ARTICLE 21 OF THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION AND ITS SCOPE

Article 21 of the Indian Constitution says that ‘no person shall be deprived of his life or personal Liberty except according to the procedure established by law’. Prior to the Maneka Gandhi’s case decision, Article 21 guaranteed the right to life and personal liberty to citizens only against the arbitrary action of the executive and not from legislative action. The state would interfere with the liberty of citizens if it could support its action by a valid law.
But after the Maneka Gandhi’s decision Article 21 now protects the right to life and personal liberty of citizen not only from the executive action but from the legislative action also.
In Kharak Singh v. State of U.P. it was held that the expression ‘life’ was not limited to bodily restraint or confinement to prison only but something more than mere animal existence. The Supreme Court further extended the scope of this Article and held that the right to travel abroad was a part of person’s personal liberty within the meaning of Article 21.
In Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, it was held that right to live is not merely confined to physical existence but it includes within its ambit the right to live with human didignity.
In Francis Coralie v. Union territory of Delhi, the court held that the right to live with human dignity goes along with the bare necessities of life such as adequate nutrition, clothing and shelter and facilities for reading, writing and expressing ourselves in diverse forms, freely moving about and mixing and commingling with fellow human being.
In Olga tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corporation, which is famously known as ‘pavement dwellers case’ a five judge bench of the court has finally ruled that the word ‘life’ includes the right to livelihood in Article 21.
In R. rajagopal v. State of Tamil Nadu which is known as ‘auto Shaker case’ the Supreme Court has expressly held the right to privacy or the right to be let alone is guaranteed by Article 21, a citizen has a right to safeguard the privacy of his own his family, marriage etcetera but right to privacy is not an absolute right as held in Mr X. v Mr Z. Case.
In Joginder Kumar v. State of Uttar Pradesh, the Apex court has issued directions regarding arrest the court has emphasised that a police officer may have the power to arrest but justification for exercising the power is quite another matter.
A person’s reputation is a facet of his right to life under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution as held in the case of Mahmood Nayyar Azam v. State of Chattisgarh .
Likewise there is a list of number of cases that has evidenced the expanding of the scope of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution but the above mentioned cases are the Landmark Judgements.

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