colourable exercise of power

A preventive detention order may be quashed on the ground of colourable exercise of power if there is no rational material for the subjective satisfaction of the detaining authority, or that the material is such that no reasonable person could possibly arrive at such satisfaction on its basis.

A considerable delay, say of two or three months, between the date of making the detention order and the arrest of the person concerned thereunder has been held to throw doubt on the genuineness of the subjective satisfaction of the detaining authority. For it authority was genuinely satisfied that it was necessary to detain the person concerned so as to prevent him from committing prejudicial activities, then the authority should act promptly to arrest him after making the order and not let him remain at large to carry on his objectionable activities. Therefore, if the authority fails to furnish a reasonable explanation for the delay, the subjective satisfaction may be inferred to be ‘colourable’ and not genuine.

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