The majority of the continent of South Asia is occupied by the country of India.
New Delhi, built in the southern section of Old Delhi, is India's capital and
main administrative hub. Its huge, diverse population speaks hundreds of
different languages, and its government is a Constitutional Republic. The
population of India accounts for about 16 percent of the world's total. The
people of India make up the world's largest population.
According to excavations, India's history can be traced back to the Harappan
civilization, which existed in the northwest of the country some 5,000 years ago
and was one of the earliest urbanised societies in the world. The people of the
Iron Age can be traced back to an island that is part of India's territory. The
islands in question are the Andaman and Nicobars.
Introduction of Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a group of islands in the southeastern part
of the Bay of Bengal that form a union territory of India. The Andaman Islands
and their southern neighbour, the Nicobar Islands, form an arc about 620 miles
(1,000 km) long and 1,000 km (620 mi) wide to the south between Myanmar (Burma)
and the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The arc marks the western limit of the Bay
of Bengal and the eastern edge of the Andaman Sea. The official capital of the
territory is Port Blair, located on South Andaman Island.
The Andaman Islands were visited by the English East India Company navy in 1789
and were administratively linked to the Nicobar Islands by the British in 1872
due to their location on the ancient trade route between India and Myanmar. In
1956, both groups of islands were formally annexed by the Republic of India. For
over a century, the region has been known for its indigenous communities, which
have stubbornly rejected any significant contact with people of other
The nomadic Jarawa tribe currently numbers 400 members, who reside in chaddhas,
or houses, that can house 40 to 50 people.
The Jarawa continue to prosper and are steadily increasing in number, like most
tribal peoples who are self-sufficient on their ancestral territories.They use
bows and arrows to hunt pig and turtles and to fish for crabs and fish, such as
toothed pony fish and striped catfish-eels, on the coral-fringed reefs. They
also collect honey, wild roots, tubers, and fruits. The Jarawa region does not
support the growth of the chooi wood, which is used to make the bows.
Frequently, the Jarawa must make lengthy journeys to Baratang Island to obtain
Their "nutritional status" was determined to be "optimal" in an assessment of
their diet and general health. They are well-versed in more than 350 animal and
150 plant species.
Some Jarawa began to leave their forest in 1998 to travel to adjacent towns and
communities for the first time without their bows and arrows.
The Jarawa people were to be relocated to two villages with a fishery-based
economy as part of the local government's long-term "master plan," which was
made public in 1990. Hunting and gathering were to serve as the Jarawa people's
"sports." The plan was so rigid that it even specified the kind of clothing the
Jarawa were to don. Similar to how it has been for the majority of recently
contacted indigenous peoples globally, forced settlement had been fatal for
other tribes in the Andaman Islands.
Problems faced by Jarawa Community
The Jarawa's status is the most precarious of the four Andaman Island tribes.
The Jarawa confront a number of dangers:
Thousands of foreigners, including tourists, enter their land via the road that
passes through it. The Jarawa people are treated by tourists like animals in a
safari park. The tribe's lush forest reserve is invaded by outsiders, including
local settlers and foreign poachers, who steal the game the group needs to
They continue to be susceptible to external infections against which they have
weak or no immunity. Measles epidemics struck the Jarawa in 1999 and 2006; this
disease has wiped out other tribes worldwide as a result of interaction with
outsiders. The tribe might be destroyed by an epidemic.
Poachers, settlers, bus drivers, and other people have sexually abused Jarawa
women.There is pressure from some, including the island's MP, to force the
Jarawa to integrate into the 'mainstream' of Indian society.
