Justice Khanna passes away at 95
New Delhi (PTI): Justice Hans Raj Khanna, former Supreme Court judge, who won international acclaim for his judgement during Emergency that courts cannot shut the doors for citizens against illegal detention, passed away in his sleep on Monday at 95.
Justice Khanna, who served as the judge of the apex court from 1971 to 1977, is survived by three sons and a daughter. His cremation will take place at Lodhi crematorium on Tuesday at 1130 hours.
Justice Khanna was for a long time a Member of the PTI Board of which he became the Chairman.
He was the lone dissenter in a five-member Bench which heard the habeas corpus case (ADM Jabalpur vs Shivkant Shukla) during emergency rule.
In the 4-1 judgement of April 1976, the majority accepted the contention that if a person is tortured or his wife spirited away and other family members detained without legal authority, there was no remedy and the court's doors were closed, a view opposed by Khanna.
Khanna held that the state has no power to deprive a person of his life or personal liberty without the authority of law.
"If India ever finds its way back to the freedom of democracy that were proud hallmarks of its first 18 years as an independent nation, someone will surely erect a monument to Justice Khanna of the Supreme Court," wrote the New York Times while praising the lone dissenting voice.
Before delivering his judgement, Justice Khanna mentioned to his sister that it could cost him the Chief Justiceship of India.
His apprehension proved to be correct as he was superceded for the post of Chief Justice of India in January 1977 and the same day he sent in his resignation.