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Article 21 Of The Constitution

The characterization of human dignity can be very well linked with law and morality. Consequently, associations between the rule of law and human dignity take steps to create the only disarray of theoretical, standardizing, and disciplinary discussions. The basic connotation of rule of law relates to equity, justice, and good conscience. Indian Constitution is one of the one-of-a-kind Constitutions of the world which deals with every single area of the general public. The designers of the Constitution knew about the significance of human respect and value and in this manner, they fused the word human dignity in the Preamble of the Constitution of India.

The Constitution gave different rights for example right to equality, right to freedom, right against exploitation, right to freedom of religion, right to cultural and educational rights, right to constitutional remedy, which discusses the holiest, basic, regular, and inborn rights. Fundamental rights are ensured by the Constitution to all individuals with no discrimination. The safeguard of Fundamental Rights preserves and protects human dignity.

Recently, in Naz Foundation v. Government of NCT and others, the Court saw that The Constitutional safeguard of human dignity expects us to recognize the worth and value of all people as an individual of our society. All citizens of India will live and appreciate a quiet, noble life with no unsettling influences.

Social equity which is the base of the Indian Constitution has its suggestions in the criminal equity framework as well. The preamble of the Indian Constitution itself clarifies that there is uniformity among all the citizens of India and that is the reasoning behind all people being equivalent under the watchful eye of the law including administrators and followers of the equivalent law. The Constitution of India likewise ensures equal justice to all the individuals of India apart from their caste and religion.

Article 21 is the most fundamental and predominant in the Constitution of India. This Article is hugely utilized by the citizens as it is enforceable against the State. Each human life is valuable and beautiful. One must offer appreciation to one’s human dignity. In this way, it is all around perceived and the establishment of an ethical vision for society.

Article 21

Article 21 reads as:
No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law.

According to Bhagwati, J., Article 21 embodies a constitutional value of supreme importance in a democratic society. Iyer, J., has characterized Article 21 as the procedural Magna Carta protective of life and liberty.

This right has been held to be the heart of the Constitution, the most organic and progressive provision in our living constitution, the foundation of our laws.
Article 21 can only be claimed when a person is deprived of his life or personal liberty by the State as defined in Article 12. Violation of the right by private individuals is not within the preview of Article 21.

Article 21 secures two rights

  1. Right to life, and
  2. Right to personal liberty.

The article prohibits the deprivation of the above rights except according to a procedure established by law. Article 21 corresponds to the Magna Carta of 1215, the Fifth Amendment to the American Constitution, Article 40(4) of the Constitution of Eire 1937, and Article XXXI of the Constitution of Japan, 1946.

Article 21 applies to natural persons. The right is available to every person, citizen, or alien. Thus, even a foreigner can claim this right. It, however, does not entitle a foreigner the right to reside and settle in India, as mentioned in Article 19 (1) (e).

Meaning And Concept Of ‘Right To Life’

Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the security of person. The right to life is undoubtedly the most fundamental of all rights. All other rights add quality to the life in question and depend on the pre-existence of life itself for their operation. As human rights can only attach to living beings, one might expect the right to life itself to be in some sense primary, since none of the other rights would have any value or utility without it.

There would have been no Fundamental Rights worth mentioning if Article 21 had been interpreted in its original sense. This Section will examine the right to life as interpreted and applied by the Supreme Court of India.

Article 21 of the Constitution of India, 1950 provides that:
No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. ‘Life’ in Article 21 of the Constitution is not merely the physical act of breathing. It does not connote mere animal existence or continued drudgery through life. It has a much wider meaning which includes the right to live with human dignity, right to livelihood, right to health, right to pollution-free air, etc.

Right to life is fundamental to our very existence without which we cannot live as human beings and includes all those aspects of life, which go to make a man’s life meaningful, complete, and worth living. It is the only article in the Constitution that has received the widest possible interpretation. Under the canopy of Article 21, so many rights have found shelter, growth, and nourishment. Thus, the bare necessities, minimum and basic requirements that are essential and unavoidable for a person is the core concept of the right to life.