The fate of the Great Andamanese and Onge peoples serves as a vivid warning of
what may happen to the Jarawa unless their rights to control who comes onto
their land and to make their own decisions about their ways of life are
Attempts made to bring Jarawa into Mainstream society
'Mainstreaming' in India refers to the practice of pressuring a tribe to
acculturate to the dominant civilization of the nation. Tribal peoples are
impacted negatively. They struggle on the very periphery of society because it
takes away their independence and feeling of identity. Within the tribal
community, rates of illness, despair, addiction, and suicide almost invariably
In 2010, the member of parliament for the Andaman Islands demanded that "quick
and drastic steps be taken to bring the Jarawa up to the basic mainstream
characteristics" and that kids be transferred to residential schools to "wean"
them away from the tribe. The Jarawa were, in his words, "locked in a
rudimentary stage of development" and "somewhere between the stone and iron age.
Considering the Jarawa to be "backward" or "primitive," influential individuals
in India, including government officials, have frequently campaigned for their
assimilation. However, the Jarawa haven't made this request and they don't
appear to be interested in leaving their forest home.
Supreme Court's intervention
The Supreme Court of India ordered the road's shutdown in 2002, although it is
still open today.
The Supreme Court prohibited tourists from traveling along the ATR for seven
weeks in 2013, in response to a campaign by Survival and the neighborhood group
"Search" to outlaw "human safaris." The Supreme Court was forced to overturn the
ban when the Andaman Authorities modified their own regulations to allow the
human safaris to continue.
The long-awaited alternate maritime access to Baratang was finally opened in
October 2017 by the Andaman Authorities. This maritime route was intended to
halt human safaris. The business for human safaris along the road is thriving
despite the authorities' vow to make sure all tourists would have to take the
Survival has urged the Andaman authorities to crack down on poaching and make
sure that those who are detained are charged with crimes. Even though poaching
carries a prison penalty of up to seven years, numerous poachers have been
apprehended recently but none have been condemned by the court. In this Article
we are going to see Whether right to life and personal liberty also Include
Right to live alone?
Whether Article 21 Right to life includes Right to live alone as a Fundamental right?
Before understanding the Article 21, Right to life and personal liberty and its
scope, first we have to throw light on the facts that why we are filing this PIL
to provide 'Right to Live Alone'
to our Indigenous Jarawa Community of Andaman
and Nicobar Islands.
Brief Introduction Of Jarawa Community
The 400 members of the nomadic Jarawa tribe live in chaddhas, or homes, each of
which has room for 40 to 50 people. Like most tribal peoples who are
self-sufficient on their native lands, the Jarawa continue to prosper and are
constantly growing in number.
On the coral-fringed reefs, they hunt pig and
turtles and fish for crabs and fish like toothed pony fish and striped
catfish-eels with bows and arrows. In addition, they gather honey, wild fruits,
roots, and tubers. The chooi wood, used to construct the bows, does not flourish
in the Jarawa region. To get it, the Jarawa frequently had to make protracted
trips to Baratang Island.
The local government's long-term "master plan," which was made public in 1990,
called for the relocation of the Jarawa people to two communities with a
fishing-based economy. Hunting and gathering were to be the Jarawa people's
"sports." The plan was so detailed that it even listed what the Jarawa were to
wear. Forced settlement had been fatal for other tribes in the Andaman Islands,
as it has been for the majority of recently contacted indigenous peoples
Because of several government-initiated development initiatives and contact
expeditions, the Jarawa tribes of the Andaman and Nicobar islands have seen
behavioural changes since the last decade of the 20th century. These actions,
however unintentional, had the unintended consequences of making people more
vulnerable and turning them from independent to dependent.
As other native tribes on the islands have already been driven off by contact
with outsiders, any attempt to assimilate the Jarawas into society with the
outside world would be devastating. Construction of ATR Andaman Trunk Road
proved disastrous for Jarawa Community.
The Andaman Trunk Road (ATR), which runs
for 333 km through the Jarawa reserve forest and connects South Andaman with
Middle and North Andaman, is one of the most important infrastructure projects
the government has ever undertaken. It cost 2100 crores. It is crucial for the
islanders' logistical needs and serves as the Andaman Islands' lifeline.
