What is article 21?

What is article 21?

No one “shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty unless in accordance with a procedure established by law,” according to Article 21. As a result, article 21 protects two rights:

1) The right to life;

2) The right to privacy.

What is article 21 the Indian Constitution’s Article 21 was established by the Government of India Act, 1935. It states that no one may be robbed of their life or personal freedom until doing so in accordance with the legal process. One of the essential freedoms that all Indian citizens are entitled to is Article 21, which is found in Part III of the Indian Constitution. Several rights and liberties that are a part of Article 21 will be covered in this article.

Article 21 of Indian constitution

  • A basic right, Article 21 is part of Part III of the Indian Constitution.
  • Both citizens and non-citizens alike can exercise this freedom.
  • This right has been referred to as the “heart of basic rights” by the Supreme Court.
  • Article 21 “embodies a fundamental value of utmost importance in a democratic society,” according to Justice Bhagwati.
  • The rights to life and personal liberty are protected under Article 21.
  • In an emergency, Article 21 cannot be suspended.

The Indian Constitution’s Article 21: Its Purpose and Application
Article 21 of the Indian Constitution’s right to life does not refer to the presence of animals or to the act of breathing. It ensures the right to a life with dignity. As indicated in the Menaka Case, some of the rights now covered by Article 21 include:

  1. the right to live in dignity.
  2. The right to a good environment, including clean water, air, and protection
  3. opposition to risky enterprises.
  4. Right to a living
  5. privacy rights.
  6. Right to protection.
  7. health as a right.
  8. Up to age 14, a person has the right to free education.
  9. right to unrestricted legal assistance.
  10. I strongly oppose solitary imprisonment.
  11. Right away, a quick trial.
  12. Right against shackles
  13. firmly opposed to inhumane treatment.
  14. Absolutely against postponed execution.
  15. Right to travel abroad.
  16. Right against bonded labor.
  17. Right against custodial harassment.
  18. Right to emergency medical aid.
  19. Right to timely medical treatment in a government hospital.
  20. Right not to be driven out of a state.
  21. Right to a fair trial.
  22. Right of prisoner to have necessities of life.
  23. Right of women to be treated with decency and dignity
  24. Right against public hanging.
  25.  Right to hearing.
  26. Right to information.
  27. Right to reputation.
  28. Right of appeal from a judgment of conviction
  29. Right to social security and protection of the family
  30. Right to social and economic justice and empowerment
  31. Right against bar fetters
  32. Right to appropriate life insurance policy
  33. Right to sleep
  34. Right to freedom from noise pollution
  35. Right to electricity
  1. apply for ongoing recruitment: click here
  2. Daily The Hindu and Indian express Newspaper click here
  3. Notes and test series click here


Historical judgements related to article 21
Let’s now examine some of the historical rulings that expanded the application of Article 21:

  • In the case of Kharak Singh v. the State of UP and Others, the right to privacy was incorporated into Article 21.
  • In Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration, the Supreme Court ruled that the use of deadly handcuffs for those who had been convicted was illegal since it implied cruel treatment of the prisoner. The court reaffirmed Article 21’s provision about “protection to the convicted and accused individual.”
  • The Supreme Court ruled in Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka, 1992, that the right to education is included in the right to life.
  • In Subhash Kumar v. State of Bihar, the SC expanded the definition of the right to life to include the right to clean air.
  • In the case of Lachma Devi v. Attorney General of India, the SC declared public executions of death sentences to be illegal.

Article 21 of the Indian Constitution: Important Cases

1951’s A.K. Gopalan v. State of Madras In this instance, the Supreme Court has applied a strict reading of Article 21. It was decided that only arbitrary executive activity is covered by Article 21’s protection, not arbitrary legislative action. This indicates that a legislation may be used by the state to deny a person the rights guaranteed by Article 21.

Maneka Gandhi v. UOI, 1978: In this case, the SC reversed itself and used a broader reading of Article 21 than it had in its Gopalan Case ruling. It was decided that a person’s right to life and personal liberty can be taken away by a law as long as the process set forth by that legislation is reasonable, fair, and just. It also made it clear that the right to life does not just refer to animal existence. It was stated that this would cover all elements of life that contribute to a man’s life being meaningful, full, and deserving of living.

How article 21 is violated?

Understanding Article 21 by Looking at the Anti-Raping and Sexual Assault Act. It has been determined that rape violates a person’s right to the essential life that is protected by Article 21. The elements of life that contribute to making it meaningful, full, and worthwhile to live would thus be included in the right to life.

Why article 21 is not suspended during emergency?

After the 44th Amendment Act, the Court decided that no one could ever have their right to life and personal freedom taken away. Therefore, even in a crisis, Articles 20 and 21 cannot be suspended.

Despite the phraseology of Article 21 beginning with a negative word, the word ‘No’ has been used in connection to the word deprived. It is a negative right granted solely against “the state”, thus limiting its parlance. ‘The state’, however, cannot be defined in a restricted sense.
What kind of Article 21 interpretation has the Supreme Court made?
The Court’s reasoning applied exclusively to safeguards against violations of individual liberties resulting from unjustifiable physical detention or false incarceration. Additionally, personal liberty solely pertains to a person’s or an individual’s physical being.
The right to life does not include right to die
When determining the constitutionality of Section 309 of the I.P.C., 1860 and whether the right to die had been incorporated into Art. 21 of the Constitution, the court in Gian Kaur v. State of Punjab[28] overruled the division bench’s decision in P. Rathinam v. Union of India[29] and held that the right to life does not include the right to die and the extortion clause does not apply.

The court additionally noted that while the right to life is a natural right protected by Article 21 and that suicide is an unnatural way to end or extinguish one’s life, it is incompatible with this idea.

However, the Supreme Court has made a distinction between euthanasia and a suicide attempt. A person who is in a persistent vegetative condition and receiving life support might choose to end their own life through euthanasia. It supports the right to a dignified death and endorses passive euthanasia. The court ruled that the process of natural death has started and that death as a result of termination of natural life is definite and imminent.

The right to life has become the most important right since all other rights depend on it and are meaningless without it. The scope of this right has occasionally been expanded to cover additional essential rights. In the Unni Krishnan case, the Supreme Court determined Article 21 to be the cornerstone of the Fundamental Rights.

Though first interpreted strictly, Article 21’s provisions progressively gained a more open-minded reading as time went on. With several significant judgements, Article 21 has occasionally gained new dimensions and scope. Article 21 has been given a wider interpretation to the Indian judiciary and a number of rights are found in it. Thus Article 21 protects the rights of the people as a potent weapon.

  1. apply for ongoing recruitment: click here
  2. Daily The Hindu and Indian express Newspaper click here
  3. Notes and test series click here


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *