Article 21 – Constitution of India

The number ‘21’ plays a very important role in law. Article 21 of the constitution of India reads as “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law.” This right has been held to be the heart of the Constitution, the most organic and progressive provision in our living constitution, the foundation of our laws. Article 21 applies to natural persons. The right is available to every person, citizen or alien. Thus, even a foreigner can claim this right. It has a much wider meaning which includes right to live with human dignity, right to livelihood, right to health, right to pollution free air. In Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration[1], the Supreme Court held that the “right to life” included the right to lead a healthy life so as to enjoy all faculties of the human body in their prime conditions. In another case of Peoples Union for Democratic Rights v. Union of India[2], the court held that non-payment of minimum wages to the workers employed in various Asiad Projects in Delhi was a denial to them of their right to live with basic human dignity and violative of Article 21 of the Constitution. In Vishakha v. State of Rajasthan[3], the landmark judgement case relating to sexual harassment of woman at workplace, the court declared that sexual harassment of a working woman at her work amounted to violation of rights of gender equality and rights to life and liberty which is a clear violation of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution.

As soon as a male reaches the age of 21, he becomes eligible for marriage in India. Not only that, he also becomes eligible to drink, however, states like Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Meghalaya, the legal age to drink is 25 years. According to the Indian Majority Act, 1875, every person residing in India shall attain majority on completion of 18 years, however, if a guardian has been appointed by any court, the age of majority shall be 21 years.

Under section 21 of Indian Penal Code, it defines ‘Public Servant’. In fact, the section actually does not define public servants, but describes them only by enumeration, which itself is merely illustrative and by no means exhaustive.

Under section 21 of Indian Contract Act, 1872, it states Mistake of Law. The Latin maxim ignorantia juris non excusat means that ignorance of the law is no excuse. The section states that a contract cannot be said to be voidable just because one of the parties to the contract was under a mistake as to a matter of fact concerned to the contract. This is also called Unilateral Mistake. In the case of Tapline Vs Jainee(1880), the buyer at an auction brought a property described with reference to a plan. He was under the assumption that he was well versed with the property and did not bother to refer the plan. Later he discovered that a garden plot which he thought was a part of the property was not in fact included in the plan. It was held that the buyer cannot revoke the contract on the grounds of the unilateral mistake made by him and was bound by the contract[4].

Order 21 of the Code of Civil Procedure deals with the solemn act of execution of the decrees passed by the Courts from grassroots to the top. It is only the execution, which reveals and signifies the importance of the decrees to be passed and the pedestal of the Court and sanctity of the document. In the case of Ghan Shyam Das v. Anant Kumar Sinha, the Supreme Court dealt with the provisions of the code relating to the execution of orders and decree and stated that the Code contains elaborate provisions which deal with all questions regarding executability of a decree in all aspects[5]. The Court further observed that numerous provisions of Order 21 take care of various situations providing effective remedies to judgment-debtors, decree-holders and claimant objectors.

Section 21 of the Copyright Act, 1957 states that the author of a work may relinquish all or any of the rights comprised in the copyright in the work by giving notice in the prescribed form to the Registrar of Copyrights. On receipt of a notice, the Registrar of Copyrights shall cause it to be published in the Official Gazette and in such other manner as he may deem fit. The relinquishment of all or any of the rights comprised in the copyright in a work shall not affect any rights subsisting in favour of any person on the date of the notice.

Section 21 of Trademark Act, 1999 relates to opposition to registration. Any person may, within three months from the date of the advertisement or re-advertisement of an application for registration or within such further period, not exceeding one month in the aggregate, as the Registrar, on application made to him in the prescribed manner and on payment of the prescribed fee, allows, give notice in writing in the prescribed manner to the Registrar, of opposition to the registration. The Registrar shall serve a copy of the notice on the applicant for registration and, within two months from the receipt by the applicant of such copy of the notice of opposition, the applicant shall send to the Registrar in the prescribed manner a counter-statement of the grounds on which he relies for his application, and if he does not do so he shall be deemed to have abandoned his application. If the applicant sends such counter-statement, the Registrar shall serve a copy thereof on the person giving notice of opposition. Any evidence upon which the opponent and the applicant may rely shall be submitted in the prescribed manner and within the prescribed time to the Registrar, and the Registrar shall give an opportunity to them to be heard, if they so desire. The Registrar shall, after hearing the parties, if so required, and considering the evidence, decide whether and subject to what conditions or limitations, if any, the registration is to be permitted, and may take into account a ground of objection whether relied upon by the opponent or not. Where a person giving notice of opposition or an applicant sending a counter-statement after receipt of a copy of such notice neither resides nor carries on business in India, the Registrar may require him to give security for the costs of proceedings before him, and in default of such security being duly given, may treat the opposition or application, as the case may be, as abandoned. The Registrar may, on request, permit correction of any error in, or any amendment of, a notice of opposition or a counter-statement on such terms as he thinks just.

Section 21 of Designs Act, 2000 states the provisions as to exhibitions. The exhibition of a design, or of any article to which a design is applied, at an industrial or other exhibition to which the provisions of this section have been extended by the Central Government by notification in the Official Gazette, or the publication of a description of the design, during or after the period of the holding of the exhibition, or the exhibition of the design or the article or the publication of a description of the design by any person elsewhere during or after the period of the holding of the exhibition, without the privity or consent of the proprietor, shall not prevent the design from being registered or invalidate the registration.

[1] AIR 1978 SC 1675.

[2] 1982 AIR 1473, 1983 SCR (1) 456.

[3] AIR 1997 SC 3011 : (1997) 6 SCC 241.

[4] Srishti Chawla– Mistake of Fact and Mistake of Law under The Indian Contract Act,1872, Mistake of Fact and Mistake of Law under Indian Contract Act, 1872 (, visited on 12-08-2021 at 16:18hrs.

[5] Rachit Garg-Civil Procedure Code, 1908 law notes, Civil Procedure Code, 1908 law notes – iPleaders, visited on 12-08-2021 at 16:51hrs.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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