One Stray Incident Doesn’t Make Habitual Offender: All HC Quashes Order Passed under Goonda Act

Quashing an order passed under the Goonda Act, the Allahabad High Court at Lucknow has held that one cannot be treated to be a habitual offender unless and until there is a recurrence of offences.

A writ petition was filed for quashing the order dated 11.2.2021 passed by Commissioner Devi Patan Mandal, Gonda under Section 6(1) of the U.P. Control of Goondas Act, 1970 rejecting appeal against the order dated 3.12.2020 passed by the District Magistrate Shrawasti, by which order of district externment for six months has been passed.

Sri  Pawan Kumar Mishra, Counsel for the petitioner submitted that there is a solitary criminal case against the petitioner and the petitioner is on bai, therefore, he cannot be said to be a habitual offender. He further submitted that the petitioner is neither a Gang Leader nor a member of any gang. 

Justice Karunesh Singh Pawar of Allahabad High Court at Lucknow considering the definition of “Goonda” u/s 2(b) and Section 3 of the 1970 Act and Judgment of Supreme Court in the case of Vijay Narain Singh versus State of Bihar and others : (1984) 3 SCC 14 observed:

One cannot be treated to be a habitual offender unless and until there is a recurrence of offences. Since there is a reference of one stray incident only in the notice, the petitioner could not be deemed to be a habitual offender on the basis of that single incident only and so the notice fails to satisfy the legal requirement.

In view of the above the Court quashed the order passed by the Commissioner and District Magistrate

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