Judgement of the day: Rudul Sah v. State of Bihar, (1983) 4 SCC 141


Rudal Sah was arrested in 1953 on charges of murdering his wife. He was acquitted by the Court of Sessions, Muzaffarpur, Bihar on June 3, 1968, but he was released from the jail on October 16, 1982, that is after 14 years of acquittal. Jailor of the Muzaffarpur Central Jail said that the Additional Session Judge of Muzaffarpur passed an order on 30th August 1968 in which he acquitted the accused but at the same time, he ordered that Rudul Sah will remain in prison till the further order of State Government. Apart from this, Jailor of Muzaffarpur added that the accused Rudal Shah was insane at the time of passing the order for his acquittal. Though he was not having the evidence for the same. Rudal Sah filed a writ petition on 22nd November 1982 asking for the ancillary relief and reimbursement expenses as the compensation for illegal detention for 14 years. The issue was raised whether his prayer for compensation for the illegal detention by the state authorities will be accepted or not.


It was a landmark judgment in the jurisprudence of state liability.

This case widened the ambit of Article 21 that is Right to life and Personal Liberty. This case is considered important as it led to the emergence of compensatory jurisprudence for the violation of fundamental rights under the Constitution. Supreme Court enunciated that the right to life includes the right to health, compensation. The Court after considering all the facts stated that the right to life and personal liberty guaranteed in Article 21 of the Indian constitution was taken away from Rudal Sah by the state authorities. Monetary compensation was awarded worth Rs 35000 to Rudal Shah.

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