Habeas corpus plea proves costly for man

A view of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court.   | Photo Credit: G. Moorthy

Questioning the locus standi of a petitioner who filed a habeas corpus petition seeking the production of his employee before the court, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court imposed an exemplary cost of ₹5 lakh for the abuse of the court process.

In a peculiar case, the petitioner P. Mohamed Sirajudeen of Chennai sought a direction to the Tirunelveli police to produce before the court his employee and her two children. The woman was employed at the petitioner’s Wellness and Nutrition Centre at Chennai. The petitioner claimed that the woman had sought help from him alleging that her husband was not taking care of the family. However, the woman stopped attending work and when questioned she is said to have told the petitioner that she was in Tirunelveli to attend the final rites of her mother-in-law.

Moreover, her husband was not allowing her to return to Chennai for work. Subsequently, the petitioner filed the habeas corpus petition before the High Court Bench.

A Division Bench of Justices T. Raja and Krishnan Ramasamy, hearing the plea, observed that the habeas corpus petition was a classic example how the court process under Article 226 of the Constitution of India was being abused.

Taking advantage of a rift in the family, a stranger could not file such a petition, the court said.

The court also pointed out that during the freedom struggle, the British had denied the writ of habeas corpus to Indians. In order to protect innocent citizens from unnecessary harassment, the habeas corpus petition was brought under Articles 226 and 32 of the Constitution of India.

The court then directed the petitioner to pay a sum of ₹3 lakh to the Mediation and Conciliation Centre attached to the High Court Bench and ₹2 lakh to the Gandhi Museum, Madurai, within two weeks. If the petitioner failed to pay the cost, then the tahsildar, Mannadi, Chennai, shall initiate proceedings under the Revenue Recovery Act, the court said. The case has been posted for reporting compliance on November 30.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 11:40:02 AM |

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