Judgement of the day: ADM Jabalpur v. Shivkant Shukla (AIR 1976 SC 1207)

BENCH:


A.N. Ray, Hans Raj Khanna, Mirza Hameedullah Beg, Y.V. Chandrachud, P.N. Bhagwati


FACTS:


On 25th June, 1975, the President in exercise of his powers which have been granted to him under Article 352(1) of the Indian Constitution, declared that there was a grave emergency whereby security of India was threatened by internal disturbances. On 27th June, 1975 , by exercising the powers granted under Article 359 of the Constitution, it was declared that the right of any person including foreigners to move any court in order to enforce their rights which have been granted to them under Article 14, 21 and 22 of the Constitution and also all the proceedings that are pending in the court for the above mentioned rights will remain suspended during the period of proclamation of emergency which was made under Article 352 of the Indian Constitution. On 8th January, the President passed a notification declaring that right of any person to move to any court in order to enforce the right which have been granted to them under Article 19 of the Constitution and also all the proceedings that are pending in the court for the above-mentioned right will remain suspended during the period of proclamation of emergency. Thereupon, several illegal detentions were made including the detention of some most prominent leaders such as Jayaprakash Narayan, Morarji Desai, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani who were detained without any charges and trial. Due to this many writ petitions were filed throughout the country. Nine High Courts gave decisions in favour of the detained leaders by laying down that even if Article 21 cannot be enforced, still the order of detention can be challenged as it was not in compliance with the Act or was mala fide. Moreover, against these orders many appeals were filed before the Supreme Court.


JUDGEMENT BY THE MAJORITY: 4:1


Majority held that the detainment of the leaders was not unconstitutional. Chief Justice A. N. Ray, M.H. Beg. J, Y.V Chandrachud. J and P.N. Bhagwati. J were for the majority of the judgment and whereas the H.R. Khanna J. was for the descent. The four judges except Justice Khanna were of the opinion that during the time of emergency if any action is taken by the government whether it is arbitrary or illegal, its actions cannot be questioned. This is because in such circumstances the government safeguards the life of the nation by using its extraordinary powers which are provided to them. As a state of emergency is also an extraordinary factor. Therefore, as liberty is a gift of law, it can also be forfeited by law. The purpose and objective of Article 359 (1) was to prevent the enforcement of any Fundamental Rights mentioned in the Presidential order, should be suspended during the emergency. Even the application for Habeas Corpus under Article 491 of Code of Criminal Procedure cannot be filed simultaneously before the High Court. Another purpose of Article 359(1) was not only to limit the actions of legislative domain but also the actions of the executive branch.


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