Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on LinkedIn

Share on Email

Share More


Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #1: AK Gopalan Vs State of Madras

The above Judgement passed by the Supreme Court of India came into limelight since it was the first-ever matter that came before the Apex Court after its establishment in 1950. It was a case where the interpretation about Article 19 and 21 was set out by the Supreme Court. In this case the Supreme Court wasn’t able to deliver a satisfactory judgement due to which it was a failure in judicial history. The SC petty decision in regard to Article 19 as well as Article 21. This raised questions on the legality of Act 4 of 1950.

The SC held that the words of same nature in when used in different provisions should be understood differently as they function as different interpretations for different provisions. Thus, the question that was raised by the petitioner regarding the violation of Fundamental Rights under 21st Article of the Indian Constitution and the usage of words “procedure established by law” does not in any sense amount to “due process”. Therefore, if the legislature would have meant that these two words have the same meaning or refer to the same thing the framers of the constitution might have expressed it clearly. The word law means ‘Lex’ and not just so they cannot abridge and violate Article 21.

Further reading material is available here

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #2: Maneka Gandhi Vs Union of India

In the matter of Maneka Gandhi (petitioner), her passport was issued on June 1, 1967 as per the Passport Act, 1967. But on July 2nd, 1967, the Regional Passport Office, New Delhi ordered her to surrender her Passport. The Reason for the same Case was not provided by the External Affairs Ministry.

The most important Judgement passed by the Apex Court was regarding the interlinking that was laid down between the provisions of Articles 14, 19 & 21. Through this link the Supreme Court made these provisions inseparable and into a single entity. The Judgement, apart from protecting citizens from the unchallenged actions of the Executive, also safeguarded the sanctity of the Parliamentary Law, when it refused to strike down the 1967 Act’s Sections 10(3)(c) and 10(5).

Further reading material is available here.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #3: Hussainara Vs Home Secretary, Bihar

The petition in this matter was presented before the court in regard to release of prisoners in the state of Bihar, after which the state government was directed to provide year-wise break up presentation of each and every under-trial prisoner.

This presentation was requiring to be categorised into two sub-categories on the basis of grievance of offences i.e. Minor and Major. After hearing was done, the court decided that all the details of under trial prisoners that was provided in the list by Mr Hingorani shall be released forthwith as continuance because their detention was illegal and was in violation of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

Moreover, the Court held that on next date of their remands these under trial prisoners should be presented before Magistrates and the State Government shall on its own expenses appoint a lawyer for each in order for filing of the bail application. All this was decided by the court because those under trial prisoners have exceeded the maximum duration of offences they were convicted for.

Further reading material is available here

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #4: Vineet Narain Vs Union of India

This case was concerned with the historic Hawala Scandal that took place in India. The scandal actually uncovered several possible bribery payments made to many of the high-ranking Indian politicians as well as bureaucrats from a funding source linked to suspected terrorists. The news coverage regarding the members of the public was dismayed (tended to cause shock) due to the failure of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to initiate investigations over the officials with the apparent intent to protect certain implicated individuals who were extremely influential in government and politics.

The litigation in this case was the result of public interest petitions filed on these matters with the Court pursuant to Article 32 of the Indian Constitution, which empowers the Supreme Court to issue directions for the enforcement of fundamental rights contained in the Constitution.

The court therefore, agreed that the CBI had failed in its responsibility to investigate allegations of public corruption. In addition to which it laid down guidelines in order to ensure independence and autonomy of the CBI and ordered that the CBI be placed under the supervision of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), an independent governmental agency intended to be free from executive control or interference. This directive removed the CBI from the supervision of the Central Government thought to be partly responsible for the inertia that contributed to the CBI’s previous lack of urgency in respect to the investigation of high-ranking officials. The CVC was now responsible for ensuring that allegations of corruption against public officials were thoroughly investigated regardless of the identity of the accused as well as without any interference from the Government.

More about the same can be read here

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement


Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #5: Satwant Singh Sawhney Vs Assistant Passport Officer

The said matter came into limelight due to its recognition in regard to travelling as a fundamental right. Since in the case of Union of India Vs Maneka Gandhi the Supreme Court the right to travelling as a fundamental right under the 21st Article of Constitution of India, this case was regarded as a base matter for many more future cases on the same issue, as it was the very first matter where SC held an opinion of right to travelling as fundamental right.
The main highlights of the judgement are as follows:

  • The refusal to the petitioner for issuance of passport was held voidable for Article 14 of the Indian Constitution.
  • Article 21 deals with personal liberty guaranteed to every resident of the country. It was also held that the right to travel isn’t permitted to be stated voidable by any State Law until and unless it is done with any procedures established by law.
  • It was asked by respondents to stop taking decisions that were against the establishment of the aforesaid decision as well as to stop the depriving of petitioners of his passports and facilities that were requisite.

More reading material available here

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #6: Kharak Singh Vs State of Uttar Pradesh

This case revolved around Kharak Singh, an accused in dacoity case was let off due to the lack of evidence and challenged regular surveillance by police authorities on the grounds of infringement of his fundamental rights. Provisions of the Uttar Pradesh police regulations allowed domiciliary visits at night, secret picketing of Singh’s house, tracking/verifying his movement and periodic inquiries by officers. After facing these issues repeatedly, Singh filed a writ petition before the Supreme Court saying that this was an infringement of his fundamental rights. A six-judge bench examined the issue. The main question was whether surveillance under the Uttar Pradesh police regulations constituted an infringement of the citizen’s fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Constitution.

