, and also details various regulations for the deployment of preventive detention laws by the Union and States. The alacrity with which preventive detention has thus been deployed as a law enforcement tool has alarmed some, and the politically motivated use of these powers is what has often attracted the most criticism. But amidst this clash of arms, surprisingly little problem has been found with the constitutional scheme that regulates preventive detention law. This essay takes aim at Article 22 of the Constitution and argues that the minimum threshold it sets for legislatures is painfully inadequate. Rather than safeguard individual liberty against legislative tyranny, I argue that Article 22 is suborning these ideals instead. Is it time, then, to rid the Constitution of Article 22? Or, dare I say, time to finally question as Indians our glibness at the detention of thousands without trial every year?
Keywords: criminal procedure, constitutional law, due process
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