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Whether Under Article 32: The Supreme Court Can Pass Order Of Compensation For Infringement Of Fundamental Rights By Officer

Article 32 of the constitution confers power on the Supreme Court to issue direction s or order or writs , including Writs in the Nature of Habeuas corpus , mandamus, prohibition, qua warranto, certiorari, which ever may be appropriate, for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by part III of the constitution.

The right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred by part III is guaranteed " that is to say, the righ to move the Supreme Court under Article 32 for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by part lII of the Constitution is itself a fundamental right.

Article 32 can not be used as a substitute for the enforcement of rights and obligations which can be enforced efficiously through the ordinary process of court s - Civil and Criminal. A Money claim therefore had to be agitated in and adjudicated upon in a suit instituted in a court if Lower grade competent to try it.

Whether in the excercise of the jurisdiction under Article 32, the Supreme Court can pass an order for the payment of money,if such an order is in the Nature of compensation consequential upon deprivation of a fundamental right.

In the instant case, the petitioner was detained illegally in prison for over 14 years after his acquittal in a full dressed trial. He filed a Habeas Corpus petition in the Supreme Court for his release from illegal detention. He obtained that relief,the findings being his detention in the prison after his acquittal was wholly unjustified and then he Contends that he is entitled to be compensated for his illegal detention.

If the petitioner files a suit to recover damages for his illegal detention , a decree for damages would have to be passed in that suit, though it is not possible to predicate,in the absence of evidence, the precious amount which would be decreed in his favour.

In these circumstances, the refusal of the Supreme Court to pass an order of compensation in favour of the petitioner will be doing mere lip- service to his fundamental right to liberty which state government has grossly violated. Article 21which guarantees the right to life and liberty will be denied of its significant content if the power of the Supreme Court were limited to passing orders to release from illegal detention.

The Supreme Court can pass under Article 32 of the Constitution of India an order of compensation for infringement of fundamental right.

Ref: Radul Sah v State of Bihar, AIR 1983 SC 1086: 1983Cr Lj1644

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