The Supreme Court held that a writ of habeas corpus cannot be filed or invoked to seek the premature release of a convicted prisoner. The bench consisted of Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta. The Court held that the matter of whether a prisoner is entitled to parole or remission lies within the domain of the Government and not the writ court.
The Madras High Court allowed habeas corpus writ petitions filed by prison convicts and sentenced for life imprisonment in murder cases. The Supreme Court considered appeals against such orders. The writ petitions were filed on the ground that the State has not given the benefit of premature release to these petitioners whereas many others have enjoyed the benefit.
The Court noted the already settled principles of the writ:
The bench observed that the grant of remission or parole is not a vested right of the prisoner. The Court added that the High Court should not have directed the release of the detained forthwith without initially directing the competent authority to decide on the matter.
However, the Bench invoked Article 142 and ordered the release of prisoners in some appeals.