Habeas Corpus Issued by Madras High Court to Detenu, Says There Is Violation Of Article 21 and 22

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The writ petition is filed under 226 in Madras High Court. In the case of Ganesan v. State of Tamil Nadu and others, the Court ordered the release of a person detained at Central Prison, Palayamkottai. PN Prakash, J. heard the matter and gave the orders for the same.

Facts of the Case

The petitioner, Ganesan, age 33 was being detained by the order of The District Collector and District Magistrate, Tirunelveli District on 05.08.2019. He was being detained under Section 2(f) of the Tamil Nadu Act,1982, as he was a branded ‘Goonda’. Hence this petition was the filed for the issuance of the writ of Habeas Corpus.

Arguments by the Parties

There are many grounds raised by petitioner. The main focus was on the violation of procedural safeguards. Article 21 and 22 guarantees these safeguards as fundamental rights. Petitioner contended that there was a delay in considering the representation of the petitioner. Hence there is a violation of Procedural safeguards.

But Respondents contended that there is no violation of fundamental rights. As even if, there was a delay in considering the representation, the petitioner was never subjected to any prejudice.

Observation of Court

The Court in the current scenario considered that Article 21 protects Life and Liberty. Since life and liberty are a part of procedural safeguards, following them is must. Court should enforce these procedural safeguards. The application must not get diluted according to the nature of the alleged activities of the detnee. The Court here considered the case of Rekha vs. State of Tamil Nadu, (2011) 5 SCC 244.

Moreover, to set aside the detention order on the basis of delay of a mere 7 days the Courts considered a different opinion. They took precedence of Sumaiya v. The Secretary to the Government, (2007) 2 MWN Cr. 145. The ratio was an unexplained delay of mere three days in the disposal of representation, and is enough to set aside the said order.

The Court agreed that any inordinate and unexplained delay on behalf of the Government in consideration of the representation will render the detention illegal. They followed the ratio given in the case of Tara Chand v. State of Rajasthan, (1980) 2 SCC 321. 

Moreover, the Court took into consideration the recent scenarios of the COVID-19. As an effort to decongest the prison the Court decided to consider the delay of 7 days as an exception.

Decision of Court

The Court quashed the impugned order and ordered to set Ganesan free if there are not any other cases against him.


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