Justice Subbarao pointed out that even though the right to privacy was not recognised as a fundamental right, it was essential to personal liberty under Article 21. He also held all surveillance measures to be unconstitutional. In a significant judgment, the court ruled that “privacy was not a guaranteed constitutional right”. It however, held that Article 21 (right to life) was the repository of residuary personal rights and recognised the common law right to privacy. However, the provision allowing domiciliary visits was called/held Unconstitutional.

Click here for more reading material.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement


Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #7: Sunil Batra Vs Delhi Administration

The case of Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration & Others stands out as one of an important landmark judgment which helped to secure the Fundamental Rights of Prisoners. It was unique in a several aspects, one of which was that the petitioner in question was a convict on death row, something that’s not many were familiar at that time. It brought to light a host of issues, which consisted of the clashes between various Fundamental Rights along with the Prison Act of 1874.

In this case, the Supreme court held that, vis-a-vis Article 32 and Article 226, it had the power to intervene and restore the fundamental rights of prisoners. That is, it was completely within the authority of the honourable court to intervene and protect prisoners from harsh or inhuman treatment. Also, it was made clear that during the prisoner’s time in jail, the jail authorities do not have any rights to punish, torture or in any way discriminate against them without the explicit permission or orders of the court. Only the court had that right.

More reading material is available here.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #8: Prem Shankar Vs Delhi Administration

In the following case the petitioner was a prisoner under-trial and was kept at the Tihar Jail, New Delhi. Every time while being taken to court for the purpose of various pending matters and judgments he would be handcuffed by the officer in charge or on duty on that particular day. Even after the Trial court had given its hearing that handcuffs should not be used and made applicable while taking the petitioner to the court and back for the proceedings, but still the escorting officers continued the same.

The Supreme Court of India has repeatedly condemned the unnecessary use of handcuffs by the police as a violation of the right to personal liberty guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The landmark Supreme Court case on handcuffing is Prem Shankar Shukla v. Delhi Administration (1980). In this case, the validity of certain clauses of the Punjab Police Rules, which made handcuffing mandatory during arrest, was challenged. In his opinion, Justice Krishna Iyer eloquently stated: “The guaranty of human dignity which forms part of our constitutional culture spring[s] into action when we realise that to manacle (handcuff) man is more than to mortify him, it is to dehumanise him and, therefore, to violate his very personhood too often using the mask of dangerousness and security.”
More reading material is available here.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #9: Pramanada Katara Vs Union of India

A writ petition was filed in the Supreme Court by a public-spirited person in response to a news report of a scooterist who was knocked down by a car and died due to lack of medical treatment. The matter revolved around an accident in which a scooterist was taken to the nearest hospital but was turned away and sent to another hospital 20kms away which was authorized to handle medico-legal cases. The scooterist died while he was being transported to the other hospital. The petitioner sought the issuance of a specific direction to the Union of India by the Supreme Court which read as: “every citizen brought for treatment should instantaneously be given medical aid to preserve life and thereafter the procedural criminal law should be allowed to operate in order to avoid negligent death and in the event of breach of such direction, apart from any action that may be taken for negligence, appropriate compensation should be admissible.” Along with the Union of India, the Medical Council of India and the Indian Medical Association were impleaded as respondents.

The Court ordered that no law or state action can discharge medical professionals from their paramount duty to administer life-saving care. It further ordered that the judgement be publicized widely to ensure medical professionals across the country were aware of the position in relation to medico-legal cases.

More reading material is available here.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #10: Consumer Research And Education Centre Vs Union of India

In the following case the petitioner applied for remedial measures to fill in legislative gaps, to require mandatory compensation for occupational hazards and diseases or death to employees who did not qualify for such coverage under the existing labour legislations, to provide adequate mechanisms for diagnosing and controlling asbestosis (such as mandatory mechanisms to measure levels of asbestos in workplaces coupled with expert panels to established permissible levels of asbestos), to establish a committee to recommend whether the dry process can be completely replaced by the wet, to keep health records of each workman for requisite minimum periods, to provide compulsory health insurance for employees, and finally to award compensation to those suffering from asbestos.

The Court discussed the Convention 162 of the International Labour Conference that provides for provisions for the betterment of labourers. The Court ordered that the “All Safety in the Use of Asbestos” regulations and guidelines published by the International Labour Organization be binding on all industries, that industries be bound to compensate employees for health hazards they had suffered as a result of asbestos exposure, that there be the maintenance of health records by industries of every worker for a minimum period of time.

More reading material is available here.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #11: LIC of India Vs Consumer Research And Education Centre

The Consumer Education and Research Center, an NGO working in the areas of consumer rights, filed several writ petitions against the Government of India under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution regarding the protection of workers against the occupational health hazards and diseases associated with asbestos exposure.

The petitioner applied for remedial measures to fill in legislative gaps, to require mandatory compensation for occupational hazards and diseases or death to employees who did not qualify for such coverage under the existing labor legislations, to provide adequate mechanisms for diagnosing and controlling asbestosis (such as mandatory mechanisms to measure levels of asbestos in workplaces coupled with expert panels to established permissible levels of asbestos), to establish a committee to recommend whether the dry process can be completely replaced by the wet, to keep health records of each workman for requisite minimum periods, to provide compulsory health insurance for employees, and finally to award compensation to those suffering from asbestos.
More reading material is available here.

