Delhi High Court dismisses Parliament security breach petition seeking release from custody

The Delhi High Court dismissed a petition by Neelam Azad on Wednesday seeking her release from detention by Delhi Police. Azad is one of the accused persons in the recent Indian Parliament security breach case.

A habeas corpus petition was filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, along with Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), requesting the release of Azad from her allegedly unlawful detention by the Delhi Police. However, the counsel for Delhi informed the court that Azad had already submitted an application before the trial court seeking the same relief. The court, noting this, deemed the present petition as not maintainable and dismissed it. Importantly, the court clarified that it did not express any opinion on the merits of the contentions raised in the petition.

A habeas corpus petition is a legal action that seeks to protect an individual’s right to personal liberty by challenging the lawfulness of their detention or imprisonment. Individuals have the right to file habeas corpus petitions in the Supreme Court under Article 32 and in High Courts under Article 226, seeking relief from unlawful detention. Additionally, the High Court, under Section 482 of the CrPC, possesses the authority to dismiss an entire case by quashing a complaint.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Patiala House Court in India directed the Delhi Police to respond to Azad’s bail application by January 10. Azad argued in her plea that her rights under Article 22 of the Indian Constitution, which safeguards the interests of arrested individuals, were violated. She claimed that she was not presented before a magistrate within 24 hours of her arrest, as mandated by the constitution, but rather 29 hours later. Azad also asserted that she was not provided adequate time to consult with her appointed counsel from the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA), a legal aid organization.

Four individuals accused of triggering a security breach in India’s lower house of Parliament, the Lok Sabha, by releasing smoke into the chamber on December 13 have been charged with terrorism offenses. The incident occurred during Zero Hour, a time when MPs address urgent matters. The Delhi Police registered a case under the anti-terrorism law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), along with charges related to criminal conspiracy, trespass, provoking a riot and obstructing a public servant. The police alleged a well-planned conspiracy, with one suspect expressing a desire to emulate revolutionary Bhagat Singh’s, an Indian freedom fighter, bomb-throwing act during British rule. The suspects, remanded to seven days of Delhi Police custody, coincidentally staged the breach on the 22nd anniversary of a deadly jihadist attack on Parliament in 2001.