The Jarawas brutally protested the construction of the road by attacking the
workers at their camps and impeding their progress. The road was constructed and
finished in 1989 despite Jarawas opposition. Finally, as waves of immigrants
established themselves on the islands and the government launched a "contact
mission" to make touch with the tribes, the opposition began to wane. As a
result, it was impossible to stop non-Jarawas from entering tribal reserves and
widespread tree cutting.
The road provided unrestricted access to the remote and independent Jarawa
tribes for settlers and tourists. Currently, about 23800 tons of cargo travel on
the ATR each year, which is a respectable amount for a country with only 3.5
lakh people. This route is crucial for maximizing tourism potential. When
infrastructure is put in place, the number of tourists will rise from 4 lakhs to
over 12 lakhs by 2030, claims NITI Aayog.
The majority of non-tribal settlers from the mainland moved to all inhabited or
sparsely inhabited or strategically occupied islands in the archipelago as a
result of development programs, primarily in agriculture and moderately in
fisheries. Due to immigration, there is a growing non-tribal population on the
islands, and tribal reserve territory has been reduced to accommodate their
These newly discovered non-tribal settlements received the most
basic infrastructural services, such as road access, jetties, shipping,
transportation, water and power supply, health and education, etc. In addition,
outsiders began using the resources in the tribal reserve region.
The A and N Administration's lack of concern for the aborigines did not shield
them from the outside forces that affected their way of life and weakened their
distinctive advantage of inaccessibility. Their forest and sea resources were
also taken from them due to the invasion and expansion of tourists, poachers,
and squatters into their area. The Jarawas were forced to move from one area to
another due to their fear of, pressure from, and encounters with aliens. This
forced them to disrupt their settled way of life and resulted in bad outcomes.
As cited above analysis shows that the, developmental programs launched by the
Government of India through Andaman and Nicobar Island is proved to be failed
because of bad implementation and these instances collectively causes the
violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India which talks about Right
Life and liberty which also talks about Right to livelihood and it is also
violative of Cultural Rights.
Whether there is a violation of rights of Jarawa Community enshrined under
Forest Rights Act 2006?
An Act to Recognize and Vest the Forest Rights and Occupation in Scheduled
Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers Who Have Been Residing in Such
Forests for Generations But Whose Rights Could Not Be Recorded; To Provide a
Framework for Recording the Forest Rights So Vested and the Nature of Evidence
Required for Such Recognition and Vesting in Respect of Forest Land.
While ensuring their livelihood and food security, Scheduled Tribes and other
traditional forest dwellers have the authority and responsibility for
sustainable use, biodiversity conservation, and ecological balance, which
strengthens the forest's conservation regime. while ensuring livelihood and food
security of the forest dwellings Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest
And Whereas historical injustice was done to Scheduled Tribes and other
traditional forest dwellers who are essential to the very survival and
sustainability of the forest ecosystem because the forest rights on ancestral
lands and their habitat were not adequately recognized in the consolidation of
State forests during the colonial period as well as in independent India;
AND WHEREAS, it has become imperative to address the long-standing insecurity of
tenure and access rights of Scheduled Tribes who live in forests and other
indigenous forest residents, including those who were compelled to relocate
their homes as a result of state development interventions.
According to Section 2 (a), (c), (d)
- "community forest resource" means customary common forest land within the
traditional or customary boundaries of the village or seasonal use of
landscape in the case of pastoral communities, including reserved forests,
protected forests and protected areas such as Sanctuaries and National Parks
to which the community had traditional access."
- "forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes" means the members or community of the
Scheduled Tribes who primarily reside in and who depend on the forests or
forest lands for bona fide livelihood needs and includes the Scheduled Tribe
- "forest land" means land of any description falling within any forest
area and includes unclassified forests, undermarketed forests, existing or
deemed forests, protected forests, reserved forests, Sanctuaries and
As per Section 3(1) of the FRA following are the Rights entitled to forest
dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dweller.