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #12: Chameli Singh Vs State of Uttar Pradesh

The Right to have Food is a Fundamental Right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The Hon’ble Supreme Court, in Chameli Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh3 observed, ... Right to live guaranteed in any civilised society implies the right to food, water, decent environment education, medical care and shelter. The historical and political background of the Right to Food (hereinafter also referred to as RTF) is much more than the history and politics of malnutrition. It concerns the development of the notion of access to food as a right. As a right it sets obligations on the State, which have been established as enforceable through centuries of social struggle for a democratic state in the service of the people. Traditionally, people had no remedy other than revolt against a king or state that failed to meet its obliga­tions.

More reading material is available here.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #13: DTC Vs DTC Mazdoor Congress

The Supreme Court held that the subsequent Rules and Regulations, framed in the exercise of powers conferred by Section 53 of the Delhi Transport Authority, does not give reasonable justification as to termination of services of its employees, moreover it violates Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

Delhi Road Transport Act, 1950: Section 53/Delhi Road Transport Authority) (Conditions of Appointment and Service) Regulations, 1952-Regulation 9(b)/Shastri Award-Para 522/District Board Rules, 1926, Part V-Rule 1(1)/Indian Airlines Employees’ Regulations-Regulation 13/Air India Employees’ Regulations-Regulation 48-Validity of-Termination of service of permanent employee without assigning any reasons and holding enquiry.

More reading material is available here.

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #14: DF Marion Vs Minnie Davis

The Supreme Court referring to D.F. Marion v. Minnie Davis in Smt. The court affirmed that the right to enjoyment of life, liberty, and property. The court affirmed that the right to enjoyment of private reputation was of ancient origin and was necessary to human society. Indian judiciary provided excellent elucidation to right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the constitution. The Supreme Court not only explained the instinctive human qualities of the Article 21 but also established certain procedure to implement them. This makes the Rule of Law magnificent and meaningful. Each interpretation or the procedure laid down with regard to Article 21 is particularly aimed to achieve justice mentioned in the Preamble through all round development of the citizens. Each explanation provided attempts to fulfil the basic needs of the human being while safeguarding ones dignity.

It is difficult to find such noble, lofty, dignified illustrations and interpretations as provided by the Supreme Court of India to the concept of right to life and personal liberty elsewhere in the world. The Indian concept did not confine the right of life and personal liberty only to ones physical entity. It means to strive for all round development of a person so that justice shall triumph.

More reading material is available here.

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #15: Vishakha Vs State of Rajasthan

Vishaka & ors. v/s state of Rajasthan is a case which deals with the evil of Sexual Harassment of a women at her workplace. It is a landmark judgment case in the history of sexual harassment which as being decide by Supreme Court. Sexual Harassment means an uninvited/unwelcome sexual favor or sexual gestures from one gender towards the other gender. It makes the person feel humiliated, offended and insulted to whom it is been done. In many of the cases, it has been observed that homosexual labor harass an employee belonging to the same sex to which he belongs.

The court decided that the consideration of “International Conventions and norms are significant for the purpose of interpretation of the guarantee of gender equality, right to work with human dignity in Articles 14, 15, 19(1)(g) and 21 of the Constitution and the safeguards against sexual harassment implicit therein.” The petition, resulted in what are popularly known as the Vishaka Guidelines. The judgment of August 1997 given by a bench of J. S. Verma (then C.J.I)., Sujata Manohar and B. N. Kirpal, provided the basic definitions of sexual harassment at the workplace and provided guidelines to deal with it. It is seen as a significant legal victory for women’s groups in India.

More reading material is available here.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #16: Maneka Gandhi Vs Union of India

In Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, the Supreme Court gave a new dimension to Art. 21 and held that the right to live is not merely a physical right but includes within its ambit the right to live with human dignity. Overruling A.K Gopalan’s decision was appreciated nationwide and this case had become a landmark case in history since it broadened the scope of fundamental rights.

The respondent’s contention that any law is valid and legit until it is repealed was highly criticized by judges. Also, by providing a liberal interpretation to Maneka Gandhi, the courts had set a benchmark for coming generations to seek their basic rights whether or not explicitly mentioned under part III of the constitution.

More reading material is available here.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #17: Sunil Batra Vs Delhi Administration

In Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration (1978) 4 SCC 409 this Court rejected the ‘hands-off’ doctrine and ruled that fundamental rights do not flee the person as he enters the prison although they may suffer shrinkage necessitated by incarceration. The laws that stood exposed in this case like many others, were creations left behind from the era of British colonialism. It was not in keeping with the international human rights legislation of the time and was clearly exposed as being outdated and pervasive to the growth of a modern India.

This case also put an intense focus on the duties and responsibilities of jail superintendents. It highlighted the perils of what a lapse of duty could lead to.
It also marked a turning point in the treatment of prisoners, with lawyers being nominated henceforth by the District Magistrate, Session Judge, High Court or Supreme Court for interview visits and confidential communication with prisoners in relation to their treatment in cells among other things.

More reading material is available here.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #18: State of Maharashtra Vs Prabhakar Pandurang

Prabbakar Pandurang Sanzgiri, who has been detained by the Government of Maharashtra under S. 30(1)(b) of the Defence of India Rules, 1962, in the Bombay District Prison in order to prevent him from acting in a manner pre- judicial to the defence of India, public safety and maintenance$ of public order, has written, with the permission of the said Government, a book in Marathi under the title "Anucha Antarangaat" (Inside the Atom). The learned Judges of the High Court, who had gone through the table of contents of the book. expressed their opinion on the book thus : "............ we are satisfied that the manuscript book deals with the theory of elementary particles in -in objective way. The manuscript does not purport to be a research work but it purports to be a book written with a view to educate the people and disseminate knowledge regarding quantum theory."

