Chapter

Gopalan, Preventive Detention, and Habeas Corpus

O. Chinnappa Reddy

in The Court and the Constitution of India

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780198066286
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081462 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198066286.003.0013
Gopalan, Preventive Detention, and Habeas Corpus

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One of the earliest cases of great importance heard by India's Supreme Court after the Constitution came into force was the case of A. K. Gopalan, a case raising a question affecting personal liberty. Gopalan, a communist, claimed that the fundamental rights guaranteed by Article 19 of the Constitution had been denied to him as the law providing for preventive detention under the impugned act did not prescribe a fair procedure. Sixteen years later, ruling in the Banks Nationalization case, the Supreme Court stood firmly on the side of freedom and liberty and built up a great jurisprudence of habeas corpus which insisted that even if one of several grounds of detention was bad for vagueness or other reason, the order of detention would be quashed. Procedural fairness had been dealt a severe blow by the Supreme Court in Kartar Singh's case, where the obnoxious provisions of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act have been upheld.

Keywords: India; Supreme Court; A. K. Gopalan; preventive detention; habeas corpus; personal liberty; fundamental rights; procedural fairness; Article 19; Constitution

Chapter.  4863 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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