Writ of Habeas Corpus shall only be issued when the detention is illegal- V. Senthil Balaji v. State (2024)

Landmark Judgment Law Insider (1)

Published on: April 08, 14:26 IST

Court: Supreme Court of India

Citation: V. Senthil Balaji v. State (2024)

Honourable Supreme Court of India has held that Writ of Habeas Corpus shall only be issued when the detention is illegal. It is held that as a matter of rule, an order of remand by a judicial officer, culminating into a judicial function cannot be challenged by way of a Writ of Habeas Corpus, while it is open to the person aggrieved to seek other statutory remedies.

When there is a non-compliance of the mandatory provisions along with a total non-application of mind, there may be a case for entertaining a Writ of Habeas Corpus and that too by way of a challenge. It is held that an order passed by a Magistrate giving reasons for a remand can only be tested in the manner provided under the statute and not by invoking Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

There is a difference between a detention becoming illegal for not following the statutory mandate and wrong or inadequate reasons provided in a judicial order. While in the former case a writ of habeas corpus may be entertained, in the latter the only remedy available is to seek a relief statutorily given. In other words, a challenge to an order of remand on merit has to be made in tune with the statute, while non-compliance of a provision may entitle a party to invoke the extraordinary jurisdiction.

91. Despite our conclusion that the writ petition is not maintainable, we would like to go further in view of the extensive arguments made by the learned Senior Advocates appearing for the appellant. As rightly contended by the learned Solicitor General the scheme and object of the PMLA, 2002 being a sui generis legislation is distinct. Though we do not wish to elaborate any further, we find adequate compliance of Section 19 of the PMLA, 2002 which contemplates a rigorous procedure before making an arrest. The learned Principal Sessions Judge did take note of the said fact by passing a reasoned order. The appellant was accordingly produced before the court and while he was in its custody, a judicial remand was made. As it is a reasoned and speaking order, the appellant ought to have questioned it before the appropriate forum. We are only concerned with the remand in favour of the respondents. Therefore, even on that ground we do hold that a writ of habeas corpus is not maintainable as the arrest and custody have already been upheld by way of rejection of the bail application.

Drafted By Abhijit Mishra

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