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ADM Jabalpur v. Shivakant Shukla, often referred to as the Habeas Corpus case by GPT4.0

 The case of ADM Jabalpur v. Shivakant Shukla, often referred to as the Habeas Corpus case, is one of the most significant and controversial judgments in the history of the Indian judiciary. It was decided by the Supreme Court of India in 1976, during the period of the Emergency declared by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.


Background:

The Emergency, declared in 1975, was a 21-month period when most of India's constitutional rights were suspended, and press freedom was curtailed. The government gained the power to arrest and detain individuals without trial, leading to widespread misuse of power.


Key Issue:

The core issue in this case was whether a writ of Habeas Corpus could be filed during the period of Emergency. The Habeas Corpus writ is used to release a person who has been unlawfully detained or imprisoned. During the Emergency, the right to move any court for the enforcement of rights conferred by Articles 14 (Right to Equality), 21 (Protection of life and personal liberty), and 22 (Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases) was suspended by a presidential order.


Supreme Court Judgment:

- The Supreme Court, in a 4-1 majority decision, held that during the Emergency, no person has any locus to move any writ petition under Article 226 before a High Court for habeas corpus or any other writ or order to challenge the legality of an order of detention.

- The Court ruled that under the presidential order of the Emergency, no person had any right to liberty, and therefore they could not challenge their detention in court.

- Justice H.R. Khanna was the lone dissenting judge who held that even during the Emergency, the state has no power to deprive a person of his life and liberty without the authority of law.


Significance and Aftermath:

1. Controversial Ruling: The judgement is often cited as an example of the judiciary's failure to protect fundamental rights during a critical time.

2. Impact on Judiciary: Justice Khanna's dissent cost him the position of Chief Justice of India, as he was superseded due to his dissenting opinion.

3. Restoration of Rights: The judgement was effectively nullified after the Emergency was lifted in 1977, with the restoration of democratic processes.

4. Reinforcement of Fundamental Rights: Post-Emergency, there was a significant shift in the judicial approach towards the protection of civil liberties and fundamental rights.


Conclusion:

ADM Jabalpur v. Shivakant Shukla is often regarded as a dark period in the history of Indian democracy and judicial independence. It highlighted the importance of the judiciary as the guardian of fundamental rights and the perils of unchecked executive power.




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