The Madras High Court today quashed the Goondas Act detention of five accused arrested in the Kodanad estate break-in-cum murder case, holding that there was a delay in disposing of their representations against their incarceration under the stringent law. A bench comprising Justices Rajiv Shakdher and N Sathishkumar set aside the July 17 last order of the Nilgiris District Collector detaining them under the Goondas Act. It was allowing habeas corpus petitions (filed to ensure a person under arrest is brought before a court which will determine whether the detention is legal) moved by the family members of the detenues -- Udayan, Satheesan, Tippu, Jamshed Ali and Manoj. The bench, in its order, said the representations given by the detunes against their detention were not disposed of within the stipulated time. It showed total inaction on the part of the concerned authorities and such delay affected the right of the detenu guaranteed under Article 22 (5) of the Constitution, which provides for affording earliest opportunity to persons detained under preventive laws to challenge it. The five were among ten people arrested in connection with the murder of a watchman at the Kodanad estate in the hilly Nilgris district, frequented by late chief minister J Jayalalithaa, and a robbery bid on April 24 this year. The accused -- Udayan, Satheesan, Tippu, Jamshed Ali and Manoj -- were arrested on different dates in the month of May by the police and are under judicial custody.
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