- For the purposes of this Act, the following rights, which secure
individual or community tenure or both, shall be the forest rights of forest
dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers on all
forest lands, namely:- 3 04 Forest Rights Act, 2006: Act, Rules and
- Right to hold and live in the forest land under the individual or common occupation for habitation or for self-cultivation for livelihood by a member or members of a forest dwelling Scheduled Tribe or other traditional forest dwellers;
- Community rights such as nistar, by whatever name called, including those used in erstwhile Princely States, Zamindari or such intermediary regimes;
- Right of ownership, access to collect, use, and dispose of minor forest produce which has been traditionally collected within or outside village boundaries;
- Other community rights of uses or entitlements such as fish and other products of water bodies, grazing (both settled or transhumant) and traditional seasonal resource access of nomadic or pastoralist communities;
- Rights including community tenures of habitat and habitation for primitive tribal groups and pre-agricultural communities;
- Rights in or over disputes lands under any nomenclature in any State where claims are disputed;
- Rights for conversion of Pattas or leases or grants issued by any local authority or any State Government on forest lands to titles;
- Rights of settlement and conversion of all forest villages, old habitation, unsurveyed villages and other villages in forests, whether recorded, notified or not into revenue villages;
- Rights to protect, regenerate or conserve or manage any community forest resource which they have been traditionally protecting and conserving for sustainable use;
- Rights which are recognized under any State law or laws of any Autonomous District Council or Autonomous Regional Council or which are accepted as rights of tribal under any traditional or customary law of the concerned tribes of any State;
- Right of access to biodiversity and community right to intellectual property and traditional knowledge related to biodiversity and cultural diversity;
- Any other traditional right customarily enjoyed by the forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes or other traditional forest dwellers, as the case may be, which are not mentioned in clauses (a) to (k) but excluding the traditional right of hunting or trapping or extracting a part of the body of any species of wild animal;
- Right to in situ rehabilitation including alternative land in cases where the Scheduled Tribes or other traditional forest dwellers have been illegally evicted or displaced from forest land of any description without receiving their legal entitlement to rehabilitation prior to the 13th day of December, 2005."
Here the petitioner humbly submits before this Hon'ble Court that as per the
references given in paragraphs 19 � 24, there is a violation of Rights OF Jarawa
community ,enshrined under Section 3 (1) (a) (c) (d) (e) (i) (k) and (l) of the
forest Rights Act 2006 , which entitles them to several rights for their better
survival and for the conservation of biodiversity.
Whether there is any violation of Article 21 of Jarawa Community?
Before analyzing whether there is any violation of Article 21 first we have to
understand what actually Article 21 states.
"Article 21 declares that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal
liberty except according to procedure established by law. This right is
available to both citizens and non-citizens."
In the famous Gopalan case
(1950), the Supreme Court has taken a narrow
interpretation of the Article 21. It held that the protection under Article 21
is available only against arbitrary executive action and not from arbitrary
legislative action. This means that the State can deprive the right to life and
personal liberty of a person based on a law This is owing to the fact that Article 21's reference to "procedure established by law" differs with the
American Constitution's reference to "due process of law..
Second, the Supreme Court ruled that "personal liberty" solely refers to liberty
pertaining to the person or body of the individual. But by applying a more
expansive reading of Article 21 in the Menaka case12 (1978), the Supreme Court
overturned its decision in the Gopalan case. As a result, it was decided that a
law could deny someone their right to life and personal liberty as long as the
process it specifies is reasonable, fair, and just.
Alternatively put, it has
introduced the American Doctrine "due process of law." In essence, the
protection provided by Article 21 should be extended to cover both arbitrary
legislative and executive actions.
The court further ruled that Article 21's "right to life" encompasses not just
an animal's ability to survive, but also the right to a dignified life,
including all the elements that contribute to a man's life being meaningful,
complete, and deserving of being lived. Additionally, it was decided that the
term "Personal Liberty" as used in Article 21 has the broadest scope and
encompasses a wide range of rights that together make up a man's personal
In the instances that followed, the Supreme Court reiterated its ruling in the
Menaka case. The following rights have been declared as being included in
- The right to a dignified existence.
