Article 21 of the Constitution of India – Right to Life & Personal Liberty

By Raushni  Ranjan  Pradhan                                                          

Article  21  of Indian  Constitution  says “NO person  shall be deprived  of his life or personal  liberty except  according to procedure established by law “ .

Article 21 of constitution  has been  held to be the heart  of the constitution  ,basically article 21 secures two rights  right to life ,and right to personal liberty. Article 21 prohibits all the rights except according to procedure established by law. The article 21 can be claimed only when the person is deprived of his “life” or personal liberty “by the “state ‘ as defined by article 12.

The right under article 21 is available to all  citizens  even a foreigners can claim this right.   Foreigners can claim the protection of rights only it does not include the right to reside and settle in India, as mentioned in article 19 (1)(e). In article right to life does not mean the continuance of Pearson’s life it includes animal existence also .

Right  to life includes all the individuals right to people which have been established by law .right to life means to get better quality of life and the fullest opportunity to develop one’s personality. In Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration  in this case supreme court reiterated that the right to life includes right to lead a healthy life and enjoy all the freedoms that is established by  law .

Article  21  includes  right to live with human dignity  means provide all  the bare necessities of life  such as adequate nutrition, clothing and shelter with all the facilities for reading, writing and freely moving.

In article  21 constitution includes right to reputation  means  that one’s reputation is important part of the life . If one’s reputation is down or humiliated  they cannot live a life , in state of Maharashtra  v. Public concern for  Governance Trust,  it was held that the  good reputation was an element of personal security and was protected by the constitution equally with the right to the enjoyment of life, liberty and property. Sexual Harassment of female at work places is an unlawful act on the right  of privacy it has  been held to be violative of the victims life .

Right to Education is one of the most important part of article 21 .The supreme court in Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India  interpreting  the scope of the “ right to life “held that it included “educational facilities “.Right  to education  is compulsory  to the age of 8 to 14 years .

No right  to die or to commit suicide section 309 of the IPC punishes a person convicted of attempting to commit suicide.

Right to Personal liberty the case was  A.K Gopalan v State of Madras  the court held that the Expression “personal liberty “ meant nothing more than the liberty  of the physical body. Right to Privacy  is not defined as fundamental right, but it can be inferred from article 21 .

As per the conclusion article 21 says No person shall be deprived of his life ,liberty or freedom.