This post explains Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees the protection of life and personal liberty to every citizen of India. It discusses the historical background of the provision, its interpretation by the judiciary, and its significance in ensuring the fundamental rights of citizens.
Article 21 of the Indian Constitution is one of the most significant provisions in the chapter on fundamental rights. It guarantees that no person shall be deprived of their life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law. The provision has a long and interesting history, and has been interpreted in various ways by the judiciary over the years.
The historical background of Article 21 can be traced back to the Magna Carta, which provided for the protection of life and liberty of subjects. This idea was further developed in the American Constitution, which included a Bill of Rights that provided for the protection of the individual against arbitrary deprivation of life, liberty or property by the state.
In India, the concept of protection of life and personal liberty was first introduced in the Government of India Act, 1935. However, it was only after independence that these rights were given constitutional protection. Article 21 was included in the Constitution in recognition of the fact that the right to life and personal liberty is fundamental to the dignity of the individual and the well-being of society.
Over the years, Article 21 has been interpreted by the judiciary in a broad and expansive manner. It has been held to include not just the right to physical existence, but also the right to live with human dignity, the right to privacy, and the right to personal autonomy. In various cases, the Supreme Court has held that the right to life and personal liberty is not confined to mere survival or existence, but includes the right to live with dignity, free from fear, and to exercise the basic freedoms that are essential to human flourishing.
The significance of Article 21 cannot be overstated. It provides the foundation for the protection of other fundamental rights, such as the right to free speech, the right to equality, and the right to religious freedom. It is also an essential safeguard against state tyranny and arbitrary exercise of power.
In conclusion, Article 21 of the Indian Constitution is a crucial provision that guarantees the protection of life and personal liberty to every citizen of India. Its interpretation by the judiciary has expanded the scope of the provision to include various rights that are essential to human dignity and well-being. This provision is an essential safeguard against state tyranny and arbitrary exercise of power, and is a cornerstone of the Indian Constitution.