Topic: Govind vs State Of Madhya Pradesh

Govind vs State Of Madhya Pradesh
Equivalent citations: 1975 AIR 1378, 1975 SCR (3) 946 - Bench: Mathew, Kuttyil Kurien - Date Of Judgment: 18/03/1975 - CITATION: 1975 AIR 1378 1975 SCR (3) 946, 1975 SCC (2) 148 - CITATOR INFO : RF 1981 SC 760 (5), R 1982 SC 710 (21)


Madhya    Pradesh Police Regulations, 855 and 856, made under s. 46    (2)(c) of Police Act, 1961--If violative of Arts. 19(1) (d) and 21.


The petitioner in a petition under Art. 32, challenged     the validity of Regulations 855 and 856 of the Madhya Pradesh Police    Regulations made by the Government under the Police Act, 1961. Regulation 855 provides that where on infor- mation     the District     Superintendent     believes that a particular individual is leading a life of crime, and     his conduct     shows a determination to lead a life of crime    that individual's name may     be ordered to    be entered in     the surveillance register, and he would be placed under regular surveillance.     Regulation 856 provides    that    such surveillance, inter alia may consist of domiciliary visits both by day and night at frequent but irregular intervals. It was contended that, (1) the Regulations were not framed under any provision of the Police Act, and (2) even if    they were framed tinder s. 46(2)     of the Police Act,     the provisions regarding domiciliary visits offended Arts. 19(1)(d) and 21.

Dismissing the petition,

HELD : (1) The Regulations were framed under s. 46(2)(c) of the Police Act and have the force of law. The paragraph provides that the State Government may make rules generally for giving effect to the provisions of the Act; and one of the objects of the Act is to prevent     the commission of crimes. The provision regarding domiciliary visits is intended to prevent commission of offences, because, their object is to see if the individual is at home or gone out of it for commission of offences. [949 F-G, H-950 A] (2) (a) Too broad a definition of privacy will raise serious questions about the propriety of judicial reliance on a right that is not explicit in the Constitution. The right to privacy will, therefore, necessarily, have to go through a process of case by case development.    Hence, assuming that the right to personal liberty. the right to    move freely throughout India and    the freedom of speech create an independent fundamental right of privacy as an emanation from them it could not he absolute. It must be subject to restriction on the basis of compelling public interest. But the law infringing it must satisfy the compelling state interest test. [954 B-C, H-955 B; 956 B-C] (b) Drastic inroads directly into privacy and indirectly into fundamental right will be made if the Regulations    were to be read too widely.    When there are two interpretations. one wide and unconstitutional, and the other narrower     but within constitutional bound,;, the Court will read down the over flowing expressions to make them valid. [955 D-E;     956 G]

(c) As the Regulations have force of law, the    petitioner's fundamental right under Art. 21 is not violated. [955 H] (d) It     cannot     be said that surveillance by     domiciliary visit-, would always be an unreasonable restriction upon the right of privacy. It is only persons who are suspected to be habitual criminals and those who are determined to lead a criminal life    that are Subjected to surveillance.     If 'crime' in this context is confined to such acts as involve public peace or security, the law imposing such a reasonable restriction must be upheld as valid. [956 C-D, F-H] [Legality apart, these regulations ill-accord with     the essence     of personal freedoms and the State will do well to revise these old Police Regulations. Domiciliary visits and picketing by the police should be reduced to the clearest cases of community security and should not become routine follow    up at the end of a conviction or release from jail, or at the whim of a police officer.] [957 A-C] 947

Kharak    Singh v. The State of U.P. & Ors., [1964] 1 S.C.R. 332, Griswold v. Connecticut, 381, U.S. 479, 510; Jane     Roe v. Henry Wade, 410 U.S. 113 and Olmstead v. United States. 277 U.S. 438. 471. referred to.


ORIGINAL JURISDICTION : Writ Petition No. 72 of 1970. Petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India. A. K. Gupta and R. A. Gupta for the Petitioner. Rant Punjwani, H. S. Parihar and I. N. Shroff, for the    Res- pondents.

The Judgment of the Court was delivered by MATHEW,     J. The petitioner is a citizen of     India.     He challenges the validity of Regulations 855 and 856 of     the Madhya    Pradesh Police Regulations purporting to be made by the Government     of Madhya Pradesh under s.46(2)(c) of     the Police Act, 1961.

The petitioner alleges that several false cases have    been filed against him in criminal courts by the police but    that he was acquitted in all but two cases.    He says that on     the basis that he is a habitual criminal, the police have opened a history sheet against him and that he has been put under surveillance.

