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Article 21 Introduction

No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedures established by the law.(ARTICLE 21 OF INDIAN CONSTITUTION)
This Article has been regarded as the heart of our Constitution, the most organic and progressive provision in our living Constitution . Article 21 is having two Rights secured within it, firstly Right to life and secondly Right to personal liberty. Both the Rights are secured under this Article except according to the procedures established by law. This provision in the Indian Constitution can only be used when an individual is deprived of his Right to life and personal liberty by the state as stated under Article21 of the IndianConstitution. Violation of Rights by the private individual is not within the preview of the Article 21.
When. the state or any of its representativedivests an individual from his personal liberty, such an action can only be justified only if there is a law to support such actions, and procedures prescribed by the law has been very carefully analysed.The term law which is defined under the Article 21 must be just, fair and reasonable. The writ of habeas corpus is there in our Constitution to safeguard the deprivation personal liberty of the individuals.
No Absolute freedom is granted to any individual of any country. The basic principle lying behind this is that the people representative which are in the parliament are the only one who can determine to what extent the Rights of human can go or where it shall be curtailed for the development of the state by need and the passage of time.

The term ‘Right to life’ doesn’t really means continuance of life like that of animals but means to live a quality of life. It means ‘the fullest opportunity to develop one’s personality and potentiality to the highest level in the existing stages of our civilisation’ . It means an individual must have a rational level of comfort and civility. In Sunil Batra v. Delhi administration the supreme court held that term ‘Right to life’ includes Right to live a healthy life so as to enjoy all the faculties of human body in their prime conditions. Protection of person’s traditions, culture, heritage, and other things that gives sense to the life of that person is included in the term ‘Right to life’.
Every person is entitled for “Right of living” the Allahabad court has banned and prohibited the usage of Chinese manjha for flying the kites as it causes serious harms to humans, birds and other animals as the material by which these are made of nylon and is coated with crushed glass making it so much sharp  that it can cause dangerous harms to animals , birds and us.



The term Right to live comprises of Right to live with human dignity along with the necessary things for a human to survive like food, shelter, clothing, free movement and interacting and contacting with other persons. In BandhuaMuktiMorcha v. Union of India it was observed that;
It is the fundamental Right of everyone is 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 and state policy and particularly clause(e) and (f) of Article 39 and Article 41 and 42. The Right to live with human dignity which is included in the term Right to live under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution is one of the main aspects and a Constitutional value and the main target of the Indian Constitution.


 To inherent and inseparable content of the Article 21. Every person works his whole life to build his/her reputation in the society. Is one of the finer graces of human civilisation which make life worth living. In State of Maharashtra v. Public Concern for Governance Trust it was held that a good reputation was an element of personal security and was protected by the Constitution, equally with Right of enjoyment of life, liberty and property.
If the reputation of a person is harmed in any way then “a man is half-dead” and it is also Right in saying that “reputation is an inseparable facet of the human life”


 The term ‘livelihood’ means a mode of securing the necessities of life. A person work is the main source of his livelihood. Under Article 21 Right to livelihood is an integral part of the Right to life. If one’s Right to livelihood would be deprived, then it means that we are taking that person’s Right to life. In Narendra KumarChandla v. State of Haryana the supreme court held that the Article 21 protected the Right to livelihood as an integral facet of Right to life.Therefore, if an employee is affected with a disease due to which that person cannot perform his job then it should be adjusted in such a manner where he can earn his livelihood.


The Right to shelter has been held as the fundamental Right which springs from the Right to residence secured in Article 19(1)(e) and the Right to life guaranteed by Article 21. The Right to shelter has been one of the most basic and utmost need of an individual to grow, develop mentally, physically and spiritually.Right to shelter includes a safe living environment, space and a clean hygienic place to live like proper sanitations, drainage system, water etc.



The term sustainable development means that development of a country must happen in such a way that it must not affect the environment. There is a proper need to maintain a proper balance between the development of the society and the protection of the environment. The Right to life under Article 21 has been interpreted to mean a life of dignity to be lived in a proper environment free from dangers of diseases and infection.


Education is one of the most aspect of human life and for the development of the society. The development of the country can be analysed by the number of educated peoples, more the educated people more would be its development. The term Right to live includes providing good education to every citizen of the India. In BandhuaMuktiMorcha v. Union of India the court declared that “Right to education flows directly from the Right to life”. The Right to education is considered to be a fundamental Right under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution.


Right to know or Right to information has been one of the most important aspect of the Article 21 it is one of the basic Rights which every citizens of an independent country requires. Every citizen has a Right to know what is going on within the country and inside its government. India being a democratic country and its people has elected people as our representative to work for us and we are having a Right to know and enquire what is taking place in the country, which would be beneficial for its development.
The supreme court in R.P. Ltd. V. Proprietors Indian Express Newspapers, Bombay Pvt. Ltd. Observed that if the democracy had to function effectively, people must have a Right to know and obtain information about the conduct and affairs of the state.


The drafters of the Indian constitution have drafted this Article in such a way that neither it is made any provision compulsory nor makes any individual free from fundamental duties that must be followed by every citizen of the country.
This Article has observed so intensely the socio-economic set-up of the countries that no rights or duties will be omitted. Possibly, this is the most unique feature of our constitution that makes it different from the constitutions of the rest of the world.

Constitutional Law of India, 10thEdn. (2018), by Dr. Narender Kumar, published by Allahabad Law Agency.

N.S.Sahni v. Union of India, AIR 2001 SC 3812.

Constitutional Law of India, 10th Edn. (2018), by Dr. Narender Kumar, published by Allahabad Law Agency.

AIR 1978 SC 1675.

AIR 1982 SC 1473.

VikramDeo Singh Tomar v. State of Bihar, AIR 1988 SC 1782.

Prof.  S.N. Hedge v. Lokayukhtha , Bangalore, AIR 2004 NOC 169(Kant.).

AIR 2007 SC 777.

Subramanian Swamy v. Union of India, AIR 2016 2728.

Om Prakash Chautala v. KanwarBhan , AIR 2014 SC 1220.

AIR 1995 SC 519.

U.P.Avas Vikas parishad v. Friends coop. Housing Society Ltd., AIR 1996 SC 114.

Ratlam municipality v. Varidhi Chand, AIR 1980 SC 1622.

AIR 1984 SC 802.

AIR 1989 SC 190.


Submitted by Shreyas Piplani

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