As there is no condition in the Bombay Conditions of Detention Order, 1951, prohibiting a detenu from writing a book or sending it for publication, the State of Maharashtra in refusing to allow the same infringed the personal liberty of the first Respondent in derogation of the law whereunder he was detained.

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #19: Sher Singh Vs State of Punjab

In that case the Federal Court commuted the sentence of death to sentence of transportation for life for reasons other than that a long delay had intervened after the death sentence was imposed. In Ediga Anamma, Piare Dusadh was regarded as a leading case on the point. In Sher Singh v. State of Punjab (1983) which refused to accept the decision of Vatheeswaran as a “binding rule”. Chandrachud CJ., speaking for the bench, held that the court does not subscribe to the “absolute and unqualified” rule of delay of 2 years and that the court must, in all cases, inquire into the cause of the delay.

The writ petitions filed in this matter challenge the constitutional validity of Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code read with Section 354, Sub-section (3) of the CrPC in so far as it provides death sentence as an alternative punishment for the offence of murder.

More reading material is available here.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #20: Attorney General of India Vs Lachma Devi

He issue of public hanging came to the Supreme Court through a writ petition Attorney General v. Lachma Devi {1989 SCC [CRI] 413} in this petition the order of Rajasthan High Court regarding the execution of the petitioner by public hanging under the relevant rules of Jail manual. The S.C. held that public hanging even if permitted under the rules would violate Article 21 of the Constitution.

Here in India the present position regarding death sentence is quite a balanced one. Whereas, the wide judicial discretion given to the court has resulted into enormously varying judgment, which does not potray a good picture of the justice delivery system. What is needed to be done is that the principle laid down in cases like Bachan Singh or Machhi Singh have to be strictly complied with, so that the person convicted for offence of similar nature are awarded punishment of identical degree.

More reading material about the same is available here.

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #21: Deena v. Union of India

The petitioners who had been sentenced to death for the offence of murder were awaiting execution of the sentence. Their plea was that hanging by rope is a cruel and barbarous method of executing of the sentence and section 354(5) Cr. P.C. which prescribes that method is violative of Art. 21 of the Constitution.

The respondent contended that a sentence lawfully imposed by a court can and has to be fulfilled, though by causing the least pain and suffering and by avoiding torture or degradation of any kind; that the method prescribed by section 354(5), Cr. P.C. for executing the death sentence is a humane and dignified method involving the least amount of pain and cruelty; that no other method of executing the death sentence is quicker or less painful; and that Art. 21 does not postulate that no pain or suffering whatsoever shall be caused in the execution of a sentence lawfully imposed by a court, including the sentence of death.

In India, the mode of execution of death sentence is hanging. Section 354 (5) of the Code of Criminal Procedure Code provides that when any prisoner is sentenced to death, the sentence shall direct that he be hanged by the neck till he is dead. Hanging is still the most common method of executing convicts. The issue regarding the constitutionality of the Section 354 first came up before the Supreme Court in this case. Though the Court asserted that it was a judicial function to investigate into the reasonableness of a mode of punishment, it refused to hold the mode of hanging as being violative of Article 21 of the Constitution.

The court held that section 354(5) of the I.P.C., which prescribed hanging as a mode of fair execution which is just and reasonable procedure within the meaning of Art- 21 and hence is constitutional. Although, death by shooting is contemplated under the Army Act, Navy Act and Air Force Act. They provide for the discretion of the Court Martial to either provide for the execution of the death sentence by hanging or by being shot to death.

More reading material is available here

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #22: Babu Singh vs State of UP

The accused Babu Singh was convicted under section 302 325 and 307 of IPC read with section 34 of IPC sentences him to imprisonment for life 3 years and 7 years request imprisonment respectively thereunder. After the accused's first appeal for bail was rejected by the court he appeared again for the bail. The Allahabad High court held that an order refusing an application for bail does not necessarily preclude another, on a latter occasion, giving more materials for the development and different considerations. While delivering the judgement the court held great emphasis on article 21 of the constitution.

The court said deprivation of Liberty it is a matter of grave concern and permissible only when the law of the rising it is reasonable. Personal liberty deprived when bail is refused is too precious a value of India's constitutional system recognised under article 21. The court also said that public justice is central to whole scheme of bail law.

Para 5 of the judgement laid down the vital considerations as –

(a) The nature of charge, the nature of the evidence and, the punishment to which the party may be liable, if convicted, or conviction is confirmed.
(b) whether the course of justices would be thwarted by him who seeks the benignant jurisdiction of the Court to be freed for the time being.
(c) Antecedents of the man and socio-geographical circumstance, and whether or the petitioner's record shows him to be 'a habitual offender,
(d) When, a person charged with a grave offence has been acquitted at a stage, the intermediate acquittal has pertinence to a bail plea when the appeal before this Court pends.
(e) Whether the accused's safety maybe. more. in, prison, then in the, vengeful village where feuds have provoked the violent offence and
(f) The period in prison already spent and the prospect of delay in the appeal being heard and disposed of.

