The Gujarat High Court has dismissed pleas challenging the detention order moved by three persons accused of gold smuggling, noting that though the Constitution and the Supreme Court are “very zealous of holding personal liberty of an individual”, it has to be “subordinated within reasonable bounds”, for the “good of people”.
The case dates back to June 2019 when Jignesh Savaliya, ground staffer at the Ahmedabad airport, was caught acting as a conduit for smuggling gold bars, delivered by a passenger Lokesh Sharma. It was meant to be delivered to Rutugna Trivedi who was waiting outside the terminal. Sharma was travelling from Dubai and was handed the gold bars by his wife at the duty free area of Dubai airport. Trivedi’s accountant Nita Parmar too was implicated.
Preventive detention order was issued in August 2019 under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and of Smuggling Activities Act against Sharma, Parmar and Trivedi. The trio challenged the order before the HC.
The central government submitted that smuggling activities were going on since 2014-15 and on June 2019, 25 kg smuggled gold was caught.
Rejecting the plea to quash and set aside the detention order on July 21, Justice AP Thaker noted, “The importance of foreign exchange in the development of a country needs no emphasis…One must remember that a person who violates foreign exchange regulation or indulge in smuggling activities, succeeds in frustrating the development and the growth of the country.”
The court also factored in the non-cooperation of Parmar and Trivedi to submit themselves before the authorities concerned. “…when preventive detention is aimed to protect the safety and security of everyone, a balance has to be struck between liberty of an individual and the needs of the society,” the court concluded.