What is the significance of Article 21 in the Indian Constitution?

Answer By law4u team

Article 21 of the Indian Constitution is one of the most significant and broadly interpreted provisions regarding fundamental rights. It states, "No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law." The significance of Article 21 lies in its protection of the fundamental right to life and personal liberty. The key aspects and significance of Article 21 are as follows: Right to Life and Personal Liberty: Article 21 explicitly protects the right to life and personal liberty, which are considered fundamental rights inherent to human dignity. Expansive Interpretation: The Indian judiciary has given Article 21 an expansive interpretation over the years. The Supreme Court of India has ruled that the right to life is not merely the right to physical existence but includes the right to live with human dignity. Due Process of Law: The phrase "procedure established by law" in Article 21 means that a person's life and personal liberty can be curtailed only through a fair and just legal process. The procedure must be reasonable, just, and not arbitrary. Protection Against Executive Actions: Article 21 acts as a safeguard against arbitrary actions by the executive, ensuring that individuals are not deprived of their life or personal liberty without proper legal procedures. Expanded Scope: The interpretation of Article 21 has been expanded to include various aspects such as the right to a clean environment, the right to education, the right to health, and the right to livelihood. These interpretations reflect the evolving social and economic context of the country. Remedy Against Illegal Detention: Article 21 provides a remedy against illegal detention, allowing individuals to approach the courts through writs like habeas corpus if they believe that their detention is unlawful. Non-Arbitrary Deprivation: The principle of non-arbitrary deprivation ensures that any action leading to the deprivation of life or personal liberty must be based on fair, just, and reasonable laws. In summary, Article 21 is a cornerstone of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. It emphasizes the importance of protecting the inherent dignity and value of human life and personal liberty and ensures that any deprivation of these rights must be in accordance with a fair and just legal process. The judiciary plays a crucial role in upholding and interpreting the broad scope of Article 21 to protect the rights of individuals.

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