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Habeas Corpus

Habeas Corpus means ‘to have the body’ and it is one of the most effective remedies available to a person detained.

The Writ of Habeas Corpus is issued by the Courts in those cases where a person is illegally detained the writ is issued to produce a person who bas been detained whether in prison or in private custody, before a court and to release him if such detention is found illegal.

By this Writ, the Court commands the person or authority who has detained or restrained another person to present such person before the Court. The Court requires the detaining person to provide the grounds on which the person has been detained and if he fails to provide a valid ground, the person who has been detained will be released by the Court immediately.

Today, habeas corpus is mainly used as a post-conviction remedy for state or federal prisoners who challenge the legality of the application of federal laws that were used in the judicial proceedings that resulted in their detention. Other uses of habeas corpus include immigration or deportation cases and matters concerning military detentions, court proceedings before military commissions, and convictions in military court.

Finally, habeas corpus is used to determine preliminary matters in criminal cases, such as:
  1. an adequate basis for detention.
  2. removal to another federal district court.
  3. the denial of bail or parole.
  4. a claim of double jeopardy.
  5. the failure to provide for a speedy trial or hearing. 
  6. the legality of extradition to a foreign country.

Case laws:
Sunil Bhatra V/S Delhi Administration[1] it has been held that the writ of habeas corpus can be issued not only for releasing a person from illegal detention but also for protecting prisoners from the inhuman and barbarous treatment. the dynamic role of judicial remedies imports to the habeas corpus writ a versatile vitality and operational utility as bastion of liberty even within jails. In Veena Sethi V/S State Of Bihar[2]

In this case it was held that the court was informed through a letter that some prisoners, who were insane at the time of trial but subsequently declared sane, were not released due to inaction of state authorities and had to remain in jails from 20 to 30 years. the court directed they be released forthwith.

End-Notes:
  • https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/habeas_corpus#:~:text=A%20writ%20of%20habeas%20corpus,holds%20the%20defendant%20in%20custody.
  • https://www.latestlaws.com/articles/analysis-of-types-of-writs-under-constitution-of-india-landmark-cases-by-tanu-kapoor/
  • https://blog.ipleaders.in/writs-under-the-constitution/
Written By: Anurakti Yadav

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