More reading material is available here

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #23: Zahira Habibullah Sheikh v. State of Gujarat

Commonly known as "the best bakery case", it symbolises the in humanity of the Carnage post Godhara riots which involved killing 1,200 people. On 16 June 2005, the supreme court extended the term of the Bombay special court to conduct the retrial of this case. This was one of the unique cases as the charges were originally brought in various criminal courts as a result of communal violence which exploded in Gujarat in 2002.
This case also gives us an idea of free trial and fair trial. The concept of fair trial was implemented in this case. In its judgement the court held that there was absence of an atmosphere conducted to fair trial in this case.
The court also held in para 35 and 36 of the judgement that the notion of fair trial is described as a "triangulation of interest of the accused, the victim, and the society" and therefore an unfair trial is an injustice to the victim and to the society as well as the accused.
Fair trial means "a trial in which bias or prejudice for or against the accused, the witnesses or the cause which is being tried is eliminated".
The court also held that it is the fundamental right of the accused to a fair trial as articulated in article 21 of the Indian constitution and article 19 of ICCPR and a balance must be struck between the three by the respected courts.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #24: Hussainara Khatoon v. Home Secretary, State of Bihar

The case had been brought up before the Supreme Court under its original jurisdiction by a Writ Petition. The petition was for the matter of a writ of habeas corpus where the petitioners stated that a substantial number of men and women including children were in jails for years awaiting trial in courts of law and that the offences, even if proved, would not warrant sentence for more than a few months. Although sufficient opportunity was given, the State did not appear before the Court.

The court held that - Free legal service, as mandate under Article 39-A is an indisputable element of ‘reasonable, just and fair’ procedure, without which a person suffering from economic or other disabilities shall suffer from unequal opportunity to secure justice.
Right to free legal service is thus a fundamental right of every accused who cannot employ a lawyer owing to reasons like poverty or indigence and the State is under an obligation to provide for a lawyer, provide the accused does not object to the provision of such a lawyer.

The supreme court also held (per Justice Bhagwati) (at 107, para 10) that the State is under a Constitutional mandate to provide “speedy trials” and cannot avoid this obligation by pleading monetary or administrative inability and the Supreme Court being the guardian of the fundamental rights of the people may issue directions to the States for enforcing the fundamental right of speedy trial of the prisoners. These instructions may involve taking of positive action, such as enhancing and boosting the investigative machinery, setting up new courts, constructing new court houses, appointment of additional judges and other measures calculated to ensure speedy trial. The Supreme Court also stated that right to free legal aid is the important under the Article 21 of the Indian Constitution for the person accused of any offence.

More reading material is available here

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #25: M.H. Hoskot v. State of Maharashtra

This case is the first case where the right to free legal aid was talked about and concluded that it is important to make aware the poor people with their Constitutional and Statutory rights. And also, it is the obligation of the State to deliver legal services to the underprivileged section of the society who cannot afford the expenses of the Court. This case also relates how the Fundamental Rights of the citizens were violated by not providing the free legal aid services to the indigent people.

The court observed that Article 21 of the Constitution talks about the Right to life and the personal liberty – No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law, which means the fair and the reasonable procedure.

Article 19 read out with the Article 21 in the case Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, which laid down that the personal liberty cannot be overlooked without fair and reasonable legal procedure.

Copy of judgement should be given to the prisoner in time so that in case of appeal he can file case in superior court as well. Free legal assistance should be provided to the convicts who are poor or with other incapacities as this is the obligation of the State.

If a inmate is unable to exercise his Constitutional and Statutory right of appeal including the free legal aid the Court has to appoint a lawyer for the inmate for executing Justice.

When the prisoner requests for appeal, it’s the responsibility of the prison administration to deliver facilities for the exercise of such rights.

The accused is entitled to a lawyer, not in the permissive sense of Article 22 (1) and its broader scope but the peremptory sense of Article 21 confined to prison situations.

The Court shall not diverge the request under Article 136 of the Constitution so that the Justice should be given to every litigator, civil and criminal floods.

A copy of the judgment should be provided to the prisoner in time to file an appeal. Also, there is free of charge legal aid provision and this facility is available to the prisoners who are poor or deactivated from obtaining legal help. And these are the duties of the State under Article 21 of the constitution.

More reading material is available here

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #26: Joginder Kumar v. State of Uttar Pradesh

In the case of Joginder Kumar v. State of Uttar Pradesh, the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that “No arrest can be made because it is lawful for the Police Officer to do so. The Police Officer must be able to justify the arrest apart from his power to do so. Arrest and detention in police lock-up of a person can cause incalculable harm to the reputation and self-esteem of a person. No arrest can be made in a routine manner on a mere allegation of commission of an offence made against a person. It would be prudent for a Police Officer in the interest of protection of the constitutional rights of a citizen and perhaps in his own interest that no arrest should be made without a reasonable satisfaction reached after some investigation as to the authenticity and bona fides of a complaint and a reasonable belief both as to the person’s complicity and even so as to the need to effect arrest. Denying a person of his liberty is a serious matter. The recommendations of the Police Commission merely reflect the constitutional co-occurrences of the fundamental right to personal liberty and freedom. A person is not liable to arrest merely on the suspicion of complicity in an offence. There must be some reasonable justification in the opinion of the Officer effecting the arrest that such arrest is necessary and justified.” The court formed an opinion that there must be distinction between presence of power and justification for the came when arrests are made.

It was further observed by the court that, an arrested person holds rights to inform someone about his arrest, upon request and also has the right to consult with a lawyer of his choice. The apex court stated that these rights provided to an arrested person vested in Articles 21 and 22(1) of the Indian Constitution and are required to be acknowledged and safeguarded.

