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SVKMs

NMIMS SCHOOL OF LAW

A PROJECT SUBMITTED ON
Article 14, Article 19 and Article 21 of The Indian Constitution

IN COMPLIANCE TO PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE MARKING


SCHEME, FOR TRIMESTER III OF 2015-2016,

IN THE SUBJECT OF
CONSTITUTION

SUBMITTED TO FACULTY:
Prof. Anirudh Narayan Bhatt
FOR EVALUATION

SUBMITTED BY:
Abhilasha Pant (A032)
0

INDEX

Contents
1. Abbreviations
2. Statutes
3. Table of Cases
4. Introduction
5. Abstract: Research Methodology
6. Legal Analysis
7. The Relation between Article 14, 19 and 21
8. Role of Judiciary
9. Landmark cases
10.Conclusion
11.Annotated Bibliography

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12.

ABBREVIATIONS

13. J. - Justice
14. &- and
15. v. - versus
16. SC - Supreme Court of India
17. AIR - All India Reporter
18. Vol. - Volume
19. Ed. - Edition
20. p. - Page Number
21. Del. - Delhi High Court
22. SCC - Supreme Court Cases
23. AP - Andhra Pradesh
24. UP - Uttar Pradesh
25. Bom. - Bombay High Court
26. Ltd. - Limited
27. Supp. - Supplementary
28. CrLJ - Criminal Law Journal
29. IPC - Indian Penal Code
30. Mad. - Madras High Court
31. CPC Civil Procedure Court

STATUTES

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.

Article 12 of Indian Constitution


Article 14 of Indian Constitution
Article 19 of Indian Constitution
Article 21 of Indian Constitution
Article 32 of Indian Constitution
Article 51A of Indian Constitution
Article 226 of Indian Constitution
Section 83 of Civil Procedure Code
Section 300 of Indian Penal Code

TABLE OF CASES

1. State of Madras v. V.G Row


2. Peoples Union for Democratic Rights v. Union of India
3. Romesh Thaper Vs State of Madras
4. Kharak Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh
5. Munn v. Illinois
6. P. Rathinam v. Union of India
7. Olga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corporation
8. D.B.M. Patnaik v. State of Andhra Pradesh
9. Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India
10. Rustom Cavasjee Cooper vs Union Of India
11. Shambhunath Sarkar v State of Bengal and ors.
12. Haradhan Saha & Another vs The State Of West Bengal & Ors
13. Minerva Mills Ltd. v. Union of India
14. Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab
15. T.R. Kothandaraman v. T.N. Water Supply & Drainage Board
16. State of U.P. v. Raj Narain
17. S.P. Gupta v. Union of India
18. Union of India v. Association for Democratic Reforms
19. PUCL v. Union of India
20. I.R. Coelho v. State of Tamil Nadu
21. Indira Sawhney V. Union of India
22. Chiranjit Lal Chowdhury v Union of India
23. Virender Vs. State of Punjab
24. Sakal Papers Vs. Union of India
25. A.K. Gopalan v. Union of India
26. Prabha Dutt v. Union of India
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27.
28.
29.
30.
31.
32.
33.

Indian Express v. Union of India


Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting v. Cricket Association of Bengal
Union of India v. Assn. for Democratic Reforms
Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration
Akhtari Bi v. State of Uttar Pradesh
P. Rathinam v. Union of India
Privy Council in Channing Arnold v. King Emperor

WEBSITES
1. www.judis.nic
2. www.scconline.in
3. www.manupatra.com
4. www.jstor.com
5. www.legaledge.com
6. www.westlaw.in
7.

INTRODUCTION

Evolution

The Constitution of India is the supreme law of India. It is a living document, the permanent
instrument which makes the government system work. It lays down the framework defining
fundamental political principles, establishes the structure, procedures, powers and duties of
government institutions and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles and the duties of
citizens. It is the longest written constitution of any sovereign country in the world. The nation
is governed on the basis of this Constitution.
The constitution came into being after nearly 3 years of debate, with 299 members. The drafting
committee was headed by BR Ambedkar. The constituent assembly was an indirectly elected
body created before independence. The first Lok Sabha elections were in 1952.

