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Madras HC Deprecates Practice Of Converting Man Missing Cases As Habeas Corpus Petitions [Read Order]

Man missing cases are to be dealt as regular cases by the competent court of law and the extraordinary jurisdiction of the constitutional courts cannot be invoked for the purpose of dealing with such man/women missing cases

The Madras High Court recently observed that there should be some restraint in entertaining habeas corpus petitions in relation to man/woman missing cases.

The court was considering a habeas corpus petition wherein no other allegations of illegal detentions have been set out, except that the petitioner’s husband is found missing.

A division bench of Justice SM Subramaniam and Justice S Ramathilagam, noticing the fact that the petition has been filed after a lapse of about six years from the date of missing of her husband, said the petition is not maintainable. The court also observed that it is a condition precedent that a person filing a habeas corpus petition should establish that there is a prima facie case of “illegal detention” or at least a suspicion in respect of such illegal detention.

Extra-ordinary jurisdiction not to be invoked in man missing cases

The court, observing that it is frequently witnessing that man/woman missing cases are converted as habeas corpus petitions, said: “Man/Women missing cases cannot be brought under the provision of the Habeas Corpus petition. Man/Women missing cases are to be registered under the regular provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Police officials concerned are bound to investigate the same in the manner prescribed under the Code of Criminal Procedure. Such cases are to be dealt as regular cases by the competent Court of Law and the extraordinary jurisdiction of the Constitutional Courts cannot be invoked for the purpose of dealing with such Man/Women Missing cases.”

The court also observed that the police people are spending a lot of time and wasting their time by travelling across the country under the guise of man/woman missing cases which results in lots of concern and expenditures to the state exchequer. “This apart, the efforts taken without any basis, causes a concern for prosecution and also to the investigating authorities. Thus, the Police force must be used potentially to trace out the cases, where there is a genuine allegation of illegal detention, and in the event of such a relief has been sought for by the petitioners in these kind of Habeas Corpus petitions,” the bench added.

Read the Order Here

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