- The right to a clean environment, including protection from dangerous industries and clean water and air.
- The right to subsistence.
- Right to privacy.
- The right to safety.
- Health is a human right.
- The right to a free 14-year-old education.
- Right to free legal assistance.
- Rightfully opposed to solitary imprisonment.
- The right to a quick trial.
- I'm totally against handcuffs.
- Prohibits cruel treatment.
- Rights to social and economic justice and empowerment, etc.
After analyzing the problems faced by the Jarawa community and after
understanding the significance and fundamental observations made by the
country's highest court on article 21. We can conclude that yes, the rights
guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India of Jarawa community are
violated due to the poor implementation of the Government's policy regarding
Jarawa community rehabilitation into mainstream India.
Scope of Article 21 of the Constitution of India
Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which protects the right to life, does
not just serve as a piece of paper; it is constantly maintained alive, active,
and throbbing and has unintentionally made its way into court cases. According
to the Justices who have handled contentious issues involving Article 21 of our
very own Indian Constitution, the word "Life" is the most fundamental of all
things in the world, yet it is also the most difficult to define.
It indicates that everyone living inside India's borders, whether they are
citizens or not, will be given this right, as well as the rights to Work, Right
to livelihood, access to food, shelter, water, education, and health care. This
is a fundamental inherent right that every person deserves and is not just
something that our Constitution guarantees. This is a start and a march in the
direction of the equitable society that our Founding Fathers, the Drafters of
the Indian Constitution, had in mind when they wrote this illustrious and
beautiful Constitution along with the Preamble.
In Part III of our Constitution's Fundamental Rights, Article 21 is one of the
most important articles and is given top priority. According to Article 12 of
the Indian Constitution, these basic rights are enforceable against the State.
According to Article 13 any law in derogation with fundamental rights shall be
In Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India
1, the Supreme Court redefined and expanded
the scope of Article 21 by holding that the right to life entails not just a
bodily right but also the right to live with dignity.
In Francis Coralie Mullin v. UT of Delhi
(Francis Coralie, 1981) Bhagwati J.,
held and stated that "the magnitude and the contents of this Right under Article
21, depends on the economic development rate at which the country is growing,
but much more emphasis be laid that in any situation whatsoever, the right to
the basic and bare necessities of life of the human self - these cannot be
breached, and it is to be upheld in all circumstances"
The Supreme Court judges were asked about bondage and laborer exploitation in
Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India
. The learned Bhagwati J. again makes the
following statement in this case: "Article 21 includes the right to live with
human dignity which is free from all forms of exploitation, this has gained its
roots from the Directive Principles of State Policy in our Constitution of
Article 39 clause (e) and f).
Article 41 and Article 42, it includes protection
of health and safety and strength of its workers, both men and women and
children of tender age who are more susceptible to the exploitation and
atrocities, opportunities be given to them to grow and learn in a healthy and
safe environment with freedom and human dignity. No State has any right to
deprive its citizen of enjoying these basic essentials".
The Supreme Court made a favourable ruling in the most significant and historic
case, MC Mehta v. UOI
(Shriram - Oleum Gas), upholding that Article 21 of the
Indian Constitution provides for relief against the leakage of oleum gas, which
unquestionably led to the loss of a significant number of lives and harm to the
health of an untold number of people, the effects of which are still visible
In the case of Pravat Kumar Mukherjee v. Ruby General Hospital
, it was
determined that the hospital had an obligation to accept accident victims and
patients who were in critical condition and that it could not refuse to treat
them on the grounds that the patient could not afford the hospital bills or that
no close relative of the patient could give their consent.
On the expansion of Article 21,the Supreme Court of India later also added the
Right to livelihood as the court was of the opinion that, no person can live
without having the means of living and livelihood, as in order to sustain
oneself one needs money in their pockets and hence employment opportunities with
a fair and reasonable basic pay are essential.
