By Himani Baid
The Gujarat High Court asked the State Government to explain ‘How State visualizes the lady to earn her livelihood, from being away from her home for six months‘.
On July 6 the Bench of Justice Paresh Upadhyay stayed an externment order passed by the Gujarat Government wherein a widow lady was externed for a time of six months from the District of Bharuch, for offenses of bootlegging liquor.
The externment order was passed in the exercise of powers under Section 56(a) of the Gujarat Police Act, 1951.
The petitioner was a widow from Lakhi village in Bharuch district. She was reserved by Bharuch Marine police station on six occasions, mostly for shipping country liquor in a quantity of three-four liters. Also, once, she was allegedly caught with liquor worth Rs 1,600. On February 23, a sub-divisional magistrate requested her to leave Bharuch district for six months.
Further, it was submitted that the Sub-divisional magistrate had passed the order without offering a chance of hearing and to appoint an advocate. It was likewise stated that mere registration of F.I.R cannot be said to be proof that the petitioner is a dangerous person or bootlegger.
It was additionally contended that the petitioner is a widow and has no home outside the Bharuch district and even then, she was externed from the entire district Bharuch for a petty offense, and this plainly demonstrates that the order was passed without applying the mind.
Furthermore, it was argued that she is not engaged in the business of prohibition which affected public health but the allegation against the petitioner was for an offence under the prohibition act but the amount which is alleged is Rs 60 only, therefore, the order against the petitioner is illegal and non-application of mind.
Taking everything into account, the Court found that ends of justice would meet if the further execution and implementation of the externment order is suspended. Therefore, the Court ordered that further implementation and execution of the impugned externment order shall remain stayed.
Additionally, the government has been asked to reply by August 6, when a further hearing has been posted.