The court in para 21 of the judgement, laid down points for efficient enforcement of these fundamental rights.

More reading material is available here

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #27: Mr. X v. Hospital Z

As it can be observed by the name of the case, the name of the parties was never disclosed. The judges are not bound to disclose the name of the victims in certain situations. The case begged two question before the court - Whether doctors can expose the patient's confidential information in certain situations and whether the spouse of an HIV patient has the right to know about their partner's HIV AIDS status.

In this case a man was engaged to a woman and was set to get married to her, but it was called off as he was diagnosed with HIV and the doctor disclosed this fact to his fiancée. The man contended that the respondent hospital and the doctor had breached their duty under medical ethics by disclose of this information.

The court observed that the fiancée’s right to life under article 21 of the constitution should be protected over the right to privacy of the HIV patient. Hence the court held that the doctor had done no wrong in disclosing the HIV positive status to the fiancée. It was also concluded that both the rights that are right to privacy and right to confidentiality are not absolute. The doctor did not violate any confidentiality as he was concerned about the life and health of the man’s fiancée.

The court also observed that the HIV AIDS patient's right to marriage is not suspended they can marry with the informed consent of the other spouse. It was concluded that disclosure of dreadful disease to a concerning person (in this case fiancée) is not against the right to privacy as right to life under article 21 would prevail.

More reading material is available here

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #28: PUCL v. Union of India

PUCL filed a PIL before the Supreme Court, underlining the instances of telephone tapping in the recent past. The petitioner challenged the constitutional validity of Section 5(2) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885.

The Supreme Court stated that the right to hold telephonic conversation in the privacy of one’s Home or Office without interference can be claimed as ‘right to privacy’ and a telephonic conversation is a vital aspect Mans private life. The court also ruled that telephonic tapping would be violative of article 21 of the constitution unless it was permitted by procedures established by law and it would also be violative of right to freedom of speech and expression under article 19.
Only the Home Secretary, Government of India and the State Governments can issue an order for telephone-tapping as per S. 5(2) of the Act.

It is important to take into consideration whether the information which is considered necessary to acquire could have been reasonably acquired by other means so as to judge the necessity of such an order.

The interception required under Section 5(2) of the Act shall be the interception of such communications as are sent to or from one or more addresses, specified in the order, being an address or addresses likely to be used for the transmission of communications to or from, from one particular person specified or described in the order or one particular set of premises specified or defined in the order.

The use of the intercepted material shall be limited to the minimum that is necessary for terms of Section 5(2) of the Act, etc.

More reading material is available here

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #29: In Re: Noise Pollution

In this 2005 case, the supreme court talked about issues related to noise pollution with regards to article 21 of the constitution. In the petition before the court, the petitioner complained about the noise created by the use of loudspeakers during various religious performances, social occasions, or festivals and by political parties and the noise created by firecrackers in the commercial localities. The primary prayer of the petitioner was that the already existing laws for restricting the use of loudspeakers and other high volume noise producing audio-video systems be directed to be rigorously enforced.

The court stressed that in the modern days noise had become one of the major pollutants and it had serious effects on human health. It emphasized that those who made noise often took shelter behind Article 19(1) A pleading freedom of speech and right to expression. However, it was of the view that freedom from noise pollution was a part of the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution. The court observed that freedom from noise pollution as a fundamental is protected under article 21 of the constitution and noise pollution beyond permissible limits is a hindrance to that right. The court also highlighted already existing provisions against such practices like Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 and guidelines laid down in previous cases of the same nature and demanded for better implementation of the same.

More reading material is available here

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #30: Murli S. Deora v. Union of India

In this case, the Petitioner, Murli S. Deora brought the issue of public smoking into public interest on the basis of the right to life and liberty embraced in article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Tobacco consumption in public places is equally hazardous as it highly affects the wellbeing of non-smokers causing lung cancer, another disease, the reason for the death of a large sum of people. This is an obvious illustration of violation of article 21 of the Constitution which clearly asserts that no individual shall be deprived of his life and personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.

The court found that smoking in the public places is injurious to health of non – smokers and violating their right to life and liberty guaranteed under article 21 of the constitution and hence it directed the Union of India, State Government, and the Union Territories to implement this ban in all the public places which include auditoriums, hospital buildings, health institutions, educational institutions, libraries, public offices, court buildings and public conveyances including railways.
More reading material is available here

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #31: Subhash Kumar v. State of Bihar and Ors.

Mr Subhash Kumar filed a PIL for preventing the pollution of the water of the river Bokaro from the release of sludge/slurry from the washeries of Tata Iron & Steel Co. Ltd. The Petitioner alleged that the Parliament enacted Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1978 for maintaining the wholesomeness of water and for the prevention of water pollution.

The right to live is a Fundamental Right assured in Article 21 of the Constitution of India and guarantees the pollution-free environment and water to an individual. If anything endangers the quality of life of an individual, it is in violation of the laws.
The Court in the present case held that the present petition was not filed keeping in view the public interest rather it is filed for self-interest. It was noted by the court that the materials on record show that petition was filed in the personal interest, keeping in view the facts the Court rejected the present petition. The Court also ordered the Petitioner, Subhash Kumar to pay Rs. 5,000/- as compensation to the Respondents.