Review of existing literature

Article 14 of the Indian Constitution states that the state cannot deny to any person equality
before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India, protection and
prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, Caste, sex, or place of birth. Prof.
Dicey, explaining the concept of legal equality as it operated in England, said: with us every
official, from the prime minister down to a constable or a collector of taxes, is under the
same responsibility for every act done without any legal justification as any other citizen.
Article 14 mandates that the State shall not deny equality before law and
equal protection of laws to any person within the territory of India. However,
Parliament has repeatedly tried to curtail the scope and vigour of Article 14
in order to carry out the welfare programs.1
1 Constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1951

The primary purpose of Article 19 is to protect certain rights regarding freedom of speech.
The Article 19 explicitly states that the right to freedom of opinion and expression also includes
the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart
information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Article 19 (5) of the
Constitution purportedly empowers the states to enact legislation of their own for protecting
indigenous people. In the interests of the sovereignty, integrity, and security of India, the states
can enact any law that imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the rights
mentioned in Article 19.
According to Justice Bhagwati, Article 21 embodies a constitutional value of supreme
importance in a democratic society. Justice Iyer., 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. The Article prohibits the deprivation of two rights, i.e. Right to Life
and Right to Personal Liberty, except according to a procedure established by law. 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).

Scope of the Topic

The scope of this topic is to understand the Fundamental Concept of Article 14, Article 19 and
Article 21 and to understand the complex relationship between the three Articles. Through this
research, the Part III of the Indian Constitution can be explained in a better context.

ABSTRACT: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Various sources on the Internet like journals, articles, e-books, blogs, law reviews, etc. have
been of immense help for the research. Different books and judgement compilations have also
been referred to. Focusing on the intricacies of the case mentioned in the assigned topic, this
research was done by thoroughly reading and critically analysing various aspects relating to The
Indian Constitution.
Research questions that were initially proposed have been attempted to be answered in the
course of this project on The Indian Constitution.

Research Questions
1.

How does article 14 define Equality before the Law?

2.

How were reasonable restrictions imposed on Article 19?

3. What is Right to Life with Human Dignity?

Hypotheses
1. How does article 14 define Equality before the Law?
Equality before law is well defined under the Article 14 of the Constitution which
ensures that every citizen shall be likewise protected by the laws of the country. It means
that the State will not distinguish any of the Indian citizens on the basis of their gender,
caste, creed, religion or even the place of birth. The state cannot refuse equality before
the law and equal defense of the law to any person within the territory of India. In other
words, this means that no person or groups of people can demand for any special
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privileges. This right not only applies to the citizens of India but also to all the people
within the territory of India.
2. How were reasonable restrictions imposed on Article 19?
In, State of Madras v. V.G Row 2, the Supreme Court declared the provision to be
unconstitutional for the test to be declaring an association unlawful was subjective and
the factual existence of the grounds was not justifiable. The court emphasized that
curtailing the right to form association was fraught with serious potential reactions in
religious, political and economic fields. Therefore, power in the government was vested
to impose restriction on this right without consideration in judging the reasonableness of
the restrictions. The existence of a summary and largely one-sided review by an advisory
board was no substitute for a judicial inquiry.

3. What is Right to Life with Human Dignity?


Right to Life is not only confined to physical existence but includes within its ambit the
right to live with human dignity. In Peoples Union for Democratic Rights v. Union of
India3, it was 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., speaking for
the majority held that the rights and benefits conferred on the workmen employed by a
contractor under various labor laws are clearly intended to ensure the basic human
dignity to workmen and of the workmen violate are deprived of any of these rights and
benefits, that would clearly by a violation of Article 21. He held that the nonimplementation by the private contractors and non-enforcement by the State Authorities
of the provisions of various labour laws violated the fundamental right of the workers
to live with human dignity.
2 AIR 1952 SC 196
3 AIR 1982 SC 1473.
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LEGAL ANALYSIS

ARTICLE 14

Article 14 of the Constitution of India reads as under:

The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the
equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.

The said Article is clearly in two parts while it commands the State not to deny to any
person equality before law, it also commands the State not to deny the equal
protection of the laws. Equality before law prohibits discrimination. It is a negative
concept. The concept of equal protection of the laws requires the State to give special
treatment to persons in different situations in order to establish equality amongst all. It is
positive in character. Therefore, the necessary corollary to this would be that equals
would be treated equally, whilst un-equals would have to be treated unequally.

