‘Habeas Corpus Not Maintainable When Detention Is Under The Witness Protection Scheme, 2018’: Madhya Pradesh HC

In the matter of Gautam Das & Others v/s The State of Madhya Pradesh & Others (Writ Petition No.26319/2019), the Madhya Pradesh High Court decided that any petition in the nature of Habeas Corpus would not be maintainable when the detention is for the purpose of safeguarding a witness under the Witness Protection Scheme, 2018.


Brief Facts Of The Case: The authorities raided a brothel that was being run as a resto-bar, where children and women were being forced to engage in sexual activities. These women and children were being brought in from Bengal, Assam, Bangladesh, and other neighbouring locations. Women and children were moved to shelter houses for safety under the plan after reportedly 67 women and 7 children volunteered to become witnesses in this case under section 164 of the Crpc. The agents who were responsible for the trafficking of these women and children submitted this petition, claiming that they were their husbands.


Judgement: The court declined to hear the petition, stating that it is not a case for the issue of a writ of habeas corpus, and that the rescued women are key witnesses in relation to Crime No. 496/2019, and that their lives are in danger. This Court places a premium on the safety of women, particularly when they are minors who have been exposed to torture and other forms of sexual violence, and finally, the court dismissed the case, stating that “merely because a habeas corpus petition has been filed, this Court does not find any basis to grant the writ petition.” In the unique facts and circumstances of the case, no writ of habeas corpus may be issued, especially where there is no illegal detention and the witnesses have been protected and cared for by the state.



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