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Case Summary : Menka Gandhi vs Union of India

CITATION- AIR 1978 SC 597

BENCH- M.H. BEG (CJI), Y.V. CHANDRACHUD, V.R. KRISHNA IYER, P.N. BHAGWATI, N.L. UNTWALIA, S. MURTAZA FAZAL ALI & P.S. KAILASAM JJS.

FACTS-

  • Maneka Gandhi was a journalist. Her passport was confiscated by Regional Passport Officer, New Delhi on 2nd July 1977.
  • Ministry of External Affairs declined to provide any reason for her passport confiscation “in interest of the general public.”
  • Petitioner filed a writ petition U/A 32 of the Constitution stating the act violated her Fundamental Rights U/A 14 (Right to Equality), U/A 19 (Freedom of Speech and expression), & U/A 21 (Right to Life & Personal Liberty ).
  • She contended that it violated the Principles of Natural Justice i.e; Audi Alteram Partem.
  • Petitioner was required to appear before a committee for an inquiry.

ISSUES INVOLVED-

  • Whether right to travel abroad is protected under and part of Article 21.
  • Whether fundamental rights are absolute or conditional.
  • Whether provisions under Section 10(3)(c) of Passport Act,1967 is in violation of Fundamental Rights.
  • Determining the scope of ‘procedure established by law’

JUGDEMENT-

  • The judgment of the case had powerful impact on Indian law. The court held that the confiscation of petitioner’s passport violated A.14 & A 21. The whole act was held to be arbitrary. There was infringement of principles of natural justice of petitioner.
  • Court overruled A.K. Gopalan’s case and declared that there exists peculiar relationships between provisions of “Golden Triangle of Constitution.”
  • It was held that the phrase used in A.21 is “procedure established by law” instead of “due process of law”. It has to be fair, just and reasonable.
  • It was held Section 10(3)(c) of Passport Act, 1967 didn’t violated any fundamental rights.
  • SC held that right to go abroad is a part of right to personal liberty under Article 21. It was held that it wasn’t covered in Article 19.

CASE PRECEDENTS-

  • Kharak Singh  VS State of U.P. (1963)
  • A.K. Gopalan VS State of Madras (1950)
  • Satwant Singh Sawhney VS D. Ramarathnam (1967)

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