Dua and Jagjit Singh, JJ.
(1) This petition for a writ of habeas corpus under Article 226 of the Constitution was presented in this Court by the petitioner Dev Raj, Head Constable No. 29/C Delhi Police, throught jail on 12. 5. 1967. We issued ntoice on IS. 5. 1987 turn 18. 5. 1967 and directed that the petitioner detenue be produced in this Court on that day. Unfortunately, the cue has nto been disposed of till today. As a matter of fact, it was placed before a learned Single Judge on 18. 5. 1967 when it was directed to be placed before us to day.
(2) The respondents have produced the remand orders made by cornpetent Courts from time to time confining the petitioner to Judicial custody, during the course of the proceedings prelimingry to his trial. We have before us three complaints against the petitioner; the first one was lodged on 29. 4. 1967, the second on 1. 5. 1967 and the third on 4.5.1987. These cases, it may be pointed out, are an offshoto of the unprecedented agitation launched by the employees of the Police Force in Delhi in the middle of April, 1967. On 15 4. 1967, there were a large number of arrests made from outside the residence of the Home Minister. Indeed, it is nto disputed that there ware about 677 persons arrested on that day. The latest remind orders which have been produced before us, remanding the accused to judicial custody, have nto been found fault with by the petitioner, and indeed in one of those cases the petitioner himself has asked for adjournment on the ground that he wanted to move an application for transfer of the case from the Court of Shri Kalia. In the toher two cases, 'time was sought by the petitioner for the purpose of studying the case.
(3) Before us, the petitioner, who is anintelligent young man and has argued his case in person with more than usual shrewdness' which might have been expected of a person in his position, has tried to show that he is innocent and has been falsely roped in these cases, and that he is a victim of vindictiveness on the part of his higher officers because he was an active worker for the purpose of organising a trade union of the police employees. He has attempted to show that on 15. 4. 1967, when more than 600 parsons ware arrested opposite the house of the Home Minister, it was physically impossible for the police officers concerned to carry out all the formalities which were required under the law when effecting arrests and which the respondents profess to have complied with within a short period of time. He has also urged that he was nto produced before a Magistrate for a long time after his arrest. He has indeed attempted to urge a number of toher points for the purpose of showing that he was nto one of those persons who were concerned with the agitation on 15. 4. 1967 and his name does nto appear in the first information report as one who was exciting tohers to violate the law or was toherwise illegally agitating. We did nto interrupt the petitioner and heard him patiently at great length because, arguing in person as he did, we felt that he must have the satisfaction of stating his case as fully as he liked. Since he has nto gto the benefit of having his case argued by a professional lawyer, we considered it appropriate to listen to the points sought to be made by him, though we did explain to him that arguments on the merits of his guilt or innocence would be of no avail to him in the present proceedings in which we are concerned with the legality of his present detention. Feeling that the petitioner may nto be able to realise the technicalities of a writ of habeas corpus the narrow scope of the present proceedings we have and ouselves game through all the papers before us, buth by the petitioner the respondents. We have done so because of the great constitutional importance of personal liberty in this Republic and the vigilance required of this Court in prtoecting it against its illegal deprivation. The laws of India are very jealous of infringements of personnel liberty and the anxiety of this Court in being vigilant in this respect is nto lessened merely because the citizen, whose liberty is in question, may nto be particularly meritorious or may have been guilty of something with which one has no sympathy. The test of belief in the principles lies in applying them to cases with which one is nto in agreement and with which one may nto sympathise at all. On proper scrutiny of the record, we are fully satisfied that the remand orders under which the petitioner is being held in judicial custody at the present moment or at the time of the presentation of this petition, are, on their face, perfectly valid and no infirmity is discernible. In habeas corpus proceedings, it is well settled that if the detention of a petitioner is justifiable on the face of an order made by a competent authority and it is nto legaly infirm toherwise, then the writ Court can do precious little and the petitioner must seek his remedies elswhere in toher competent Courts.
(4) Though the petitioner has addressed us on the question of his innocence and on irregularities of his initial arrest, and though in the return, highly demaging averments have been made against the petitioner, we are refraining ourselves from expressing any opinion on the merits as the case on the merits will have to be decided by the Court holding the trial. The foundation of this Court's jurisdiction is the illegality of the detention and nto any toher infirmity which may entitle the petitioner to the relief on the merits at his trial.
(5) For the foregoing reasons, this petition fails and is dismissed. We, however, hope that the State will try to expedite the hearing of the cases pending against the petitioner.