52 habeas corpus petitions pending before the Supreme Court: Minister of Justice

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108 habeas corpus cases were pending in the Bombay High Court on December 14, he told Lok Sabha

A total of 52 petitions relating to “habeas corpus cases” are pending before the Supreme Court on December 13, Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju told the Lok Sabha on Friday.

A habeas corpus is a writ used to challenge the unlawful detention or imprisonment of a person and protects fundamental rights.

In response to a question about the number of habeas corpus pleadings pending before the Supreme Court and High Courts to date, the Minister shared the number of pending cases according to Supreme Court subject category code 1300 which relates to “habeas corpus questions” before the Supreme Court.

Taking stock of the last four years, the Minister said that at the end of 2020, 53 such cases were pending before the highest court; there had been 40 cases at the end of 2019; and there were 43 such cases at the end of 2018.

Referring to the High Courts, he said that on December 14, 108 habeas corpus cases were pending in the Bombay High Court; 35 such cases were pending in the Gauhati High Court as of December 9; 24 such cases were pending in the Kerala High Court as of December 10; and in the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, 97 habeas corpus the cases were pending on 1 December.

Responding to another question on the number of cases relating to “misuse of voting machines”, Mr Rijiju denied any such possibility and said: “The Election Commission of India (ECI) has informed that no such case has been reported… EVM [electronic voting machines] are completely secure thanks to technical and administrative guarantees.

On another question whether the government was proposing to set a deadline to ensure speedy justice in the increasing cases of crimes against women, such as rape and harassment, Mr. Rijiju said: “Resolving cases pending before the courts fall within the domain of the judiciary. No time limit has been prescribed for the settlement of various types of cases by the respective courts.

“The government has no role in settling cases in the courts,” the minister said, adding that the government had taken several initiatives for faster settlement of cases by the judiciary, including fast-track courts.

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