The underlying principle of equality is not the uniformity to all in all respects, but rather
to give them the same treatment in those respects in which they are similar and different
treatment in those respects in which they are different. Equals must be treated equal
while un-equals must be treated differently.4

4 V.N. Shuklas ;Constitution of India , pg 49,Twelfth edition,2013


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The Right to Equality affords protection not only against discriminatory laws passed by
legislatures but also prevents arbitrary discretion being vested in the executive. In the
modern State, the executive is armed with vast powers, in the matter of enforcing bylaws, rules and regulations as well as in the performance of a number of other functions.
The equality clause prevents such power being exercised in a discriminatory manner. For
example, the issue of licenses regulating various trades and business activities cannot be
left to the unqualified discretion of the licensing authority. The law regulating such
activities should lay down the principles under which the licensing authority has to act in
the grant of these licenses.

Article 14 prevents discriminatory practices only by the State and not by individuals. For
instance, if a private employer like the owner of a private business concern discriminates
in choosing his employees or treats his employees unequally, the person discriminated
against will have no judicial remedy.

Article 14 manifests in the form of following propositions:


(i) A law conferring unguided and unrestricted power on an authority is bad for being
arbitrary and discriminatory.
(ii) Article 14 illegalizes discrimination in the actual exercise of any discretionary power.
(iii) Article 14 strikes at arbitrariness in administrative action and ensures fairness and
equality of treatment.

ARTICLE 19

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Article 19(1) (a) of Indian Constitution says that all citizens have the right to freedom of
speech and expressionFreedom of speech and expression is the most basic of all
freedoms granted to the citizens of India. J Patanjali Shastri has said in the case of
Romesh Thaper Vs State of Madras 5 that freedom of speech and that of the press lay
at the foundation of a democratic society, for without free political discussions, no public
education is possible, which is so important for the proper functioning of the govt.
Freedom of Speech and expression means the right to express one's own convictions and
opinions freely by words of mouth, writing, printing, pictures or any other mode. It thus
includes the expression of one's idea through any communicable medium or visible
representation, such as gesture, signs, and the like. Freedom of speech would amount to
nothing if it were not possible to propagate the ideas.
Thus, the freedom of publication and press is also covered under freedom of speech.
Free propagation of ideas is the necessary objective and this may be done on the
platform or through the press. This propagation of ideas is secured by freedom of
circulation. Liberty of circulation is essential to that freedom as the liberty of
publication. Indeed, without circulation the publication would be of little value.
The freedom of speech and expression includes liberty to propagate not one's views
only. It also includes the right to propagate or publish the views of other people;
otherwise this freedom would not include the freedom of press.

Every citizen of this country therefore has the right to air his or their views through the
printing and or the electronic media subject of course to permissible restrictions imposed
under Article 19(2) of the Constitution. The freedom of speech and expression includes
freedom of circulation and propagation of ideas and therefore the right extends to the
citizen to use the media to answer the criticism leveled against the views propagated by
him.
Although the Constitution of India does not specifically mention the freedom of press, it
is implicitly defined under the Article 19 (1a). It has been included as part of freedom of
5 AIR 1950 SC 124
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speech and expression. Therefore, the press is also subject to restrictions that are
provided under the Article 19 (2).
In fact, the Right to Information (RTI) emerges as a fundamental right under this Article
as the prerequisite for enjoying the freedom of speech and expression is access to
knowledge and information. Therefore, RTI becomes a constitutional right and an
important aspect of the right to free speech and expression. Access to information also
helps the citizens perform their fundamental duties mentioned in Article 51A.
Every free citizen has undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases. This freedom
must, however, be exercised with circumspection and care must be taken not to trench
on the rights of other citizens or to jeopardize public interest. Articles 19(2) to 19(6)
contain reasonable restrictions on the rights enshrined under Article 19(1).

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.
The term life as mentioned in the Article has been given a broad meaning by the
Supreme Court. Right to Life does not merely mean the continuance of a persons
animal existence but a quality of life. In the case of Kharak Singh v. State of Uttar
Pradesh6, the Supreme Court quoted with approval Field, J.s observation in Munn v.
Illinois7, and held:

6 AIR 1963 SC 1295.


7 (1877) 94 US 113.
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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 arm or 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 P. Rathinam v. Union of India,8 the Supreme Court defined Life as follows: the
right to live with human dignity and the same does not connote continued drudgery. It
takes within its fold some of the fine graces of civilization which makes life worth living
and that the expanded concept of life would mean the tradition, culture and heritage of
the person concerned. In Olga Tellis9, the Supreme Court has emphasized that the term
life in Article 21 is not only restricted to mere animal existence of a person. It means
something more and the inhibition against the deprivation of life extents to all those
limits and faculties by which life is enjoyed.
In D.B.M. Patnaik v. State of Andhra Pradesh10, some prisoners challenged some
restrictions as violation of Article 21. The Supreme Court stated that a convict is not
denuded of all his fundamental rights. Imprisonment after conviction is bound to curtail
some of his rights, e.g., freedom of speech or movement, but certain other rights, e.g.,
right to hold property, could still be enjoyed by a prisoner.