The petitioner says that the police are making     domiciliary visits both by day and by night at frequent intervals,    that they are secretly picketing his house and the approaches to his house, that his movements are being watched by the patel of the village and that when the police come to the village for any purpose, he is called and harassed with the result that his reputation has sunk how in the estimation of     his neighbours. The petitioner submits that whenever he leaves the village for another place he has     to report to     the Chowkidar of the village or to the police station about     his departure and that he has to give further information about his destination and the period within which he would return. The petitioner contends that these actions of the police are violative of the fundamental right guaranteed to him under Articles 19(1)(d) and 21 of the Constitution, and he prays for a declaration that Regulations 855 and 856 are void as contravening his fundamental rights     under     the above Articles.

In the return filed, it is stated that "the petitioner     has managed     to commit many crimes during the period 1960 to 1969. In the year 1962 the petitioner was convicted in     one case under Section 452 IPC and was fined Rs. 100/- in default     rigorous imprisonment of two months and in another case he was convicted under Section 456 IPC and was fined Rs. 501- and in default rigorous imprisonment of one month. In the year 1969 the petitioner was convicted under Section 55/109    Cr.P.C. and was bound over for a period of one    year by SDM, Jatara. In the year     1969,    the petitioner     cot compounded a    case pending against    him under Section 325/147/324 IPC. Similarly, he also got another case under Section 341/324 ][PC compounded."


The case of the respondent in short is that the petitioner is a dangerous criminal whose conduct shows    that he is determined to lead a criminal life and that he was put under surveillance in order to prevent him from     committing offences.

Regulation 855 reads:

"855. Surveillaance proper, as distinct    from general supervision, should be restricted to those persons, whether    or not     previously convicted, whose conduct shows a determination to lead a life of crime.    The list of persons under

surveillance should include only those persons who are    believed to be really dangerous criminals. When     the entries in a history sheet, or any    other information at     his disposal, leads the District Superintendent to believe that a    particular a ndividual is leading a life of crime, he may order that his name be entered in the surveillance register. The Circle Inspector will thereupon (open a ?) history sheet, if one    is not     already in existence, and the man will be placed under regular surveillance."

Regulation 856 provides:

"856. Surveillance may, for practical purposes,     be defined as     consisting of     the following measures :

(a) Thorough periodical     enquiries by     the station-house officer as to repute, habits, association, income, expenses and occupation. (b) Domiciliary visits both by day and night at frequent but irregular intervals.

(c) Secret picketing of the     house     and approaches on    any occasion     when     the surveillance (surveillant?) is found absent. (d) The    reporting by patels, mukaddams     and kotwars ,of movements and absences from home. (e) The    verification of such movements     and absences by means of bad character rolls. (f) The collection in a history sheet of     all information bearing on conduct.

It must be remembered that the surest way of driving a man to a life of crime is to prevent him from earning an honest living. Surveillance should, therefore, never be an impediment to steady employment and should not be made unnecessarily irksome or    humiliating. The person under surveillance    should,     if possible     be assisted in finding steady employment, and     the practice    of warning persons against employing him must be strongly discouraged."


In Kharak Singh v. The State of U.P.    and Others(1)    this Court dad occasion to consider the validity of Regulation 236 of the U.P. Police Regulations which is in pari materia with Regulation 856 here. There it was held by a majority that regulation 236(b) providing for domiciliary visits     was unconstitutional for the reason that it abridged     the fundamental right of a person under Article 21 and since Regulation 236(b) did     not have the    force of law,     the regulation was declared bad. The other provisions of     the regulation were held to be constitutional. Teh decision that the regulation in question there was not taw was based upon a concession made on behalf of the State of U.P.    that the U.P. Police Regulations were not framed under any of the provisions of the Police Act.

The petitioner     submitted that as the regulations-     in question here were also not framed under any provision of the Police Act, the provisions regarding domiciliary visits in regulations     855 and 856 must be declared bad and    that even if the regulations were framed under s.46(2)(d) of     the Police Act, they offended the fundamental right of     the petitioner under Article 19(1)(d) as well as under Article 21 of the Constitution.

So far as the first contention is concerned, we are of     the view that the regulations were framed by the Government of Madhya Pradesh under s.46(2) (c) of the Police Act. Section 46(2) states that the State Government may, from time to time, by notification in the official gazette,     make rules consistent with the Act-

"(c) generally,    for giving effect to     the provisions of this Act."

