Friday, July 12, 2019

Supreme Court Landmark Verdict On Article 21 Of Constitution In Maneka Gandhi Case

In Maneka Gandhi v/s Union of India case, the Supreme Court widened the scope of Article 21 of Constitution Of India. Maneka Gandhi case is not only a milestone for the interpretation of Article 21, but also given a completely new approach to see Chapter III of the Constitution.

Before Maneka Gandhi decision, Article 21 guaranteed the right to life and personal liberty only against arbitrary action of executive and not from the legislative action.

In this case, Maneka Gandhi was issued a passport by passport authority under the Passport Act, 1967 on 1/06/1976. But on 2/07/1977, Maneka Gandhi received the letter from the regional passport office, New Delhi. In letter, passport authority stated that Maneka gandhi submit her passport to the passport authority within 7 day from the receipt of the letter.

Maneka Gandhi immediately wrote a letter to the regional passport officer and seeking reasons for impounding her passport. In response of her letter, Ministry of External Affairs replied that decision was taken by government of India to impound her passport in the interest of general public and also ordered to passport authority to not render him reasons.

Later, Maneka Gandhi filed a writ petition under Article 32 of constitution in the supreme court challenging the order of the government of India as violating her fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Judgment Of The Case 

The seven judges bench of Supreme Court was held that Section 10(3)(c) of the passport act, 1967 was undefined and vague. It violates Article 14, 19 and 21 of the constitution of India because it doesn't confer any opportunity to the petitioner of being heared and the procedure which have established by the passport authority is worst one. It's also against the against Articles 19(1)(a) and 19(1)(g) because restrictions can be imposed on this fundamental rights but not under Article 19(2) and 19(6).

It was finally held by the court that the right to travel & go outside the country is included in the right of personal liberty which is guaranteed under Article 21. The court ruled that the mere existence of a competent law was not enough to control personal liberty. The law must also be "just, fair and reasonable".

Download Judgement 

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