You are on page 1of 5


A Legal Project Report

Submitted to

School of Law

Auro University

As a Course Work for continuous evaluation in the subject of


Semester VI



Ms. Ruchita Chakraborty

School of Law

Auro University


Shalin Soni
KHATRI & Ors. vs STATE OF BIHAR & Ors.(1981)

Appellants: Khatri and ors.

Respondent: State of Bihar and Ors.


This case is also known as Bhagalpur Blinding Case this was the first case where the question of
granting monetary compensation was considered by the Supreme Court. In this case, it was
alleged that the police had blinded certain prisoners when they were in custody of police, and
their right to life and personal liberty was deprived by the state. The question present before the
court was whether a person who has been deprived of his right to life or personal liberty by the
state, and it could be compensated by granting monetary relief.

The question arises here that why should the court not be prepared to create new tools and invent
new remedies for the purpose of justifying the most precious of the precious fundamental right to
life and personal liberty?

If the compensation was not to be granted under Article 21than it would be reduced to a act
which is void. But since the matter as to the responsibility of the police officers was still under
investigation, the court did not decide the issue.

Several petitioners filed writ petitions under Article 32 for the enforcement of their fundamental
rights under Article 21 on the allegation that they were blinded by the police while they were in
its custody. The question arose whether the court could order production of certain reports
submitted to the state government and some correspondence between the government and certain

Art 32 Remedies for enforcement of rights


Here in this case the Law applied is Article 21 clearly says that No person shall be deprived of
his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. So in this case the
accused were not given their rights of Life and personal liberty by the police officer and by the
magistrate and they were also not taken before magistrate in 24 hours. They were also not given
their legal representative and their rights were infringed by the state because they have not given
any free legal aid by the state at the cost of state. It is said by Supreme Court that the accused
who are illiterate, who are poor or they lives in rural areas they dont know about their rights. So
the state should give them their Legal representative. Here Article 22 is also violated because the
accused were not taken to judicial magistrate within 24 hours. So in this case there were the laws
which were infringed by the police officers and by the magistrate. So the laws were not applied
properly in this case and morally it was done to the accused by the police officers.


In the case of Khatri and ors vs State of Bihar and ors there is wrong done to the accused on the
Moral grounds on a very large scale, the reason for this statement can be inferred from the
judgment of the case. In the present case, First off the accused were not given their rights , i.e
right to consult the advocate of their choice which is also a right of accused when arrested. The
reason this is wrong on moral grounds is that the accused being poor and not having proper
knowledge in the legal matter its the obligation of the police and magistrate to make them aware
of their rights , and ensure that they make use of their rights. The other reason being the brute
force that the police used on the accused making them vision impaired. The accused were not
even taken to the magistrate within the duration of 24 hrs, making the arrest. Even the Chief
Judicial Magistrate ignored these petitions, The Right to Life i.e Article 21 of Constitution was
violated in this case. Herein, the morality of the police is being questioned along with the
unauthorized use of power and violence used by them. The safety of the accused and the
prisoners comes into the question and the rights which were violated in the due process.

What my understanding about the case is that the it was wrong on the part of the police for their
unauthorized use of power, using violence leading to permanent impairment of the victims, even
though the victims may be criminals but even they are not to be treated this way , they were not
informed about their rights about getting legal representation . The custody without any remand
by the court also added to the wrong done by the police. This time the Indian Justice system
failed the accused in terms of the rights that are provided to them.


The only object of a habeas corpus is to release a person from illegal detention. But even in
proceedings for habeas corpus the court is competent to mould the relief to meet the
requirements of a particular case or issue appropriate directions. The Court said that the
proceedings under Article 32 are neither for the inquiry nor for a trial of an offence. Neither the
Supreme Court is a criminal court nor the petitioners accused persons and so criminal procedural
laws are not applicable to the courts writ jurisdiction under Article 32.

The Supreme Court emphasized that the state government cannot avoid their constitutional right
to provide free legal service to the poor accused by pleading financial or administrative inability.
A trail held without offering legal aid to an poor or needy accused at state cost will be effiency
and conviction will be saw aside. Providing free legal service to the poor and needy is an
essential element to any reasonable and fair procedure.

Article 39A of the constitution of India provide for Equal Justice and Free Legal Aid. The
provision of legal aid is fundamental to ensuring access to courts. The right of the poor or needy
people arises from the movement he is produced before a magistrate. It is at this stage that the
accused gets his first opportunity to apply for bail and obtain his release as to be proof against to
the police or to the jail custody and so the accused needs competent legal advice and his legal
representation at this stage. The accused can also claim for the free legal aid after he has been
sentenced by a court but he is entitled to appear against the judgment day. The court further said
that it is the legal obligation of the magistrate or judge before whom the accused is produced to
inform him that if he is unable to engage a lawyer or his legal representative on account of
poverty or any other reason than he is entitled to obtain free legal service at the cost of the state.

The Court took the view that the right to free legal aid would be illusory for the indigent accused
unless the trial judge informs him of such a right.
The Court also said that the constitutional requirements to produce an arrested person before a
judicial magistrate within 24 hours of his arrest are strictly and compulsory observed.

In case of Hussainara khatoon vs State of bihar, it was held that if any accused is not able to
afford legal services then he has a right to free legal aid at the cost of the state. It is the duty of
the state to see that the legal system promotes justice on the basis of equal opportunity for all its
citizens. It must therefore arrange to provide free legal aid to those who cannot access justice due
to economic and other disabilities.

My Opinion on this Case

I would like to conclude by saying that the violation of that right can reasonably be prevented
and due action should taken with the mandate of Article 21, is to pay a fine as a punishment to its
violators in the payment of monetary compensation. The right to compensation is some measures
for the unlawful acts of the facts which act in the name of public interest and which present for
their protection. Therefore, the state must repair the damage done by its officers to the petitioners
and its their rights to pay compensation.