The petitioner     contended that rules can be framed by     the State Government under s.46(2)(c) only for giving effect to the provisions     of the Act and that     the provisions in Regulation 856 for domiciliary visits and other matters     are not for the purpose    of giving effect to    any of     the provisions of the Police Act and therefore regulation 856 is ultra vires.

We do not think that the contention is right. There can be no doubt that one of the objects of the Police Act is to prevent     commission of offences. The preamble to the     Act states :

"Whereas    it is expedient to re-organise     the police and to make it     a more efficient instrument for the prevention and detection of crime."

And, s. 23 of the Act (so far as it is material) reads "It shall be the duty of every police officer.lll . to prevent the commission of offences and public nuisances... ".

We think that the provision in regulation 856     for domiciliary visits and other actions     by the police is intended to prevent the commission of offences.     The object of domiciliary visits is to see that

(1) [1964] 1 S.C.R. 332.


the person subjected to surveillance is in his home and     has not gone out of it for commission of any offence. We     are therefore of opinion that Regulations 855 and 856 have     the force of law.

The next question is whether the provisions of regulation 856 offend any of the fundamental rights of the petitioner. In Kharak Singh v. The State of U.P. & Others    (supra)     the majority said    that 'personal liberty' in Article 21 is comprehensive to include all varieties of rights which go to make up the personal liberty of a man other than those dealt with in Article 19(1)(d). According to the Court, while Article 19(1)(d) deals with the particular types of personal freedom, Article 21 takes in and deals with the residue. The Court said

"We have already extracted a passage from     the judgment    of Field J. in Munn    v. Illinois (1877) 94 U.S. 113, 142, where    the learned Judge pointed out the,,, 'life' in the 5th and 14th Amendments    of the     U.S.    Constitution corresponding to Art. 21 means not merely     the right to the continuance of a person's animal existence, but a right to the possession of each of his organs-his arms and legs etc. We do not entertain any doubt that the    word 'life' in Art. 21    bear,.,     the    same signification. Is then the word 'personal liberty' to be construed as excluding from its purview an invasion on the part of the police of the sanctity     of a    man's home and an intrusion     into his personal security and     his right to sleep which is the normal comfort and a dire neecessity for human existence even as an animal ? It might" not be in appropriate to refer here to the words of the preamble to the Constitution that it is designed to, "assure the dignity of the individual" and therefore of those cherished human value as the means of ensuring    his full development and evolution. We are referring to these objectives ,of the framers merely to draw     attention to     the concepts    underlying the     constitution which would point to such vital words as 'personal liberty'     having     to be construed in a reasonable manner and to be attributed    that sense which would promote and achieve those objectives and by no means to stretch     the meaning of the    phrase to square with     any preconceived notions     or     doctrinaire constitutional theories.

The Court then quoted a passage from the    judgment of Frankfurter J. in Wolf v. Coloradol(1) to the effect    that the security of one's privacy against arbitrary intrusion by the police is basic to a free society and that the knock at the door, whether by day or by night, as a prelude to a search, without authority of     law' but solely on     the authority of the Police, did not need     the commentary of recent    history     to be condemned as inconsistent-with     the conception of human rights enshrined in the history and     the basic constitutional documents of English-speaking peoples. The Court then said that at Common Law every man's- house is his castle and that embodies an abiding

(1) [1949] 338 U.S. 25.


principle transcending mere protection of property rights and expounds a concept of 'personal liberty' which does     not rest upon any element of feudalism or any theory of freedom which has ceased to exist. The Court ultimately came to the conclusion that regulation     236(b)     which authorised domiciliary visits was violative of Article 21 and "as there is no    'law' on the basis of     which the same could be justified, it must be struck down as unconstitutional".     The Court was of    the view that     the other provisions     in regulation 236 were not bad as no right of privacy has    been guaranteed by the Constitution.

Subba Rao, J. writing for the minority was of    the opinion that the word 'liberty' in Article 21 was comprehensive enough to include privacy also.     He said that although it is true our Constitution does not expressly declare a right to privacy     as a    fundamental right, but the right is an essential ingredient of personal liberty, that in the    last resort, a person's house where he lives with his family, is his 'castle's that nothing is more deleterious to a man's physical happiness and health than a calculated interference with his privacy and that all ,,he acts of    surveillance under Regulation 236 infringe the fundamental right of     the petitioner under Article 21 of the Constitution. And,as regards Article 19(1)(d), he was of the view that that right also Was violated. He said that the right under that    sub- Article     is not mere    freedom     to move without physical obstruction and observed that movement     under     the scrutinizing gaze of the policemen cannot be free movement, that the freedom of movement in cl. (d) therefore must be a movement in a free country, i.e., in a country where he can do whatever he likes, speak to whomsoever he    wants,    meet people    of his own choice without any apprehension, subject of course to the law of social control and that a person under the shadow of surveillance is certainly    deprived of this freedom.    He concluded by say in that Surveillance by domiciliary visits and other acts is -an abridgement of     the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19     (1)(i)     and under Article 19(1) (a). He however did not    specifically consider whether regulation 236 could be justified as a reasonable restriction     in public interest falling within Article 19(5).

