Cases Related to Scope of Article 21 of Constitution of India

Article 21 of the Indian Constitution is considered as Heart of the fundamental right by the Supreme Court in Unni Krishnan's case. Article 21 states that every person has the right to life and personal liberty except procedure established by law. It basically protects the person from any kind of activity which threatens their life and personal liberty.


AK Gopalan v. the State of Madras (1950) In this case the petitioner ( A.K Gopalan) was detained under the Prevention of detention act,1950. He challenged his detention on the ground that his personal liberty was hampered. But the court held that the law made by legislation cannot be changed on the ground of unreasonableness, unjust, and fairness. That means the court will follow the procedure established by the law.


Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India (1978) In this case, the A.K. Gopalan case was overruled. The court held that article 21 has a wider scope and it also covers some rights included in Article 19 and there may be overlapping between articles 14 19 and 21. In this case, the petitioner (Maneka Gandhi) wasn't allowed to move freely and was ordered to surrender her passport under the passport act,1967. She was given the reason that it is done in the interest of the general public. the court widened the scope of article 21 and followed the principle of due process of law and procedure established by the law must be just, fair and reasonable.


Francis Coralie Mullin v. Union Territory of Delhi In this case, the court held that no person shall be deprived of his life and personal liberty except the procedure established by the law. The procedure must be just, reasonable and fair and if the law is challenged on any of these grounds then the court will decide the validity of the law on such grounds.


Olga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corporation, In this case, the court held that the right to livelihood falls under article 21 of the Constitution of India. As no one can live without means of subsistence. So, the Right to livelihood is the part of the right to life. Unni Krishnan v. State of Andhra Pradesh In this case, the court included certain rights under article 21 of the Indian constitution which are- right to privacy, right to shelter, right against solitary confinement, right against public hanging, protection of cultural heritage, pollution-free environment, right to Social justice and economic empowerment, right against custodial death.





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