The Delhi High Court directed the State to take necessary action against the erring officers of Tihar Jail in a case involving illegal detention of a man. It said that a stale production warrant has no value in the eyes of law.

The Court was dealing with a writ petition filed by the aforesaid man seeking order, direction, or a writ of Habeas Corpus directing his immediate release from the custody at Tihar Jail.

A Division Bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Manoj Jain observed, “Despite the fact that the release order had been received on 20.01.2024 and there was no existing production warrant from G.B Nagar Court, he thus continues to be in the illegal detention. … Obviously, the petitioner could not have detained on a stale production warrant which has no value in eyes of law.”

The Bench said that there is evidently no confusion or requirement of any clarification as there was no ‘live production warrant’ in the case.

Advocate Vishal Gosain appeared for the petitioner while Standing Counsel Sanjay Lao appeared for the respondents.

In this case, the petitioner claimed that despite bail order and release order, he was illegally detained by the Jail Authorities. As per the status report, it was admitted that the said bail/release order was received in Jail on January 20 this year, however he was not released as there was one production warrants, albeit expired one, against him.

It was an admitted case of the State/Jail Authority that the production warrant was received in September 2022 and consequently, the petitioner was to be produced in October 2022, but he was never produced in the said month before the concerned court. Also, no production warrant was received either in such out-station case. Bail order was passed and release order was passed this year and was received by Tihar Jail.

The High Court in the above context noted, “… if it all Jail Authorities wanted to know the status, it could have sought information in the year 2022 itself. Instead of honouring said production warrant and producing the accused before said Court on 10.10.2022, it has now woken up from slumber when accused has already secured bail in cases in Delhi.”

The Court said that the petitioner is in unauthorized judicial custody and warned that if any lapse is found on the part of the officers of Jail in future, it shall take strict action against them.

“The respondent/State is directed to take appropriate action against the erring officers. The DG (Prisons) who is present in Court has assured this Court, that no such lapse shall take place in future”, it also directed.

Accordingly, the High Court directed the respondents to release the petitioner forthwith.

Cause Title- Dharam Narayan Gautam v. State through Economic Offences Wing & Anr. (Neutral Citation: 2024:DHC:702-DB)


Petitioner: Advocates Rudrani Tyagi and Praney Sharma.

Respondents: Advocates Priyam Aggarwal and Abhinav Arya.

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