It was submitted on behalf of the petitioner that right to privacy is itself a fundamental right and that that right is violated as regulation 856 provides for domiciliary visits and other incursions into it. The question whether right to privacy is itself a fundamental right 'lowing from the other fundamental rights guaranteed to a citizen under Part III is not easy of solution.

In Griswold v. Connecticut(1), a Connecticut statute    made the use of contraceptives a criminal offence. The executive and medical directors of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut were convicted in the Circuit Court on a charge of having violated the statute as accessories by giving information, instruction and advice to married persons as to the means of preventing conception. The appellate Division of the Circuit Court affirmed and its judgment was 'affirmed by the Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut.     On appeal the

(1) 381 U. S. 479, 510.


Supreme Court of the United States reversed. In an opinion by Douglas, J., expressing view of five members of     the Court,    it was     held that the statute    was invalid as an unconstitutional invasion of the right of privacy of married persons. He said that the right of freedom of speech press includes not only the right to utter or to print but    also the right to disribute, the right to receive, the right to read and that without those peripheral rights the specific right would be less secure and that likewise, the other specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed    by emanations from those guarantees that help    give them life and substance, that the various guarantees create zones    of privacy, aid that protection against     all governmental invasion "of the sanctity of a man's home     and the privacies    of life" was fundamental. He further    said that the inquiry is whether a right involed "is 'of such a character that it cannot -be -denied without violating those 'fundamental principles of liberty and justice which lie at the base of all our civil and political institutions'     and that 'privacy    is a fundamental personal right, emanating from the totality of the constitutional scheme under which we (Americans) live.

In his     dissenting opinion, Mr. Justice Black    berated     the majority for discovering and applying a constitutional right to privacy. His reading of the Constitution failed to uncover     any provision or provisions forbidding the passage of any law that might abridge the 'privacy' of individuals. In Jane Roe v. Henry Wade("), an unmarried pregnant woman who wished to terminate her pregnancy by abortion instituted an action in the United State strict Court for the Northern District of Texas, seeking a declaratory judgment that     the Texas criminal abortion statutes, which prohibited abortions except    with respect to those     procured or attempted by medical     advice     for the purpose of saving the life of     the mother, were unconstitutional.    The Supreme Court said    that although the Constitution of the U.S.A. does not explicitly mention     any right of privacy, the United States Supreme Court recognizes that a right of personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy, does exist under the Constitution, and "that the roots of     that right may be found in the First Amendment, in the Fourth and    Fif, Amendments. in the penumbras of the Bill of Rights, in     the ninth Amendment, and in the concept of liberty guaranteed by the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment" and that     the "right to privacy is not absolute",

The usual starting point in any discussion of the growth of legal concept of privacy, though not necessarily the correct one, is the famous article,"The     Right    to Privacy" by Charles     Warren     and Louis D. Brandeis    (2).What was truly creative in the article was their insistence thatprivacy,- the right to be let alone-was an interest that man should be able to assert directly and    not derivatively from     his efforts     to protect other interests.     To Protect man's "inviolate Personality" against the intrusive behaviour so increasingly evident

(1) 410 U. S. 113.

(2) See 4 Harvard Law Rev. 193.


in their time, Warren and Brandeis thought that the     law should    provide     both a criminal and a private    law remedy. "Once a civilization has made a distinction    between     the 'outer'     and the 'inner' man, between the life of the    soul and the life of the body, between the     spiritual and     the materials between the sacred and the profane,    between     the realm of God and the realm of Caesar, between Church     and state,    between rights inherent and inalienable     and rights that are in the power of government to give and take away, between public and private, between society and solitude, it becomes impossible to avoid the idea of privacy by whatever name it may be called- the idea of a 'private space in which man may become and remain 'himself"(11). There can be no doubt that the makers of our    Constitution wanted    to ensure conditions favourable to the     pursuit of happiness. They certainly realized as Brandeis, J. said in his dissent in Olmstead v. United State(2) the significance of man's spiritual nature. of his feelings    and of     his intellect and    that only a part of the pain, pleasure, satisfication of life can be found in material     things     and therefore they     must be deemed to have conferred upon     the individual as    against     the government a sphere where he should be let alone.

