Case Summary: Sitaram Yechury v. Union Of India

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Citation Writ Petetion (Cr.) No. 229/2019

Court: Supreme Court of India

Bench: Hon’ble The Chief Justice
Hon’ble Mr. Justice S.A. Bobde
Hon’ble Mr. Justice S. Abdul Nazeer

Parties:

Appellant:   

  • Mr. Raju Ramachandran,
  • Sr. Adv.Mr.   Shadan Farasat, AOR
  •  Mr.   Shankar Narayanan, Adv.
  •  Ms.   Jahnavi Sindhu, Adv.
  •  Ms.   Shruti Narayan, Adv.

Respondent for UOI:                      

  •  Mr.   K.K. Venugopal, AG
  •  Mr.   Tushar Mehta, SG
  •   Mr.   Ankur Talwar, Adv.
  • Mr.   Rajat Nair, Adv.
  • Mr.   Kanu Agrawal, Adv.
  • Mr.   B.V. Balram Das, Adv. (AOR)

For State of J&K:                     

  •  Mr. Tushar Mehta, SG
  • Mr. Shashi Juneja, Adv.
  • Mr. Satyajeet Kumar, Adv. (AOR) 

    Brief facts:

    Covid Pandemic giving us all tough time. But thankfully we have internet services which basically is a saviour. Starting from Netflixing to Youtubing recipes to work out and food orders, work from home and whatnot. Internet is like a spouse to us. We who cannot even imagine stuck at home without the internet supported the ban on the internet and other movements that were imposed in Jammu & Kashmir. We were so against the lockdown when groceries were limited and we kept panic bought almost everything in the store, even the things we won’t use. But we were okay when it was the people of Jammu & Kashmir who were hungry and the economy was no were near stable or good. Even the basic necessities weren’t available.  People were far from them. On 5th August 2019, when Art 370 was abrogated from the Indian Constitution, a ban on communication and the internet was imposed on the State of Jammu & Kashmir. Various cases of preventive detention [1]came forward such as of political leaders Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah, Md. Yousuf Tarigami etc. followed by Lockdown when Centre passed Jammu & Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019. The objective was simply to unite the nation and laws as well as Constitution.

    To this, the petitioner, who is General Secretary of the Communist Party, filed a WP on Habeas Corpus in the Supreme Court under Art 32 of the Indian Constitution questioning the Constitutional Validity of the detention imposed on one of the leaders of this party.

     Issues:

    1. Is the virtual lockdown thrust by the Central Government is Constitutionally valid or not?
    2. For what reasons virtual lockdown was thrust in the State of J&K and detentions were made after Jammu & Kashmir Reorganization Act was passed abrogating Article 370 of the Constitution, taking away special status of the State?

    Arguments of Petitioner:

    The Petitioner claimed that despite his best efforts, the petitioner was unable to inquire about Md. Tarigami’s well-being, and that his efforts to meet him in Kashmir personally also failed because his entrance into the State had been denied. He also stated that Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami was unwell, and through the habeas corpus petition, the petitioner requested that Md. Tarigami be transferred to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (A.I.I.M.S.) in Delhi for good medical treatment.[2]

     Arguments of Respondent:

    The Respondents denied the petitioner’s assertions, claiming that Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami’s health was good and that he was under the surveillance of a Z security, and that is why the petitioner was withheld personal physical interaction.[3]

     Judgement:

    The way that Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami was under watch the Z-security doesn’t have anything to do with his wellbeing. The court additionally believed that the thinking of the Respondent was not appropriate for restricting the petitioner’s visit. The Apex court permitted Sitaram Yechury subject to specific limitations ie; do some other political activities and to present a report on his comeback of the Court. On entries of such a report, the court requested the officials to move the individual under confinement to AIIMS Delhi.[4]

    Conclusion:

    As an independent and democratic country, India needs to defend its civilian’s fundamental rights. A writ of habeas corpus requires assurance of whether confinement is legitimate and if the fair procedure has been followed. The court isn’t required to go into the issue of the supposed wrongdoing of the individual under confinement.

    Indeed, the freedom of an individual is based on conditions. In 1950, a Constitutional hearing on the matter of Chiranjit Lal Chowdhuri vs Union of India and Others[5] extended the scope of who could approach the Apex Court if someone’s rights were disregarded. The court held that individual civilians or groups, as well as corporate bodies, also could do as such. The bench likewise decided that the Apex Court, gaining its powers from Article 32, can give bearings or orders or writs like habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warranto, prohibition and certiorari, whichever might be appropriate for the implementation of any of the rights presented by this part. [6]

    Article 32 of the Constitution of India ensured the rights of its citizens to move to the Supreme Court of India by suitable procedures. For the implementation of the rights presented to them by Part III of the constitution. It provides the Supreme Court capability to issue writs for authorization of rights while the High Court has a similar capability under Article 226. Writs are commands from the Apex Court or High Court that provides solutions for citizens of India against infringement of their fundamental rights. After the repeal of Article 370, the Supreme Court has heard a few writs of habeas corpus concerning the confinement of political and non-political people in the Kashmiri valley. In the current case, the Supreme court coordinated with the govt authority of J&K to lift the imposition put on Mr Yechury and to permit him to meet his partner, Mr Tarigami. The Supreme Court even permitted the students of Jamia Millia University to visit his family in Anantnag.

    [1]  Shaswati Das, “Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah arrested after scrapping of Article 370”,  Mint, 5 August 2019, https://www.livemint.com/politics/news/mehbooba-mufti-omar-abdullah-arrested-after-scrapping-of-article-370-1565015217174.html

    [2] Sitaram Yechury vs UOI, (24 May 2021, 9: 09 PM), Indian Kanoon, https://indiankanoon.org/doc/83268785/

    [3] Sitaram Yechury vs UOI, (24 May 2021, 9: 09 PM), Indian Kanoon, https://indiankanoon.org/doc/83268785/

    [4] Sitaram Yechury vs UOI, (24 May 2021, 9: 09 PM), Indian Kanoon, https://indiankanoon.org/doc/83268785/

    [5] Chiranjit Lal Chowdhuri vs Union of India and Others[5] ,AIR 1951 SC 41.

    [6] Maneesh Chhibber, Supreme Court’s handling of Kashmir habeas corpus more worrisome than Modi govt’s clampdown, The Print, 4 Sept, 2019, 8:58AM, https://theprint.in/opinion/supreme-courts-handling-of-kashmir-habeas-corpus-more-worrisome-than-modi-govts-clampdown/286173/

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