In order to broaden the scope of Article 21, it was added that the right of
residents of hilly areas to approach a suitable road is also a fundamental right
because Article 21 encompasses not only life as it is currently lived, but also
the quality of life, and for people living in hilly areas, access to the road is
practically synonymous with access to life itself.
In the case of Bodhisattwa Gautam v. Subhra Chakraborty
, the Supreme Court
addressed the issue of rape and stated that it is a crime against society as a
whole as well as the victim, who is usually a woman. She experiences severe
mental breakdowns, her entire psychology is destroyed, and society looks down on
her with scorn and mockery. Rape continues to be the most hated crime on the
earth as a result.
It is a violation of the victim's most treasured civil
freedom, the right to live in dignity as provided by Art. 21, as well as a
violation of universal human rights. Additionally, it involves and encompasses
the Right to Reputation within its purview. The right to enjoy one's private
integrity has a long history and is fundamental to human society, according to Smt. Kiran Bedi v. Committee of Inquiry.
Because the Right to Life encompasses the Right to Subsistence within its
broader ideas, it was ruled in the case of MX of Bombay Indian Inhabitants v. ZY
that one cannot refuse employment to a person on the basis that they are HIV
In State of Maharashtra v. Maruti Sripati Dubal
21, the court ruled that the
right to live with human dignity does not extend to being forced to perform
menial tasks. People who attempt suicide should not be penalized but instead
should receive rehabilitation since nobody will attempt suicide unless and until
there is a threat to their very existence.
It is humbly submitted by the petitioner before this Hon'ble Supreme Court of
India, after going through all the relevant case laws regarding the violation
and the scope of rights under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, the
Supreme Court of India in above cited cases explained the scope of Article 21
and in such cases the Hon'ble court held that the Art. 21 of the Constitution of
India has vide scope, it is not solely restricted to ' Right to life and
' it includes every thing which directly and indirectly
affects anyone's life or personal liberty.
In one case Supreme court further held that 'not employing a HIV + person as an
employee amounts to the violation of his Article 21 i.e. Right to life and
personal Liberty In order to broaden the scope of Article 21, it was added that
the right of residents of hilly areas to approach a suitable road is also a
fundamental right because Article 21 encompasses not only life as it is
currently lived, but also the quality of life, and for people living in hilly
areas, access to the road is practically synonymous with access to life itself,
In KS Puttaswami Case the apex Court held that right to privacy is a fundamental
In this PIL, filed for the enforcement of the Fundamental Rights of Jarawa
community of Andaman & Nicobar Islands the petitioner humbly requests to the
Hon'ble Supreme Court of India to widen the scope of Article 21 of the
Constitution and provide 'Right to live alone' to our Jarawa community of
Andaman & Nicobar Islands for their utmost welfare and their preservation.
- Forest Rights Act 2006
- Constitution of India
- AK Gopalan V. Union of India 1950 AIR 27, 1950 SCR 88
- Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, (1978) 1 SCC 248 : AIR 1978 SC 597
- Francis Coralie Mullin v. UT of Delhi, (1981) 1 SCC 608 : AIR 1981 SC 746
- Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India, (1984) 3 SCC 161 : AIR 1984 SC 802
- MC Mehta v. UOI, (1987) 1 SCC 395 : AIR 1987 SC 1086
- Pravat Kumar Mukherjee v. Ruby General Hospital, 2005 CPJ 35 NC
- Olga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corporation, (1985) 3 SCC 545
- State of HP v. Umed Ram Sharma, (1986) 2 SCC 68 : AIR 1986 SC 847
- Bodhisattwa Gautam v. Subhra Chakraborty, (1996) 1 SCC 490 : AIR 1996 SC 922
- Smt. Kiran Bedi v. Committee of Inquiry, (1989) 1 SCC 494 : AIR 1989
- MX of Bombay Indian Inhabitants v. ZY, AIR 1997 Bom 406
- State of Maharashtra v. Maruti Sripati Dubal, 1987 Cri LJ 743