"The liberal individualist tradition     has stressed,     in particular, three personal ideals,    to each of which corresponds a range of 'private affairs'. The first is     the ideal of personal relations; the second, the Lockean ideal of the     politically free man     in a    minimally regulated society; the third, the Kantian ideal of    the morally autonomous man, acting on principles that he     accepts as rational"(8).

There can be no doubt that privacy-dignity claims deserve to be examined with care and to be denied only when an important countervailing interest is shown to be superior. If the Court does find that aclaimed right is entitled     to protection as a fundamental privacy right,a law infringing it must satisfy the compelling state interest test. Then the question would be whether a state interest is of    such paramount importance as would justify an infringement of the right.    Obviously, if the enforcement of morality were    held to be a compelling as well as a permissible state interest, the characterization of a claimed rights as a     fundamental privacy     right    would be of far less     significance. The question whether enforcement of morality is    a interest- sufficient to    justify the infringement of a     fundamental right need not be considered for the purpose of this    case and therefore we refuse to enter the controversial thicket whether enforcement of morality is a function of state. Individual autonomy, perhaps the central concern of     any system of limited government, is protected in part under our Constitution by

(1) see "privacy and the Law: A philosophical    prelude" by Milton    R. Konvitz in 31 Law & Contemporary Problems (1966) p. 272, 273.

(2) 277 U. S. 438, 471.

(3) see Benn, "Privacy, Freedom and Respect for Persons" in J. Pennock & J. Chapman, Eds., Privacy Nomos XIII, 115-16. 954

explicit constitutional guarantees. "In the application of the Constitution our contemplation cannot only be of    what has been but what may be." Time works changes     and brings into existence new condition Subtler and far reaching means of invadings privacy will make it possible to be heard in the street what is whispered in the closet. Yes too broad a, definition of privacy raises serious questions about this propriety of judicial     reliance on a    right that is     not explicit in the Constitution of course, privacy primarily concerns the individuals. I     therefore relates to     and overlaps with    the concept,of liberty.     The most serious advocate of privacy must confess that there are. serious problems of defining the essence and scope of     the right. Privacy     interest in autonomy must also be placed in     the context of other right and values.

Any right to privacy must encompass and protect the personal intimacies of    the home, the family marriage,     motherhood, procreation .and child rearing.     This catalogue approach to the question is obviously .not as instructive as it does not give analytical picture of that distinctive characteristics of the right of privacy. Perhaps, the only suggestion    that can be offered as unifying principle underlying the concept has been the    assertion that a claimed right     must be a fundamental right implicit in the concept    of ordered liberty.

Rights    and freedoms of citizens are     set forth in     the Constitution in order' to guarantee that the individual, his personality and those things stamped. with his     personality shall be free from official interference except where a reasonable basis for intrusion exists. 'Liberty against government" a phrase coined by Professor Corwin expresses this idea forcefully. In this sense, many of     the fundamental rights of citizens can     be described     as contributing to the right to privacy.

As Ely says : "There is nothing to prevent one     from using the word privacy': to mean, the freedom to live one's    life without governmental interference. But the Court obviously does not so use the term. Nor could it for such a right is at stake in every case"(")

There are two possible theories for protecting     privacy of home The first is that activities in the home    harm others only to the extent that they cause offence resulting    from the mere thought that individuals might engaging in    such activities that such' harm'     is not constitutionally protectible by the state. The second is that    individual,, need a     place    of sanctuary where they     can be free    from societal control The importance of such a sanctuary is    that individuals can drop    the mask. desist for a     while    from projecting on the world the lmage they want to be accepted as themselves, an image that may,reflect the values of their peers rather than the realities of their natures (2). The right to privacy in any event will necessarily have to go through a process of case-by se 'development. Therefore, even assuming,

(1) see "The    Wages of Crying Wolf: A Commert     on Roe v. Wade, 82 Yale L. J. 920, 932.

(2) see 26 Standford Law Rev. 1161 at 1187. 955

that the right to personal liberty, the right to move freely throughout the territory of India and the freedom of speech create an independent right of privacy as an emanation    from them which one can characterize as a fundamental right, we do not think that the right is absolute. The European Convention on Human Rights, which came Into, force \on 3-9-1953, represents a valiant attempt     to tackle the new problem. Article 8 of the Convention is worth citing:(1).

