QUESTION : Discuss the importance of right to life and personal liberty with reference to recent case laws
Why this question was asked ?
Simply due to the AADHAR issue and right to privacy – when RIGHT TO PRIVACY was made as intrinsic fundamental right under Article 21 of Constitution of India, it caught the eyes of UPSC and thus it was reflected.
How to approach this question ?
Step 1 : Read the question twice
Step 2 : Break the question into components
Component 1 : Importance of right to life and personal liberty
Component 2 : Recent cases laws on importance of right to life and
Step 3 : Plan your answer viz: Introduction – what is right to life and
personal liberty – practical and in legal terminology , Body and a
INTRODUCTION : Article 21 secures two rights:
1) Right to life
2) Right to personal liberty
How it is secured ? The Article prohibits the deprivation of the above rights except according to a procedure established by law.
It is exorbitantly hard to conceal the concept of life and personal liberty in a nutshell definition but its ever widening importance could be traced as below:-
The various dimensions of importance of right to life and personal liberty discussed :
Importance of its Origin : These rights are no new as we all know Article 21 corresponds to the Magna Carta of 1215, the Fifth Amendment to the American Constitution and Article XXXI of the Constitution of Japan, 1946. THUS IT IS AN AGE OLD PARENT RIGHT TO ALL OTHER RIGHTS.
Basic importance in its application : The right is available to every person, citizen or alien unlike other few fundamental rights which can be claimed by citizen alone viz. Art: 19. Thus, even a foreigner can claim this right – ‘person’ in general . THUS IT A UNIVERSAL RIGHT.
IMPORTANCE OF RIGHT TO LIFE AND PERSONAL LIBERTY WITH RECENT CASE LAWS
CASE LAW 1: G.N. Saibaba Case : Held : Placing a disabled person in solitary confinement with no support violates his right to life, bodily integrity and autonomy under Article 21
Reason : His conviction imposes only restraints on personal liberty. This inhuman treatment is punishment far in excess of the sentence awarded by the court.
Importance : This case highlighted not generaly the right of a prisoner but specifically right to life and personal liberty of a disabled prisoner.
CASE LAW 2 : Jeeja Ghosh vs. UoI Held (2016) : People with disabilities also have the Right to Live with Dignity
Importance : This case expanded further the right to life ambit concerned to disabled persons
CALE LAW 3 : State of Tamil Nadu vs. K. Balu : This is the most infamous liquor ban case which led to closure of all liqour shops along National and state highways .
Importance : This a new mode of judicial activism which saved the life of both victim and offender- good for all policy followed.
CASE LAW 4 : Meera Santosh Pal and Others v Union of India and Others (2017) : The pregnancy which was into the 24th week was allowed to be aborted taking into consideration of deformity of fetus and life of the mother.
Reason : The mother has a right to take all such steps as necessary to preserve her own life against the avoidable danger to it.
Importance : Right of choice recognized under as part of right to life and personal liberty.
CASE LAW 5 : Justice K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India:
Issue : The validity of Aadhaar-based unique identity scheme was under controversy as it was alleged to violate privacy ( personal liberty ).
Held : Ruled that right to privacy is a fundamental right under Art : 21 and requires constitutional protection
Reasoning : Privacy as a value in itself and as an ineluctable facet of human dignity is an intrinsic fundamental right under Art 21.
CONCLUSION : To be cut to chase Article 21 is the most basic right and includes in itself all necessary aspects of a human’s life. What necessary would change from time to time with changes in society. To such changes our Supreme Court is super alive to add them as a part of right to life and personal liberty and it this remains most important part of constitution eternally.
INFO- GRAPH ( learn concepts in no time )