8 (1994) 3 SCC 394: AIR 1994 SC 1844.


9 Olga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corporation, AIR 1986 SC 180.
10 AIR 1974 SC 2094
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THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ARTICLE 14, 19 AND 21


The inter-relationship between Articles 14, 19, and 21 was carefully examined in Maneka
Gandhi v. Union of India11. Discussing this relationship, it was observed that:

The law, must, therefore, now be taken to be well settled that Article 21 does not exclude
Article 19 and that even if there is a law prescribing a procedure for depriving a person of
personal liberty and there is consequently no infringement of the fundamental right conferred
by Article 21, such law, insofar as it abridges or takes away any fundamental right under Article
19 would have to meet the challenge of that article.

This proposition can no longer be disputed after the decisions in R.C. Cooper case12, Shambhu
Nath Sarkar case13 and Haradhan Saha14 case. Now, if a law depriving a person of personal
liberty and prescribing a procedure for that purpose within the meaning of Article 21 has to
stand the test of one or more of the fundamental rights conferred under Article 19 which may be
applicable in a given situation, ex-hypothesis it must also be liable to be tested with reference to
Article 14.

In Minerva Mills Ltd. v. Union of India15, Chandrachud, C.J., as he then was, observed:
11 AIR 1978 1 SCC 248
12 1970 AIR 564, 1970 SCR (3) 530
13 1974 AIR 2151 1975 SCR (1) 321 1975 SCC (3) 33
14 1974 AIR 2154, 1975 SCR (1) 778
15 AIR 1980 3 SCC 625
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Three Articles of our Constitution, and only three, stand between the heaven of freedom into
which Tagore wanted his country to awake and the abyss of unrestrained power. They are
Articles 14, 19 and 21.

This was the first mention of what was later to be termed as the Golden Triangle, i.e. Articles
14, 19, and 21. As observed in Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab16:
There are three Fundamental Rights in the Constitution which are of prime importance and
which breathe vitality in the concept of the rule of law. They are Articles 14, 19 and 21 which,
in the words of Chandrachud, C.J. in Minerva Mills case constitute a golden triangle.

Hansaria, J. very aptly observed in T.R. Kothandaraman v. T.N. Water Supply & Drainage
Board17, that, The golden triangle of our Constitution is composed of Articles 14, 19 and 21.
Incorporation of such a trinity in our paramount parchment is for the purpose of paving such a
path for the people of India which may see them close to the trinity of liberty, equality and
fraternity.

It is apparent that the right to information was not spelt out as a separate right under Article
19. However, it is now well-settled in a catena of cases that the right to freedom of speech and
expression enshrined in Article 19(1)(a) includes the right to information.
In State of U.P. v. Raj Narain 18, it was observed that the right to know is derived from the
concept of freedom of speech. It was held that:
16 AIR 1982 3 SCC 24
17 AIR 1994 6 SCC 282
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In a Government of responsibility like ours, where all the agents of the public must be
responsible for their conduct, there can be but few secrets. The people of this country have a
right to know every public act, everything that is done in a public way, by their public
functionaries. They are entitled to know the particulars of every public transaction in all its
bearing. The right to know, which is derived from the concept of freedom of speech, though not
absolute, is a factor which should make one wary, when secrecy is claimed for transactions
which can, at any rate, have no repercussion on public security.
This was further confirmed in S.P. Gupta v. Union of India19, where it was held that:

The concept of an open Government is the direct emanation from the right to know which
seems to be implicit in the right of free speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)
(a). Therefore, disclosure of information in regard to the functioning of Government must be the
rule and secrecy an exception justified only where the strictest requirement of public interest so
demands.

