Hussainara Khatoon v. Home Secretary, State of Bihar

In the Supreme Court of India

Name of the CaseHussainara Khatoon v. Home Secretary, State of Bihar
Citation1979 AIR 1369, 1979 SCR (3) 532
Year of the Case9 March, 1979
AppellantHussainara Khatoon and Ors.
RespondentHome Secretary, State of Bihar
Bench/JudgesBhagwati, P.N.Desai, D.A.
Acts InvolvedConstitution of India
Important SectionArticle-21 and Article-39(A) of the Indian Constitution.


The current case is a milestone judgment on the expedient preliminary of cases that came to be perceived as a principal right of each blamed individual. It is an aspect of the legitimate organization of equity. The Constitutional commitment upon State to attempt the assurance of privileges of people under Article 21 is comprehensive of the obligation to guarantee there is a fast preliminary of cases. It additionally guarantees the option to get to free lawful administrations to the poor as a fundamental piece of Article 21 of the Constitution[i].

Facts of the case

The writ request has preceded the Court for the becoming aware of the arrival of under-preliminary detainees in the province of Bihar. The province of Bihar was coordinated to document a reexamined outline showing a year-wise separation of the under-preliminary detainees in the wake of partitioning into two general classes viz. minor offenses and significant offenses that were not done.

Statutes and Provisions discussed

1. Article 21, the Constitution of India, 1950[ii] .

2. Article 39A, the Constitution of India, 1950[iii].


It has been asserted in the counter-sworn statement to the course of the Court that numerous under-preliminary detainees, candidates in this, limited in the Patna Central Jail, the Muzaffarpur Central Jail and the Ranchi Central Jail, preceding their discharge have been consistently created before the Magistrates various occasions and have been remanded over and over to legal authority by them. Be that as it may, the Court discovered this averment unsuitable as it doesn’t conform to the course of creating the dates on which these under-preliminary detainees were remanded.

Besides, to legitimize the pendency of cases, it has been battled that in 10% of the cases, the examination is held up because of postponement in receipt of suppositions from specialists. This explanation was inadmissible to the Court as the State can generally utilize more specialists and build up more research centers.


The Court coordinated that these under-preliminary detainees whose names and specifics are given in the rundown recorded by Mrs. Hingorani ought to be discharged forthwith as continuation of their detainment is illicit and disregarding their essential right under Article 21 of the Constitution since they have been in prison for a length surpassing the most extreme term that they ought to have been indicted for.

The Court additionally coordinated that on the following remand dates, when the under-preliminary detainees, accused of bail able offenses, are created before the Magistrates, the State Government ought to name a legal advisor at its own expense for making an application for bail and restricting remand given that no complaint is raised to such a legal counselor for their benefit and with a point that quick preliminary is executed. The State Government and High Court were required to outfit points of interest concerning the area of the courts of officers and courts of meetings in the State of Bihar alongside the complete cases pending in each court as of 31st December, 1978. They are likewise required to disclose with regards to why the removal of those cases as having been pending for over a half year not been conceivable.

Ratio Decidendi

The Court found that the under-preliminary detainees whose rundown was recorded under the watchful eye of the Court have been in prison for periods longer than the most extreme term for which they could have been condemned whenever sentenced. The Court perceived the hardness of the lawful and legal framework and inappropriate hardship of individual freedom. The Court likewise understood the predicament of under-preliminary detainees who are for most occasions, ignorant of their entitlement to get discharge on bail or because of neediness, can’t connect with a legal advisor. For this, the requirement for a sufficient and extensive lawful help program is called for.

It is entrenched that Article 21 gives that no individual will be denied of his life or freedom aside from as per the technique set up by law which should be ‘sensible, reasonable and just’[iv]. A technique that makes the poor denied of access to legitimate administrations and needs to go to preliminary without appropriate portrayal can’t be viewed as ‘sensible reasonable and just’. Offering free legitimate types of assistance to poor and penniless is a part of any ‘sensible, reasonable and just’ methodology.[v] A layman can’t benefit of the mastery somewhere else and does not have the aptitude and information he.

Article 39A is a principal established mandate that accentuates that free lawful assistance is a basic component of ‘sensible, reasonable and only’ technique for without it an individual confronting financial or different inability would not have the option to make sure about equity. This privilege is to be viewed as understood in the assurance of Article 21.

Additionally, the accentuation is laid towards the under-preliminary detainees who have been in prison for the greater part the most extreme term of detainment for which they could be condemned whenever indicted. There is no motivation behind why these under-preliminary detainees ought to be permitted to keep on grieving in prison, just on account of the flaw of the State to not attempt them inside a sensible timeframe. The chance of some of them being absolved of the offenses charged against them yet having gone through quite a long while in prison for offenses which they are at last found not to have submitted will be unfavorable to their opportunity of individual freedom. Consequently, the fast preliminary of people blamed for offenses gets fundamental to guarantee that the charged people don’t need to stay in prison longer than is completely essential.

The Court prescribes to the State and the Central Government, an exhaustive lawful assistance program which is commanded not just by Article 14[vi] which ensures equivalent equity and Article 21 which presents the privilege to life and freedom, yet additionally exemplified in the established order encapsulated in Article 39A.

The State can’t deny the protected right to a fast preliminary to the denounced by arguing money related or regulatory inability.[vii] The Court is thus required to embrace a dissident methodology issue headings to State to make positive move to tie down implementation of the basic right to a quick preliminary.

Principle Discussed

The option to get free lawful guide and fast preliminary is ensured under Article 21 of the Constitution and sums to a basic component of ‘sensible, reasonable and just system.

[i] India Consti. art. 21.

[ii] India Consti. art. 21.

[iii] India Consti. art. 39 (A).

[iv] Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, 1978 AIR 597 (India).

[v] M. H. Hoskot v. State of Maharashtra, 1978 AIR 1548 (India).

[vi] India Consti. art. 14.

[vii] Rhem v. Malcolm, 377 F. Supp. 995 (S.D.N.Y. 1974).

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