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The Bombay High Court has ruled that the arrest of a woman bootlegger who repeatedly engaged in the manufacturing and distribution of country-made liquor which endangers the lives of people in the vicinity. Based on facts and circumstances, the witnesses presented the Commissioner of Police’s decision to detain the suspect cannot be intervened and the writ petition was dismissed. 

  • The writ petition challenges a detention order issued by the Pune Police Commissioner on September 1st, 2023. The petitioner is the woman bootlegger seeking the cancellation of the order. 
  • Continuously engaging the activities that creates harm and danger to the families was the reason for the detention of the petitioner.  
  • The police believe the woman they arrested (petitioner) is a bootlegger. They are convinced that she has been making and selling illegal alcohol for a long time.
  • The police view her actions as a serious threat to the health and lives of people in the area. They point out that many people have become addicted to this dangerous alcohol she sells.
  • The police state that addiction in a community, especially among those who financially support families, can cause major problems. They believe her entire operation, from making the liquor to getting people addicted, is a clear danger to public order and stability.

The court based its decision on witness testimonies. Witnesses claimed the petitioner was running an illegal liquor operation in the neighborhood. They described her clients as including criminals and laborers who came to consume the distilled liquor. Most importantly, witnesses revealed a climate of fear. They testified that the petitioner threatened and attacked anyone who dared to complain about her business, in order to effectively silence the people in the area and enlarge her business. 

The judges emphasized the witness statements describing the petitioner’s actions as creating a “reign of terror” among the public. Considering this evidence and the overall circumstances, the court firmly rejected the petitioner’s challenge Writ Petition and upheld the detention order issued by the Pune Police Commissioner.

  • This court case involved Saraswati Rathod contesting her detention order issued in September 2023. The authorities detained her under a law targeting dangerous individuals like bootleggers. They presented evidence of past cases against her bootlegging activity, including a recent one from April 2023 under the state’s Prohibition Act. Crucially, authorities emphasized the high level of alcohol content 24% Ethyl Alcohol found in her illegal liquor, posing a significant health risk.

Hence the impugned order of arrest issued by the Commissioner of Police in Pune City on the petitioner who is the bootlegger was sustained and the claim of the petitioner for the cancellation of the order through a writ petition was dismissed. 

CASE NAME: Saraswati Santosh Rathod v. Commissioner of Police Pune City and Ors


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