This article has been written by Vikash Singh, 4th year Student of B.A.LL.B of the IIMT College of Law, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh.


ADM Jabalpur case known as the Habeas Corpus Case, is a significant case in Indian legal history, Articles 21 and 226 of the Indian constitution, were suspended in the event of a National Emergency. In ADM Jabalpur v. Shivkant Shukla case, the apex court of India, the Supreme Court, was held that the constitution of India above individual security and liberty. This judgement was very bad in Indian history it is the darkest judgement by the Supreme Court of India it is threatened the part 3rd of the Indian constitution i.e. fundamentals right. In a bench of five judges of the Supreme Court, only Justice Hans Raj Khan opposed the ADM Jabalpur Case.

BACKGROUND: When Indra Gandhi won the Lok Sabha elections, this election was challenged by the Ahmedabad High Court, Justice Sinha accused her of indulging in fraudulent conditioning to win the election, bringing her from elections for the coming six times. As a result, she imposed an emergency in the country on 26th June 1975.  Political opponents, including A.B. Vajpayee and Morarji Desai, were arrested under the Maintenance/Conservation of Internal Security Act (MISA), allowing no trial.

They challenged the immurement in high Courts and got brace as well. The government again approached the Supreme Court to silence the High courts in the ADM Jabalpur v. Shivkant Shukla case. In the ADM Jabalpur Case, the State argued that in a time of Emergency/exigency, the executive/superintendents get the power to take over the perpetration of laws for the interests of the State. The right of people to reach out to the Courts regarding the forenamed rights is taken under the provision of composition/Article 359(1), which is not a breach of law.

The repliers in ADM Jabalpur vs Shivkant Shukla argued that Article 359(1) choruses citizens from approaching the court under Article 32, but it doesn’t include the common law and statutory rights of particular liberty in High Court that comes under Article 226. Right to Life is not limited to Article 21, and the Administrative taking over the Legislative is against the constitutional principles crime of Article 359 and has entered a det. in light of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which protects the right to life and personal liberty, the case raised significant enterprises regarding the validity of fundamental right during the emergency.

Facts of the case: 

Shivkant Shukla was a political activist, arrested during the Emergency and detained without trial under the maintenance of the Internal Security Act MISA, in the emergency was declared in India in 1975. The wife of Shivkant Shukla filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, which is a legal order for detained or imprisoned to be brought before a court or judge. The Supreme Court in a split decision of 4-, held that during an emergency, the right to life and personal liberty of an individual could be suspended and the court could not interfere with the detention of individuals under prevention detention laws like MISA. This judgement was controversial and widely criticized for its stance on civil liberties and fundamental rights.

Issues Raised: 1. Whether the Courts had the power to inquire into the validity of Shukla’s detention.

2.  whether the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Indian constitution could be suspended during a state of Emergency.  The constitution of India is above civil liberty and personal liberty.


The final judgement of the ADM case by the Supreme Court was delivered on 28th April 1976. In a split decision of 4-1, the supreme court’s four judges Chief Justice A.N Ray, Justice M.H beg, P.N Bhagwati, and Y.N Chaudrachud held that “In a period of public danger or apprehension the protective law which gives every man security and confidence in times of Tranquillity has to give way to interested of the state. It was also held that liberty is itself the gift of the law and maybe the law be forfeited or abridged.

Justice H.R Khana held that the Sanctity of life and liberty wasn’t commodity new when the Constitution was drafted… the principle that no bone shall be deprived of his life and liberty without the authority of law wasn’t the gift of the Constitution. It was a necessary corollary of the conception relating to the saintship of life and liberty. It exited and was in force before the coming into force of the Constitution. The idea about the sanctity of life and liberty as well as the principle that no bone shall be deprived of his life and liberty without the authority of law are basically two data of the same generalities. 

Analysis of the judgement:  

Four judges of the bench of the Supreme Court held that during the emergency the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Indian constitution could be suspended. The dissenting judgement was delivered by Justice H.R. Khanna, held that the right to life and personal/particular liberty could not be suspended indeed during an emergency/exigency the constitution wasn’t suspended during an emergency/exigency, and that the courts have to cover the fundamental rights of citizens.  

The judgement was blamed for its station on civil liberties and fundamental rights by the Ks Puttaswaym v Union of India AIR 2017 SC 4161 in which the court honoured/recognized the right to privacy/sequestration as a fundamental right under the Indian Constitution.


The judgement of ADM Jabalpur v. Shivkant Shukla case has been extensively criticised for favouring the State rather than standing up for individual liberty and fundamental rights. HM Seervai nominated the judgement so bizarre/crazy that if Justice Khanna was arrested for giving the dissent he’d not have had any remedy to secure his liberty.  Incontinently after the emergency/exigency ended, the Supreme Court changed its stance by giving Article 21 an endless character in addition to linking the rights handed in Article 21 with the rights handed in Articles 14 and 19. The maturity judgement, in this case, is shamefaced of abetting and abetting the lust for power that the State outfit at that time displayed. Opening on the maturity ruling in this case, Justice Venkatachaliah in his Khanna Memorial lecture of 2005 stated that the maturity decision in the Emergency/exigency case should be “confined to the tip of history” and it is veritably hard to argue with his assessment.

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