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Opinion

Habeas corpus issuance heard after 23 years

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Calcutta’s high court on Friday closed a petition filed 23 years ago about a hospital’s alleged failure to deliver a newborn to its mother after its birth after officials stumbled upon the guilty plea file. gathering dust in one of the court cabinets for over two decades. The matter was last heard on December 22, 1997.

A divisional bench of Chief Justice TB Radhakrishnan and Judge Arijit Banerjee lamented the “great misfortune” that the matter has been pending for so long.

“Although different instructions were issued with the additional order to the record of this court for the matter to be listed after three months [from December 22, 1997], it is a great disgrace that this matter is listed today [Friday] after 23 years of hibernation of this file in the high court closet, “said the bench.

In 1997, the court ordered the police to register a case and investigate the matter when the petition was last heard.

“We are in a judicial system. We cannot afford to stack files without listing them despite court orders, ”the bank said Friday.

He added that the court should consider initiating an action for misconduct against the responsible officials, especially because it is a petition for habeas corpus, which requires that the party involved be brought before a court or a judge.

“When the superior court office does not list the issues despite court orders, it may be appropriate, at least in certain situations, for the courts to consider initiating a misconduct action against interested officers for diverting the course of justice disobeying court orders to publish a case, “said the order.

A senior official at the Calcutta high court told HT, on condition of anonymity, that more such files were found. “This is not the oldest file found stacked in a closet. We have begun to re-enumerate old case files in court so that they can be heard. There are some archives dating back to the mid-80s, which have been included in the list. Today, between 40 and 50 old files have been included, dating from the mid-1980s and early 1990s. There could be more. “

“If someone had been arrested, had their freedom taken away and then the matter had been stored in cold storage for two decades, it would have been reprehensible. But at least none were arrested, ”said Arunava Ghosh, a senior defender of the high court.

Police officers declined to comment on the matter.

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