Question: “No person shall be deprived of his life and personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law.” Discuss with the help of decided cases. [MPJS 2009, UPJS 2018] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [“No person shall be deprived of his life and personal liberty except according to the procedure established… Read More »

Question: “No person shall be deprived of his life and personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law.” Discuss with the help of decided cases. [MPJS 2009, UPJS 2018] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [“No person shall be deprived of his life and personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law.” Discuss with the help of decided cases. [MPJS 2009, UPJS 2018] Answer Article 21 of the Indian Constitution states...

Question: “No person shall be deprived of his life and personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law.” Discuss with the help of decided cases. [MPJS 2009, UPJS 2018]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [“No person shall be deprived of his life and personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law.” Discuss with the help of decided cases. [MPJS 2009, UPJS 2018]

Answer

Article 21 of the Indian Constitution states that “No person shall be deprived of his life and personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law.” Hence, this Article prohibits encroachment upon a person’s right to life and personal liberty against the state. The state here refers to all entities having statutory authority, like the Government and Parliament at the Central and State level, local authorities, etc. Thus, violation of the right by private entities is not within its purview.

The significance of the terms ‘life’ and ‘personal liberty is of utmost importance here to give a wide interpretation to this provision. It encompasses a wide variety of rights of the people, which are a result of the evolution in the interpretation of Article 21 by the courts over the years in various landmark judgments. The term ‘Personal Liberty’ was first interpreted in the case of A.K. Gopalan v. State of Madras in 1950, which is explained below.

In this case, the Petitioner, a communist leader, was detained under the Preventive Detention Act, 1950. He claimed that such detention was illegal as it infringed upon his freedom of movement granted in Article 19(1)(d) of the Constitution of India and thus also violated his Personal Liberty as granted by Article 21 since freedom of movement should be considered a part of a person’s personal liberty. The court stated that personal liberty meant liberty of the physical body and thus did not include the rights given under Article 19(1). Hence, Personal liberty was considered to include some rights like the right to sleep and eat, etc. while the right to move freely was relatively minor and was not included in one’s “personal” liberty.

Further, in the case of Kharak Singh v. State of U.P, AIR 1993 SC 1295: The petitioner, was accused of dacoity but was released due to a lack of evidence against him. The UP Police then began surveillance over him who included domiciliary visits at night, periodical inquiries, verification of movements, and the like. The petitioner filed a writ petition challenging the constitutional validity of this State action. The court held that the right to personal liberty constitutes not only the right to be free from restrictions placed on one’s movements but also to be free from encroachments on one’s private life. Thus, personal liberty was considered to include all the residual freedoms of a person not included in Article 19(1).

Finally, the jurisprudential evolution of this concept and its significance related to a wide variety of rights encompassed in Article 21 was adjudged in the Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India (1978 AIR 597)case. In the present case, the court held that the right to travel and go outside the country must be included in the Right to Personal Liberty. It stated that “personal liberty” given in Article 21 had the widest amplitude and covered a variety of rights related to the personal liberty of a person.

The scope of personal liberty was, hence, greatly increased and it was held to include all the rights granted under Article 21, as well as all other rights related to the personal liberty of a person. Such a right could only be restricted by a procedure established by law, which had to be “fair, just and reasonable, not fanciful, oppressive or arbitrary.”


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-I
  2. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-I
  3. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-II
  4. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-IV
  5. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-V
  6. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-VI
  7. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-VII
  8. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-VIII
  9. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-IX
  10. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-X
Updated On 2021-05-26T06:21:30+05:30
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