The law in this regard has been developed over the years, in Union of India v. Association for
Democratic Reforms 20and in PUCL v. Union of India21.
In consonance with its duty, Parliament enacted the Right to Information Act in 2005. The
Preamble of the Act reads as under:
18 AIR 1975 4 SCC 428
19 AIR 1981 Supp SCC 87
20 AIR 2002 5 SCC 294
21 AIR 2003 4 SCC 399
17

An Act to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens to
secure access to information under the control of public authorities, in order to promote
transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority, the constitution of a
Central Information Commission and State Information Commissions and for matters connected
therewith or incidental thereto.

In I.R. Coelho v. State of Tamil Nadu22, the Supreme Court ruled that Articles 14, 19 and 21
represented the foundational values, which formed the basis of judicial review apart from the
rule of law and separation of powers. These Articles, the Court ruled, Is the golden triangle, the
basic feature of the Constitution, as it stands for equality and rule of law.

22 AIR 2007, SC 861


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ROLE OF JUDICIARY
The judiciary plays a very important role in the Constitution. The importance of Judiciary in a
democratic set up for protection of personal and proprietary rights can hardly be overestimated.
The principal function of Judiciary is to provide legal remedies against infringement of personal
and property rights of persons.
Even though certain important fundamental rights including right to carry on any trade or
business are guaranteed only to citizens, all persons including non-citizens can claim equality
before the law and equal protection of the laws (Article 14). Therefore any arbitrary
discrimination against a person who is a non-citizen qua his claim to be treated equally as
others before the law, can be challenged before the Courts.
Recourse to Court by law is a well-recognized concept world over and firmly entrenched in the
Constitutional and other laws of India. Therefore, any person can claim a statutorily or
customarily recognized right to property. In case of infringement of a legally recognized right
recourse to law cannot be denied and the rule of law enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution
will enable any person including a non-citizen to approach the legal forum of the country for
redressal of his grievances.
In India, as provided by Section 83 of the Code of Civil Procedure alien friends may sue in any
Court otherwise competent to try the suit, as if they were citizens of India. The alien
enemies, whether residing in India or in a foreign Country, shall not sue in any such Court
without the permission of the Central Government.
Therefore, the questions of national or public interest would rarely arise when redressal is
sought by a non-citizen for violation of such proprietary rights by the infringer. The judiciary is
bound to implement the laws and redress grievances of all persons including aliens to uphold
their common law or statutorily recognized rights.

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In the case of Indira Sawhney V. Union of India23, the Supreme Court upheld the
implementation of recommendations made by the Mandal Commission. It also defined the
"creamy layer" criteria and reiterated that the quota could not exceed 50 per cent.
The juridical application of Article 14 operates on the basis of intelligible differentia. This
refers to two principles in law regarding classification of groups for different treatment. First,
that differently-placed citizens can be treated differently under the same law as long as the
classification is based on an intelligible differentia which distinguishes persons that are grouped
together from others excluded from the group; and two, the differential treatment must have a
reasonable and rational connection with the objective that the law in question is supposed to
reach. In other words, the equality guarantee actually does not require that the law treat all
individuals equally. It has been interpreted by courts as a prohibition against unreasonable
classification. As was held in the case of Chiranjit Lal Chowdhury v Union of
India24, the guiding principle of the article is that all persons similarly circumstanced shall
be treated alike, both in privileges conferred and liabilities imposed. The rule is that like
should be treated alike and that un-like should be treated differently.
This understanding of equality clearly follows the formal equality approach where equality is
understood as sameness. In effect, only if you can become same will you be treated equally. To
decide whether one qualifies to be same, the court has to first classify the groups in
question claiming equality so that they can be compared to find out whether they are same or
different.
If it is established that the classified groups are differently placed, then such difference will
be the justification for differential treatment. Thus, judicial interpretation suggests that when
classified groups dont qualify to be the same, or similarly situated, they dont qualify to be
equal either, even if their differences are an outcome of historic or systemic discrimination.25
23 AIR 1993 SC 477, 1992 Supp 2 SCR 454
24 1951 AIR 41, 1950 SCR 869
25 As Ratna Kapur and Brenda Cossman note: The first step in determining whether Article 14
has been violatedis a consideration of whether the persons between whom discrimination is alleged
fall within the same class. If the

