Judicial Reforms

What is Habeas Corpus Petition?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Habeas Corpus

Mains level: Read the attached story

habeas corpus

Central Idea: The Madras High Court has accepted a request made on behalf of a Minister’s wife, for an urgent hearing of a habeas corpus petition filed by her accusing the Enforcement Directorate (ED) of not having followed due procedure while arresting her husband early.

Habeas Corpus: A Safeguard for Personal Liberty

  1. Definition: Habeas corpus is a legal recourse that enables individuals to challenge unlawful detentions or imprisonments by reporting them to a court.
  2. Purpose: It allows individuals to request the court to order the custodian, typically a prison official, to present the detained person before the court and determine the legality of the detention.
  3. Applicability in India: In India, the power to issue a writ of habeas corpus is vested in the Supreme Court and the High Courts.
  4. Quick Remedy: Habeas corpus is considered an effective means of promptly addressing the loss of personal liberty without legal justification.

Article 32: Right to Constitutional Remedies

  1. Fundamental Right: Article 32 of the Constitution of India affirms the right to constitutional remedies, granting individuals the right to approach the Supreme Court for the enforcement of their fundamental rights.
  2. Scope: It empowers the Supreme Court to issue directions, orders, or writs to uphold the rights conferred in Part III of the Constitution.
  3. Suspension: The right guaranteed by Article 32 cannot be suspended except under specific provisions mentioned in the Constitution, such as during a state of emergency.
  4. Significance: Dr. B.R. Ambedkar described Article 32 as the soul and heart of the Constitution, emphasizing its crucial role in safeguarding rights.

Rights Protected by Article 32

  1. Inclusion in Part III: Article 32 is listed alongside other fundamental rights in Part III of the Constitution, including the right to equality, freedom of speech and expression, life and personal liberty, and freedom of religion.
  2. Direct Approach to Supreme Court: Under Article 32, individuals can directly approach the Supreme Court only when any of their fundamental rights are violated.

Types of Writs under Article 32

  1. Habeas Corpus: Pertains to personal liberty in cases of illegal detention and wrongful arrest.
  2. Mandamus: Directs public officials, governments, and courts to perform their statutory duties.
  3. Quo Warranto: Requires a person to demonstrate the authority by which they hold a public office.
  4. Prohibition: Orders judicial or quasi-judicial authorities to halt proceedings beyond their jurisdiction.
  5. Certiorari: Allows the re-examination of orders issued by judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative authorities.

Remedy Hierarchy and Fundamental Rights Violations

  • Civil or Criminal Matters: In civil or criminal cases, individuals first approach trial courts, followed by appeals to the High Courts and the Supreme Court.
  • Violation of Fundamental Rights: In cases of fundamental rights violations, individuals have the option to approach the High Court under Article 226 or directly approach the Supreme Court under Article 32 for redress.

Try this PYQ:

Q. Which of the following is included in the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court?

  1. Disputes between the Government of India and one or more States
  2. A dispute regarding elections to either the House of the Parliament or the of Legislature of a State
  3. A dispute between the Government of India and the Union Territory
  4. A dispute between two or more States.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 and 2

(b) 2 and 3

(c) 1 and 4

(d) 3 and 4


Post your answers here.
Please leave a feedback on thisx

Back2Basics: Comparison of Writs

Meaning Purpose Issued When Important Judgments Limitations

Habeas Corpus

“You have the Body” Protection of personal liberty and freedom from unlawful detention Unlawful detention without authority of law Kerala Habeas Corpus case, ADM Jabalpur v. Shivakant Shukla Cannot be issued if detention is lawful or authorized by a competent court

Quo Warranto

“By what means” Challenging the right to hold a public office In cases of public offices Ashok Pandey v. Mayawati, G.D. Karkare v. T.L. Shevde Cannot be issued for private organizations or if the office is not substantive


“We Command” Ensuring correct performance of mandatory duties For correct performance of legal duties Rashid Ahmad v. Municipal Board, Binny Ltd. v. V. Sadasivan Not issued against the President or Governor


“To be certified” Correcting errors of jurisdiction and procedure Wrongful exercise of jurisdiction or procedural errors Surya Dev Rai v. Ram Chander Rai, T.C. Basappa v. T. Nagappa Cannot be issued against individuals, private authorities, or for amendment of an Act


“To stop” Preventing an inferior court from exceeding its jurisdiction Lower court exceeds jurisdiction or acts contrary to law East India Commercial Co. v. Collector of Customs, Bengal Immunity Co. Ltd Not issued if the court is acting within its jurisdiction or for administrative functions


Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
User Avatar
9 months ago
Post your answers here." Read more »


User Avatar
9 months ago
Post your answers here." Read more »


User Avatar
9 months ago
Post your answers here." Read more »


User Avatar
9 months ago
Post your answers here." Read more »



Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch