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Habeas Corpus Petition (HCP)

  • Context (TH): Madras HC delivered a split verdict on a habeas corpus petition filed by the Tamil Nadu Minister V. Senthilbalaji’s wife.
  • One judge declared that the Minister’s June 14 arrest in a money-laundering case was illegal and ordered him to be released.
  • The judge stated that the Minister was in the custody of ED when the petition was heard on June 22, and such custody was illegal.
  • Other judges hold that the petition was not maintainable.

Habeas Corpus Petition (HCP)

  • SC can issue directions/orders/writs to enforce fundamental rights.
  • The writs may include habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, certiorari and quo-warranto.

Habeas Corpus

  • The Latin term habeas corpus means ‘to have the body of’. It is an order issued by the court to a person who has detained another person to produce the body of the latter before it.
  • If the detention is illegal, SC would free the detained person.
  • The principal aim of the writ is to ensure swift judicial review of alleged unlawful detention.
  • Writ of habeas corpus can be invoked against the state or any individual holding any person in custody or detention.
  • In the Gopalan vs GOI case, SC ruled that the relevant date for deciding whether a person’s detention was legal or not would be the date when the court heard the petition related to his detention.

Does a Habeas Corpus Petition stand after a judicial order of remand?

  • SC stated that an HCP could be entertained after passing a judicial remand order only in cases of absolute illegality, lack of jurisdiction, or wholesale disregard for fundamental rights.
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