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In Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India 26, BHAGWATI J., has emphasized on the significance
of the freedom of speech & expression in these words:
Democracy is based essentially on free debate and open discussion, for that is the only
corrective of government action in a democratic set up. If democracy means government of the
people by the people, it is obvious that every citizen must be entitled to participate in the
democratic process and in order to enable him to intelligently exercise his rights of making a
choice, free & general discussion of public matters is absolutely essential.
This aspect of the right to freedom of speech and expression extending the concept of
citizenship to include socio-political participation of a person is critical in the process of
determining the scope of right to life of a citizen under Article 21 of the Constitution. It is
important to note that the scope of the freedom of speech and expression in Article 19(1)
(a) of the Constitution has been expanded to include the right to receive and disseminate
information. It includes the right to communicate and circulate information through any
medium including print media, audio, television broadcast or electronic media.
The judiciary has time and again opined that the right to receive information is another facet of
the right to freedom of speech and expression and the right to communicate and receive
information without interference is a crucial aspect of this right. This is because, a person
cannot form an informed opinion or make an informed choice and effectively participate
socially, politically or culturally without receipt of adequate information. The Supreme Court in
State of Uttar Pradesh v. Raj Narain31 has held that Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution
guarantees the freedom of speech and expression to all citizens in addition to protecting the
rights of the citizens to know the right to receive information regarding matters of public
concern. This position was reiterated by the Court in Secretary, Ministry of Information and
Broadcasting, Govt. of India v. Cricket Association of Bengal wherein it was held that
Article 19(1)(a) includes the right to acquire and disseminate information. The Supreme Court,
while opining on the right to freedom of information, further noted in Dinesh Trivedi, M.P. and
persons are not deemed to be similarly circumstanced, then no further consideration is required

26 AIR 1978 1 SCC 248


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Ors v. Union of India33 that in modern constitutional democracies, it is axiomatic that citizens
have a right to know about the affairs of the government which, having been elected by them,
seek to formulate sound policies of governance aimed at their welfare.
The print medium is a powerful tool for dissemination and receipt of information for any
citizen. Thus, access to printed material is crucial for satisfaction of a persons right to freedom
of speech and expression guaranteed to him under the Constitution. Persons with print
impairment have no access to printed material in their normal format. Failure on part of the
State to make legislative provision for enabling access to persons with print impairment of
material in alternative accessible formats would constitute a deprivation of their right to
freedom of speech and expression and such inaction on the part of the State falls foul of the
Constitution. In view of the same, it is an obligation on part of the State to ensure that adequate
provisions are made in the law enabling persons with print impairment to access printed
material in accessible formats.
Under the Freedom of Speech and Expression, there is no separate guarantee of freedom of the
press and the same is included in the freedom of expression, which is conferred on all
citizens (Virender Vs. State of Punjab 27 and Sakal Papers Vs. Union of India 28). It has also
been by this judgment that freedom of the press under the Indian Constitution is not higher than
the freedom of an ordinary citizen.
Though Article 21 starts with a negative word but the word No has been used in relation to the
word deprived. The object of the fundamental right under Article 21 is to prevent encroachment
upon personal liberty and deprivation of life except according to procedure established by law.
It clearly means that this fundamental right has been provided against state only.
According to Dicey,

27 AIR 1958, SC. 986


28 AIR 1962 S.C. 305
22

The right to personal liberty as understood in England means in substance a persons right not
to be subjected to imprisonment, arrest, or other physical coercion in any manner that does not
admit of legal justification.
In other words, personal liberty means freedom from physical restraint and coercion which is
not authorized by law.
The post-emergency period (1977-98) is known as the period of Judicial Activism, because it
was during this period that the Courts jurisprudence blossomed with doctrinal creativity as well
as processual innovations.
A great transformation in the judicial attitude towards the safeguard of personal liberty has been
noticed after the horrible experiences of the infamous 1975 national emergency.
A.K. Gopalan v. Union of India and Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India 29, are the two
landmark cases which decided and expanded the horizon of rights under Art. 21. The judicial
pronouncement before the case of Maneka Gandhi v Union of India30 were not satisfactory in
providing adequate protection to the right to life and personal liberty guaranteed under Article
21 of the constitution of India . Prior to Maneka Gandhis decision, Article 21 guaranteed the
right to life and personal liberty only against the arbitrary action of the executive and not from
the legislative action.

