Exercise of Judicial Authority in Habeas Corpus Cases


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In a crucial judgment, the Lahore High Court quashed an order passed by the Ex-Officio Justice of Peace directing the I.G. Punjab to proceed against ASI Muhammad Waqas under Section 155-C of the Police Order 2002. This decision emphasizes the importance of procedural compliance and the proper exercise of judicial authority in habeas corpus cases.

Key Areas:

Case Background: The petition was filed by Muhammad Waqas, challenging the order dated October 11, 2023, which directed action against him for allegedly detaining Mohsin Saleem unlawfully. The Ex-Officio Justice of Peace had issued the order following a habeas corpus petition by Fahad Saleem, Mohsin’s brother, claiming that Mohsin was in illegal custody.

Petitioner's Argument: Waqas's counsel argued that the petitioner had followed all legal requirements by taking custody of Mohsin Saleem in Lahore and transferring him to Gujrat within the mandated 24 hours. The counsel highlighted that the procedural requirements were fulfilled, including obtaining the necessary permissions and documenting the process in the police diary.

Court's Analysis: The court scrutinized the records, noting that the habeas corpus petition filed by Fahad Saleem did not mention the specific police station, which caused procedural confusion. Furthermore, the bailiff’s report did not provide clear evidence of the alleged unlawful detention. The court emphasized that the petitioner had documented the transfer and custody process correctly and had attempted to obtain a transit remand, which was delayed due to court hours.

Legal Precedents: The court referenced Article 10(2) of the Constitution of Pakistan and Section 61 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which mandate that an arrested individual must be presented before a magistrate within 24 hours. The court found no evidence of violation of these provisions by the petitioner.

Conclusion: Judge Aalia Neelum concluded that the Ex-Officio Justice of Peace exceeded his jurisdiction under Sections 22-A and 22-B of Cr.P.C. The order against ASI Muhammad Waqas was deemed illegal, void, and without lawful authority. Consequently, the petition was accepted, and the impugned order was set aside.

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