Article 21: The Code of Life, Liberty and Dignity in the Indian Constitution
Author : S. Sivakumar and G. Kameswari
Year : 2020
In any democracy, it is the duty of the government to adopt appropriate measures to safeguard life by making laws to protect the lives of the country’s citizens. Article 21 of the Constitution of India thus embodies a value of supreme importance. Couched in negative language, the article states that no one shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law. From static, mechanical and purely literal interpretation of the article in Gopalan characterised as a ‘high water mark of legal positivism’ in 1950, there has been a transformation in the attitude of the apex court towards the protection of life and liberty especially after Maneka in 1978. Article 21, now regarded as the core of fundamental rights, has become a source of many substantive rights for the people. Article 21 is a detailed discussion of the evolution of various facets of the eponymous article over the last 70 years.