The Supreme Court of India upholds the constitutional validity of Section 3(1) of Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974 (COFEPOSA) to the extent it empowers the competent authority to make an order of detention against any person “with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the conservation or augmentation of foreign exchange”.
The Court said “On the touchstone of constitutional jurisprudence, as reflected by Article 22 read with Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India, we do not think that the impugned provision is rendered unconstitutional. There is no constitutional mandate that preventive detention cannot exist for an act where such act is not a criminal offence and does not provide for punishment. An act may not be declared as an offence under law but still for such an act, which is an illegal activity, the law can provide for preventive detention if such act is prejudicial to the state security. After all, the essential concept of preventive detention is not to punish a person for what he has done but to prevent him from doing an illegal activity prejudicial to the security of the State.”