"1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private andfamily life,     his home and     his correspondence.

"2. There shall be no interference by a public authority     with the exercise of     this right except such as is in accordance with the     law and is necessary in a democratic     society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic     well-being of     the country,    for the prevention of    disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection    of the     rights     and freedoms of others."

Having    reached     this conclusion, we    are satisfied    that drastic     inroads directly into the privacy and indirectly into the fundamental. rights, of a citizen will be made if Regulations 855 and 856 were to be read    widely.     To interpret the    rule 'm harmony with the Constitution is therefore necessary and canalisation of the powers vested in the police by     the two Regulations earlier read becomes necessary, if    they are to be saved at all. Our founding fathers     were thoroughly opposed to a Police Rajeven as     our history     of the struggle for freedom    has borne eloquent testimony to it. The relevant Articles of the    Constitution we have adverted to earlier, behave us therefore to narrow down the scope for play of the two Regulations.     We proceed to give direction and restriction to the application of     the said regulations with the caveat that if any    action    were taken beyond the boundaries so set, the citizen will     be, entitled to attack such action as-unconstitutional and void. Depending on the character and antecedents,of     the person subjected to surveillance as also the objects and     the limitation under which surveillance is made, it cannot be said surveillance by domiciliary visits. would always be unreasonable restriction upon the right of privacy. Assuming that the fundamental rights explicitly guaranteed to a citi- zen have penumbral zones and that the right to     privacy is itself    a fundamental right, that fundamental right must be subject     to restriction on the basis of compelling public interest As regulation 856 has the force of law, it cannot be said that the fundamental right of, the petitioner under Article 21 has been violated by the provisions contained in it for, what is guaranteed under' that Article is that no person    shall he deprived of his life or personal liberty except by the

(1) see "Privacy- Human Rights", ed.    A. H. Robertson p.



procedure established    by 'law'.    We think that     the procedure is reasonable having regard to the provisions of Regulations 853 (C) and 857. Even if we hold that Article 19(1)(d) guarantees to a citizen a right to privacy in     his movement as an emanation from that Article and is itself a fundamental right, the question will arise whether regulation 856 is a law imposing reasonable restriction in public    interest on the freedom of movement falling within Article 19 (5); or, even if it be assumed that Article 19(5) does not apply in terms, as the right to privacy of movement cannot be absolute, a law imposing reasonable     restriction upon it for compelling interest of State must be upheld as valid.

Under clause (c) of Regulation 853, it is only persons     who are suspected to be habitual criminals who will be subjected to domiciliary visits.    Regulation 857 provides as follows: "A comparatively short period of surveillance, if effectively maintained, should suffice either to show that the suspicion of criminal livelihood was    unfounded, or    to furnish evidence justifying a criminal prosecution, or action under the security sections. District Superintendents and their assistance should go carefully     through the histories     of persons under surveillance during their    inspections, and remove from the register the names of such as appear to be earning an honest     livelihood. Their histories will there upon be closed     and surveillance discontinued. In the case of person under surveillance, who has been    lost sight of and is still untraced, the name    will continue    on the register for as long as     the District Superintendent considers necessary." Surveillance is also    confined to the limited class of citizens who are determined to lead a criminal life or whose antecedents would reasonably lead to the conclusion    that they will lead such a life.

When there are two     interpretations, one     wide     and unconstitutional, the other narrower but within constitutional    bounds,     this Court will read down     the overflowing expressions to make them valid. So read,     the two regulations are more restricted than counsel for     the petitioner sought to impress upon us.    Regulation 855, in our view, empowers surveillance only of persons against whom reasonable materials exist to induce the opinion that    they show a determination, to lead it life of criminal in    this context     being confined to such as involve public peace or security only    and if they are     dangerous security risks. Mere Convictions in criminal cases where nothing gravely imperilling saftey of


society cannot be regarded as warranting surveillance under this Regulation. Similarly, domiciliary visits     and picketing by the police should be reduced to the clearest cases of danger to community security and    not routine follow-up at the end of a conviction or release from prison or at    the whim of a police officer.    In truth, legality apart,    these regulations ill-accord with the     essence of personal freedoms and the State will do well to revise    the- se old police regulations     verging perilously    near unconstitutionality.

With these hopeful abservations, we     dismiss the    writ petition.

V. P. S.     Petition dismissed.