THE WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND CASE LAWS

INTRODUCTION

The makers of the Indian Constitution under Part III had provided Indian citizens with six fundamental rights to protect them from any kind of malpractices undertaken by those in power which means from the State. Article 32 has the provision of the Right to Constitutional Remedies. It gives citizens the right to move to Supreme Court whenever they feel that their rights have been infringed by the State. It has provisions for five kinds of writs which are Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, Certiorari, Prohibition, and Quo Warranto.

Once Dr. Ambedkar said that if he will be asked among all fundamental rights which one is most important he will give the Right to Constitutional Remedies as his answer. He said that without this right the citizens will not be able to receive remedy for infringement of their other rights, so he said that this right has utmost importance. He called this right as ‘Heart and Soul of the Indian Constitution.

Article 32 states that for the infringement of rights citizens can move to SC and the court has the power to issue directions or orders or writs for the enforcement of such rights.

WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

The writ of Habeas Corpus is issued ‘to have the body. The term Habeas corpus is a Latin term which means to present the body before the Court. The writ of Habeas corpus cum causa orders the person who has detained another person to present the body of the confined in the court and to justify the legality of his action and grounds on which he has imprisoned or detained such person. If the court finds that the detention is illegal, it can order the prisoner’s immediate release. The writ is very much helpful in case of illegal detention. It helps to safeguard the freedom and life and liberty of individuals mentioned in Articles 19, 21, and 22 of the Indian Constitution.

Anyone who is detained illegally and is aware of the benefit of this writ and is well aware of the facts of the case can file an application in Court.

The application can be filed under Article 32 in Supreme Court and it can be filed under Article 226 in High Court which has territorial jurisdiction for a particular case.

The writ of habeas corpus can be refused by the court if the competent dismisses the petition of the case on the grounds of merit or the detained person has already been released or if the person has been detained with the court’s order or permission or if the court does not have territorial jurisdiction.

CASES

Additional district magistrate of Jabalpur v. Shiv Kant Shukla 1976

The judgment day of this case is known as one of the darkest days in Indian history. The case is of the time when an emergency was proclaimed in India. In this petition, the question was raised whether the writ of habeas corpus and remedy is maintainable in such an emergency situation or not. The court taking the case Liversidge v. Anderson as precedent said that as in this previous case the rights were suspended during the situation of emergency similarly all the rights in India including Article 21 can be restrained by the State during the situation of emergency.  Justices A.N Ray, PN Bhagwati, Y.V.Chandrachud, and M.H Beg, gave their majority decision against the writ of habeas corpus and gave the government unrestricted powers whereas Justice Khanna gave a discretionary opinion from that of others.

Sheela Barse v. State of Maharashtra 1983

The judgment of this case quashed the locus standard approach. A human rights activist wrote a letter to Apex Court regarding the bad conditions of women prisoners in the lockup and the assault they are facing. An investigation authority was sent to the prison to crosscheck the allegations made by the plaintiff. They found the allegations to be correct and found the situation to be very bad. It was held by the court that if the person confined or detained cannot file an application on his behalf then some other person can do so.

Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration 1980

In this case, it was held that the petition of habeas corpus can not only be filed against illegal detention but can also be filed to check the procedure and manner the detention was made. The application can be filed for protection from any kind of ill-treatment and discrimination by the authorities responsible for the detention.

Nilabati Behra v. The State of Orissa

In this case, the Orissa police took away the petitioner’s son for interrogation. The son did not return home and after searching him everywhere he was not found. The petition was filed in court. After some time during the pendency of the petition, the dead body of the son was found on the railway track. The compensation of Rs. 150000 was given to the petitioner.

Kanu Sanyal v. District Magistrate Darjeeling & Ors. 1974

It was said by the court that in spite of keeping the complete focus on the traditional concept of producing the body of the detained person in the court the key focus should be put on the fact and circumstances of the case to determine the legality of detention. In this case, the major focus was kept on the nature and scope of the case. It was stated by the court that this writ is a procedural writ and not a substantive writ.

A.K. Gopalan v. The State of Madras

The Preventive Detention Act’s constitutional validity was challenged in this case. If a legislature restraints any person from his personal liberty then he should be competent enough to make such a law in the first place. Detention is turned out to be unlawful if the law backing it up is unlawful. The person has full right to move to the Court and has the right to file an appeal in the Apex Court if the High Court accepts or refuses the writ of habeas corpus.

Narayan v. Ishwarlal

In this case, it was said that to decide whether the nature of the writ of habeas corpus is criminal or civil in nature the court will rely on the way of procedures in which the locale has been executed.

Queen Bench’s case of 1898 of Ex Parte Daisy Hopkins

In this case, the proctor of Cambridge University arrested and detained Hopkins. The writ of habeas corpus was filed and he was released.

Somerset v. Stewart

In this case, an African slave whose master went to London was released by the action of the writ. With this case and the above case of Queen Bench’s case, the applicability of the writ of Habeas Corpus was extended to the non-state authorities.

Lallubhai Jogibhai Patel vs. Union of India & Ors

In this case, the Court said that a second writ petition of habeas corpus if filed on the same grounds as of the first one will be maintainable in the Court.

CONCLUSION

The makers of the Indian Constitution have made fundamental rights for the protection of citizens from State actions and they made provision of Writs to get remedy and justice in case these rights are violated. The writ of Habeas Corpus helps to check actions of authority and make the detained person free if the detention was done illegally. The burden of proof lies on the authority to prove that the detention made is legal.

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