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Habeas Corpus

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Habeas Corpus is a Prerogative Writ of a Court directing a person who detained another in custody and commands him to produce or 'have the body of that person' before court. It is remedy for a person wrongfully detained or restrained.

  • Locus standi: Habeas Corpus can be filed not only for relating a person from illegal detention but also for protecting prisoners from inhuman and barbarous treatment.
  • Generally compensation is ordered to be paid in case Habeas Corpus is proved.
  • Habeas Corpus acts a check against arbitrary arrest
  • It is considered palladium (safety metal) of liberty of common man.

Historical development of writ of Habeas Corpus

Habeas Corpus in England

  • Somerset v Stewart (1772): An English Court ruled that slave owners could not use the right to property to enforce their ownership and that slaves could use judicial procedures such as Habeas Corpus to prevent owners from holding them against their will.
  • Influenced by Habeas Corpus Act, 1679
  • Habeas Corpus Act, 1816
  • Habeas Corpus Act, 1862: Habeas Corpus shall not be issued outside England, such as to a Colony or a foreign dominion

Habeas Corpus in United States of America

  • Chief Justice John Marshall: Habeas Corpus is 'a great constitutional privilege'.

Habeas Corpus in India

Invocation of Habeas Corpus

Grounds for Habeas Corpus

Grounds when Habeas Corpus is not available

  • This writ does not stand if the arrest is made in accordance to law, if it is not in volition of Article 21 and 22 or if the person is arrested in accordance to provisions of any Act (Preventive Detention, Essential commodities, TADA etc)

Recent Case / Related Case / Case Law

Indian Cases

  • Manubhai Ratilal Patel through Ushaben Vs State of Gujarat and Others, Criminal Appeal No. 1572 of 2012, Supreme Court of India judgement delivered on September 28, 2012
  • Veena Sethi v State of Bihar, AIR 1983 SC 339: SC directed the release of some prisoners who are insane at the time of trail but subsequently declared sane but had to remain in jails for 20 to 30 years.

United States Cases

  • Tibbals, Warden Vs Carter, Seal (11-218): 1. Do capital prisoners possess a "right to competence" in federal habeas proceedings under Rees v. Peyton, 384 U.S. 312 (1966)? 2. Can a federal district court order an indefinite stay of federal habeas proceeding under Rees?

Related Legislative Provisions

United States of America

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