Article 32 of the Indian Constitution is created for the implementation of the Fundamental Rights of a citizen by the Supreme Court; it is an extraordinary procedure to safeguard the rights of a citizen. The Right to live is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution and guarantees a citizen to live in pollution-free water and air. A person cannot invoke Public Interest Litigation to satisfy his personal grudge. The present petition is not maintainable as it was not filed in the public interest and was the result of a personal grudge.

More reading material is available here

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #32: Gian Kaur v. the State of Punjab

The question before the court was whether Section 309 of the IPC violates Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution. The five-judge bench observed that “Right to Life” under Article 21 of Constitution does not incorporate the “Right to Die” or “right to be killed”. The Court also asserts that ‘Right to life” also incorporates the right to a dignified life till one reaches the point of death, including a dignified procedure of death, thus it includes the right of a dying man to also die with dignity when his life is ebbing out.

The Court ensured that the “Right to die” with dignity at the end of an individual’s life must not be misinterpreted with the “Right to die” in an unusual way of death. It was mentioned that accelerating the process of natural death of an individual which by god’s creation are imminent in nature, under such circumstances permitting termination of life is not available for interpretation under Article 21 to therein include the right to curtail an individual’s natural span of life.

Henceforth, the contention of the Appellants on making Section 309 of The Indian Penal Code to be unconstitutional, since they violated Article 21 of the Constitution cannot be accepted. Moreover, the Court, rejected the petitioner’s contention of challenging the constitutional validity of Section 309 based on Article 14. The Court had ultimately overruled the prior decision in the case of P. Rathinam v. Union of India, thus making Section 306 and Section 309 of IPC constitutionally valid.

More reading material is available here

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #33: Olga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corporation

In this case, the state of Maharashtra and the Bombay Municipal Corporation in 1981 decided to evict the pavement dwellers and those who were residing in slums in Bombay. The eviction was to proceed under Section 314 of the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act, 1888. The respondent’s action was challenged by the petitioner on the grounds that it is violative of Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution.

The court observed that the right to life conferred by section 21 is vast and far-reaching. It does not simply mean that life can be extinguished or removed only in accordance with the procedure established by law. This is just one aspect of the right to life. The right to livelihood is an equally important aspect of this right because no one can live without means of subsistence.

If the right to subsistence is not treated as part of the constitutional right to life, the easiest way to deprive a person of their right to life would be to deprive them of their means of subsistence to the point of repealing. Such deprivation would not only negate the life of its content and meaning but render life impossible.

Article 41, which constitutes another guiding principle, stipulates that the State must, within the limits of its economic capacity and its development, effectively guarantee the right to work in the event of unemployment and undeserved desires.
The principles set out in Articles 39 (a) and 41 must be considered as equally fundamental for understanding and interpreting the meaning and content of fundamental rights. If the State were obliged to provide citizens with adequate means of subsistence and the right to work, it would be quite irreproachable to exclude the right to subsistence from the content of the right to life.

The court also held that anyone deprived of their right to a means of subsistence, except in accordance with the just and fair procedure established by law, may challenge deprivation as a violation of the right to life conferred by Article 21.

More about the case can be read here.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #34: Mr. X vs. Hospital Z

In this case a man was engaged to a woman and was set to get married to her, but it was called off as he was diagnosed with HIV and the doctor disclosed this fact to his fiancée. The man contended that the respondent hospital and the doctor had breached their duty under medical ethics by disclose of this information.

The court did not stop at deciding on patient’s Right to Privacy but needlessly went beyond to decide his right to marriage. The divisive part of the judgment was the fact that the court held that the ‘right to marry’ will be ‘suspended’ for the HIV AIDS patients until they are cured. The judge’s respond to the appellant’s counsel’s contention that every man has a right to marry seems justified. They asserted that every right comes with a duty and hence it is the appellant’s not only moral but legal duty to enlighten his fiancée of his HIV AIDS report. However, the reason behind this seems incommensurate. The court had counted on the various divorce provisions where the grounds of divorce include a venereal disease. The fact that it is one of the grounds for divorce shows that every spouse has a right to health and life and hence this provision encompasses to even before marriage.

More reading material is available here

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #35: PUCL v UOI

In 2001 during a visit to Jaipur it was observed that the food corporation of India (FCI) godowns overflowing with grains and the grains were rotting due to fermentation of rainwater and were getting wasted. Even when there were grains 40 million tonnes above the buffer stock requirement, there were people still dying of starvation. The PUCL filed a petition in supreme court seeking recognition of right to food in the supreme court.

The question before the court was weather article 21 which provides the privilege to life in freedom includes the right to food as well which was also upheld in the case of Francis vs. administration.

The court held that the privilege to sustenance that is, right to food is an important constituent to maintain article 21 of the constitution which ensures the fundamental and human right to "life with human dignity". The FCI was requested to guarantee that the food grains will not go to squander and should be provided to village people in the drought hit areas. With the continuance of the case and passing of the interims, supreme court has gradually defined right to food in terms of right to life and said that it fulfils the obligation under article 21.

