Preventive Detention, Habeas Corpus and Delay at the Apex Court: An Empirical Study

13 NUJS L. Rev. 1 (2020)

33 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2020 Last revised: 27 Aug 2020

See all articles by Shrutanjaya Bhardwaj

Shrutanjaya Bhardwaj

Supreme Court of India; University of Michigan Law School; National Law University Delhi

Date Written: March 24, 2020


Based on a study of all reported habeas corpus judgments of the Supreme Court in the twenty-year period from 2000 to 2019, this article presents an empirical analysis of the delay in adjudication of habeas corpus petitions in preventive detention cases. Three indicators are used for the study: first, the total time spent between the date of detention order and the date of final disposal by the Supreme Court; second, the time spent at the Supreme Court level alone; and third, the time spent in actual detention till the matter was finally disposed of by the Supreme Court (including an analysis of the extent to which Supreme Court was responsible for the delay). A more sharpened analysis of only ‘successful’ habeas corpus petitions – i.e. the twenty cases where the Supreme Court was the relief-granting court – is also presented. It is suggested that habeas corpus is reduced to a meaningless remedy in many cases.

Keywords: habeas corpus, preventive detention, article 22, personal liberty, empirical

Suggested Citation

Bhardwaj, Shrutanjaya, Preventive Detention, Habeas Corpus and Delay at the Apex Court: An Empirical Study (March 24, 2020). 13 NUJS L. Rev. 1 (2020), Available at SSRN: or

Shrutanjaya Bhardwaj (Contact Author)

Supreme Court of India ( email )

New Delhi
New Delhi, 110001

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States

National Law University Delhi ( email )

New Delhi

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