Maneka Gandhi Vs. Union of India – Article 21

Maneka Gandhi vs. U.O.I. Maneka Gandhi vs. Union of India a judgment that further strengthen Article 21 expansion and interpretation of fundamental rights in India. This case further strengthened article 14,19 and 21 and also gave new life to article 21 which we nowadays know as Due process of law. The story is of year 1978 when Maneka Gandhi (daughter in law of Indira Gandhi) used to run a magazine known as Surya magazine the ruling party then was Janta party, at that time surya magazine published scandalous photos of then Defence minister Jagjivan ram son, after that incident Janta party was angry with these action of Maneka Gandhi , on one fine day Maneka Gandhi wanted travel abroad but her passport was impounded and was denied  from flying abroad in Public interest.

Maneka filed a case in supreme court under article 32 and argued that her right to travel abroad is protected under article 21 and further said sec 10(3)c of Passport act 1967 is violative  of Fundamental rights. Moreover she argued action of being volatile of article 14,19 and said was her passport impounded by procedure of law. Further she pleaded that principle of natural justice has been breached. Supreme Court referred Satwant singh sahani vs. Assistant Passport Officer case of 1967 that recognized right to travel as Fundamental right .

Supreme court gave new dimension to article 21 and held that the right to live is not merely a physical right but includes within its ambit right to live with dignity. The supreme court observed that the procedure prescribed by law for depraving a person of his life and personal liberty must be right , just and fair and not arbitrary , oppressive and fanciful otherwise t would be no procedure at all and requirement of article 21 will not satisfy. Article 14,19 and 21 have unique relation any law has to test validity under all 3 to be valid. This judgment made a new concept where procedure establish by law has to be fair and parliament while making law has to follow due process of law as well otherwise supreme court could make that Null or void.

This case opened a Pandora box of article 21 which was further used by Supreme Court in much upcoming Judgment after this one. Article 21 became ever expanding after this judgment , judicial activism took over and many interpretation and add on were given like today article 21 have right to clean air, water, food and right to internet was also made part of article 21 and there can be still more to come. This Judgment lead judiciary to new age and make it’s functioning more binding and its duty to  check on parliamentary law process maker action became more efficient and judiciary also got more involve in the process .                             

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