In the case of Kharak Singh v. the State of Uttar Pradesh, the Supreme Court quoted and held that:
By the term life as here used something more is meant than mere animal existence. The inhibition against its deprivation extends to all those limbs and faculties by which life is enjoyed. The provision equally prohibits the mutilation of the body by amputation of an armored leg or the pulling out of an eye, or the destruction of any other organ of the body through which the soul communicates with the outer world.

In Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration, the Supreme Court reiterated with the approval of the above observations and held that the right to life included the right to lead a healthy life to enjoy all faculties of the human body in their prime conditions. It would even include the right to protection of a person’s tradition, culture, heritage, and all that gives meaning to a man’s life. It includes the right to live in peace, to sleep in peace, and the right to repose and health.

Right ambit the To Live With Human Dignity

In Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, the Supreme Court gave a new dimension to Art. 21 and held that the right to live is not merely a physical right but includes within its right to live with human dignity.

Elaborating the same view, the Court in Francis Coralie v. Union Territory of Delhi observed that:
The right to live includes the right to live with human dignity and all that goes along with it, viz., the bare necessities of life such as adequate nutrition, clothing and shelter over the head and facilities for reading writing and expressing oneself in diverse forms, freely moving about and mixing and mingling with fellow human beings and must include the right to necessities the necessities of life and also the right to carry on functions and activities as constitute the bare minimum expression of the human self.

Another broad formulation of the theme of life to dignity is to be found in Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India. Characterizing Art. 21 as the heart of fundamental rights, the Court gave it an expanded interpretation. Bhagwati J. observed:
It is the fundamental right of everyone in this country… to live with human dignity free from exploitation. This right to live with human dignity enshrined in Article 21 derives its life breath from the Directive Principles of State Policy and particularly clauses (e) and (f) of Article 39 and Articles 41 and 42 and at the least, therefore, it must include protection of the health and strength of workers, men and women, and of the tender age of children against abuse, opportunities and facilities for children to develop healthily and in conditions of freedom and dignity, educational facilities, just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief.

These are the minimum requirements which must exist to enable a person to live with human dignity and no State neither the Central Government nor any State Government-has the right to take any action which will deprive a person of the enjoyment of these essentials.

Following the above-stated cases, the Supreme Court in Peoples Union for Democratic Rights v. Union of India, held that non-payment of minimum wages to the workers employed in various Asiad Projects in Delhi was a denial to them of their right to live with basic human dignity and violative of Article 21 of the Constitution.

Bhagwati J. held that rights and benefits conferred on workmen employed by a contractor under various labor laws are clearly intended to ensure basic human dignity to workmen. He held that the non-implementation by the private contractors engaged in constructing a building for holding Asian Games in Delhi, and non-enforcement of these laws by the State Authorities of the provisions of these laws was held to be violative of the fundamental right of workers to live with human dignity contained in Art. 21.

In Chandra Raja Kumar v. Police Commissioner Hyderabad, it has been held that the right to life includes the right to live with human dignity and decency and, therefore, holding of beauty contest is repugnant to the dignity or decency of women and offends Article 21 of the Constitution only if the same is grossly indecent, scurrilous, obscene, or intended for blackmailing. The government is empowered to prohibit the contest as objectionable performance under Section 3 of the Andhra Pradesh Objectionable Performances Prohibition Act, 1956.

In State of Maharashtra v. Chandrabhan, the Court struck down a provision of Bombay Civil Service Rules, 1959, which provided for payment of only a nominal subsistence allowance of Re. 1 per month to a suspended Government Servant upon his conviction during the pendency of his appeal as unconstitutional on the ground that it was violative of Article 21 of the Constitution.

Conclusion
Human Rights are supposed to be perceived. Human Rights are supposed to be unavoidable, common, and characteristic. Every single individual is supposed to be equivalent. The fundamental suppositions are that the individuals are had sane and moral abilities which separate them from different animals on earth and in this way, they are qualified for specific rights and opportunities which different animals don’t have. The prior investigation focused on the issues of utilizing human respect in philosophical and moral ideas.

The idea itself is hazy, and one significant present-day use faces the issue of trying to be interstitial inside and between regulating fields that are themselves impervious to the general concept of such interstitial ideas. All things considered, there are valid justifications why such a broad idea ought to be essential in our intuition, and hence human poise is probably going to stay a segment of regulating talk despite its risky attributes.

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