More reading material is available here

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #36: Sheela Barse v Union Of India

A petition was filed before the supreme court of India by a social worker seeking discharge of children below 16 years of age who were detained in jails. The court issued the direction to all the high courts and district judges to submit all the information of children in jails, existence of juvenile courts, etc., before a certain date. This detention of children below the age of 16 years in jail would be violative of article 21 of the constitution which provides right to life and personal liberty and incorporates within itself right to legal aid, fair and speedy trial, and article 39 (f) of the constitution. The court also held that the trial of children should be taken place in Juvenile courts and not in criminal courts. The case also discusses the need of legal aid, fair and speedy trial specifically for children below the age of 16 years under section 5 of Children act, 1960. And when a FIR is filed against child for an offence which is punishable with imprisonment of not more than 7 years the investigation should be completed within a period of three months. the court also advised that every state government must take the required measures for setting up the adequate number of courts, appointing the required number of judges, and providing them the necessary facilities. All this was advised to protect the right to legal aid which is entailed under article 21 of the constitution.

More reading material is available here

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #37: Mohini Jain v State of Karnataka

In this case the petitioner challenge notification issued by the Karnataka Government that permitted private medical colleges to charge higher fees from students who were not allocated government seats on the name of capitation fee.

The court held that even if the right to education was not explicitly guaranteed under the constitution as a fundamental right, it is essential to the fulfilment of the fundamental right to life and human dignity under article 21 of the constitution. The supreme court held that the charging of this capitation fee by private education institutions violated the right to education as inferred from right to life and human dignity and the right to equal protection of law under article 21 and 14 of the constitution, respectively. The right to life under article 21 and the dignity of an individual cannot be assured unless it is accompanied by the right to education. The state government is under an obligation to make endeavours to provide educational facilities at all levels to its citizen. Capitation fee is nothing but a price for selling of education the concept of 'teaching shops' is contrary to the constitutional scheme of this country and is wholly abhorrent of the Indian culture and heritage.

More reading material is available here

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #38: MC Mehta v UOI

The original petition was filed by MC Mehta for the closure of various units of Shri Ram food and fertilizer industry as they were hazardous for the community. While the petition was pending an enormous amount of oleum gas leaked from one of the units that resulted in death of many people which was the result of a human blunder. It led to an uproar among the general population living close by and within a few days, another similar incident took place, a minor one, a pipe broke out because of which the gas kept leaking from the joints of the pipe. While the rule laid in the case of Ryland vs Fletcher was of strict liability, the court in this case interpreted the rule of liability differently and the rule of absolute liability was introduced. The court eventually decided not to adjudicate on whether the article 21 is available against Shri Ram or not. the court however directed Delhi legal aid and advised to take up the cases of all those who claim to have suffered on the count of oleum gas and to file action on their behalf in the appropriate court for claiming compensation against Shriram. The court also laid emphasis on right to clean and healthy environment as it is incorporated under article 21 of the constitution.

More reading material is available here

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #39: Chameli v State of UP

The Supreme Court unambiguously stated in its verdict: “Right to shelter when used as an essential requisite to the right to life, should be deemed to have been guaranteed as a fundamental right.”

In this judgement, the Supreme Court took a very pro-government approach and gave directions to take macro level measures to address the starvation problem such as implementing irrigation projects in the state so as to reduce the drought in the region, measures to ensure fair selling price of paddy and appointing of a Natural Calamities Committee. None of these measures actually directly affected the immediate needs of the petitioner, i.e., to prevent people from dying of hunger.

The Court considering the mandate of human right to shelter read it into Article 19(1)(e) and Article 21 of the Constitution of India to guarantee right to residence and settlement. Protection of life guaranteed by Article 21 encompasses within its ambit the right to shelter to enjoy the meaningful right to life. Right to social and economic justice conjointly commingles with right to shelter as an inseparable component for meaningful right to life.
The court also held that Food, shelter and clothing are minimal human rights, and it is a facet of conjoined meaning of right to life under Article 21.

In a democratic society as a member of the ordered civic community, one should have permanent shelter so as to physically, mentally and intellectually equip oneself to improve his excellence as a useful citizen as enjoined in the Fundamental Duties and to be a useful citizen and equal participant in democracy.

More reading material is available here

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Article 21 - Landmark Judgement #40: Rudal Shah v state of Bihar

Rudul Shah was arrested for the murder of his wife in the year 1953. Later on, he was acquitted in 1968 by court of sessions in Bihar but was ordered to be detained in prison till further order of state government. Rudul Shah was detained for more than 14 years in jail. As a result, he filed habeas Corpus petition under article 32 of the constitution praying for his release on the ground that his detention in jail was unlawful.

The decision was delivered by the then Chief Justice Chandrachud on 1st August 1983.

It was held by the court that the right to move to supreme court under article 32 for the enforcement of any right conferred by part 3 of the constitution is itself a fundamental right. And the court also held that the supreme court could pass an order for payment of money if such an order is in the nature of compensation consequential upon the deprivation of fundamental rights. The court held that if it refused to award compensation and ordered him to approach the civil court it will be doing a mere lip-service to his fundamental rights to liberty which the state government has so grossly violated. It was also observed that right to life and personal liberty which is guaranteed under article 21 of the constitution will be stripped of its significance if the court’s powers are limited to passing orders to release from illegal detention and that of awarding compensation. It was necessary in this case to secure due compliance with the mandate of article 21.

Most importantly the court held that, "The right to compensation is some palliative for the unlawful acts of instrumentalities which act in the name of public interest and which present for their protection the powers of state are a shield".

Click here to read more about the same.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement


"Loved reading this piece by Ishaan?
Join LAWyersClubIndia's network for daily News Updates, Judgment Summaries, Articles, Forum Threads, Online Law Courses, and MUCH MORE!!"






Tags :


Category Constitutional Law, Other Articles by - Ishaan 



Comments


update
Post a Suggestion for LCI Team
Post a Legal Query