A division bench comprising Justice SM Subramaniam and S Ramathilagam on noting that personal liberty must have cogent and harmonious understanding in respect of free movement said, “A person, who voluntarily moving from home or anywhere to a place of his own choice, then the family members or any other person concerned with such a person can file a case for man missing. If the police can investigate the matter and find that the person moved at his own volition and is not illegally detained, then the question of entertaining the habeas corpus petition would not arise at all.”
“Therefore, it is a condition precedent that a person filing a habeas corpus petition should establish that there is a prima facie case of “illegal detention” or at least a suspicion in respect of such illegal detention. In the absence of any of these ingredients, no habeas corpus petition can be entertained under Article 226 of the Constitution,” the bench added.
The issue pertains to a plea moved by one Kalaiarasi praying to issue a writ of habeas corpus, directing the Kavettipatti Police station, Namakkal District, to produce the her husband Palanisamy (40) before this court and set him at liberty forthwith.
However, the status report filed by the Namakkal police revealed that the petitioner and her husband lead a marital life for about four years. But on October 8, 2011, he left home on informing his wife that he is going to his father’s house at Periapatti in Namakkal District. But he had failed to return while his wife bothered to lodge a police complaint only on August 12, 2017.
Noting that the petitioner herself was not vigilant and had not taken care about the whereabouts of her husband for about six and a half years, the bench said, “In the present habeas corpus petition, there is not even an iota of doubt in respect of any illegal detention nor any such allegations are made out in the petition. This being the factum of the case, the petitioner has not established any cause for entertaining the present habeas corpus petition and accordingly, the same stands dismissed.” Also, observing that in many number of cases police personnel are wasting their time by travelling across the country under the guise of man/women missing cases, the bench said “It causes lots of concern and expenditures to the State exchequer. This apart, the efforts taken without any basis, causes a concern for prosecution and to the investigating authorities. Thus, the police force must be used potentially to trace out the cases, where there is a genuine allegation of illegal detention.”