LANDMARK CASES

Some landmark Supreme Court Judgments regarding the Freedom of Expression which also
have been mentioned before in the paper are:

29 AIR 1978 1 SCC 248


30 Ibid
23

1. Romesh Thapar v. State of Madras31: Freedom of speech and of the press laid at the
foundation of all democratic organizations, for without free political discussion no
public education, so essential for the proper functioning of the process of popular
government, is possible.
2. Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India32: Freedom of speech and expression has no
geographical limitation and it carries with it the right of a citizen to gather information
and to exchange thought with others not only in India but abroad also.
3. Prabha Dutt v. Union of India33: Supreme Court directed the Superintendent of Tihar
Jail to allow representatives of a few newspapers to interview Ranga and Billa, the death
sentence convicts, as they wanted to be interviewed.
4. Indian Express v. Union of India:

34

Press plays a very significant role in the

democratic machinery. The courts have duty to uphold the freedom of press and
invalidate all laws and administrative actions that abridge that freedom.
5. Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting v. Cricket Association of
Bengal35: Every citizen has a fundamental right to impart as well as receive information
through the electronic media. It ruled that frequencies or airwaves are public property,
and that the government enjoys no monopoly over broadcasting. Court ordered the
government to take immediate steps to set up an independent and autonomous public
authority to regulate frequencies. Freedom of speech and expression (Article 19 .1 &
19.2) played an important role in this decision.
31 [1950] SCR 594.
32 AIR 1978 1 SCC 248
33 1982 AIR, 6 1982 SCR (1)1184
34 1986 AIR 515, 1985 SCR (2) 287
35 1995 AIR 1236, 1995 SCC (2) 161
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6. Union of India v. Assn. for Democratic Reforms 36: One-sided information,


disinformation, misinformation and non-information, all equally create an uninformed
citizenry which makes democracy a farce. Freedom of speech and expression includes
right to impart and receive information which includes freedom to hold opinions.

Some landmark judgements on Right to Life are

1. Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration37: The Supreme Court reiterated with the approval
the above observations and held that the right to life included the right to lead a
healthy life so as to enjoy all faculties of the human body in their prime conditions. It
would even include the right to protection of a persons tradition, culture, heritage and
all that gives meaning to a mans life. It includes the right to live in peace, to sleep in
peace and the right to repose and health.

2. In Akhtari Bi v. State of Uttar Pradesh38, the Supreme Court has recognized the right
of a child of 3 years to parental care, love and affection. The court ruled that depriving
the child of the right was not only against the interests of the child but against the
interest of the society as well.
3. In P. Rathinam v. Union of India39, a Division Bench of the Supreme Court, supporting
the decision of the High Court of Bombay in Maruti Sripati Dubal Case, held that under
Article 21 right to life also include right to die and laid down that section 309 of Indian
Penal Court which deals with attempt to commit suicide is a penal offence
unconstitutional.
4.
36 AIR 2001 Delhi 126, 2000 (57) DRJ 82
37 1980 AIR 1579, 1980 SCR (2) 557
38 AIR 2001 SC 1528.
39 AIR 1994 SC 1844.
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CONCLUSION
Right to equality is a Fundamental Right. It can be enforced in High Court under Article 226
and in Supreme Court under Article 32.Fundamental Rights can be enforced only if the state
violates it. Right to Equality is considered as basic feature of the Indian Constitution. Right to
Equality under Art.14 is vested not only to citizens but to all persons. It includes equality before
Law and Equal Protection of Law.
No one is above the law of the land. Everyone is equal in the eyes of law. There should be no
discrimination. Law must be equal and must be equally administered. So like must be treated
alike and unlike. Equality before law is negative concept and Equal protection of law is positive
concept. Reasonable Classification is allowed in the administration of justice. But it should have
some relation to the object of the legislature.
In every society there are two classes namely upper class and lower class. The standard of living
of the upper class is high but that of lower class is low. As a result it is the duty of the state to
uplift the lower class in the society to bring Equality. Absolute equality is impossible but there
should not be inequality. Discrimination on the basis of caste, sex, race, religion, language etc.
must be not there at all. A sense of equality must be there then and then only then will be unity
in any state.
The constitution of India does not specifically mention the freedom of press. Freedom of press
is implied from the Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution. Thus the press is subject to the
restrictions that are provided under the Article 19(2) of the Constitution. Before Independence,
there was no constitutional or statutory provision to protect the freedom of press. As observed
by the Privy Council in Channing Arnold v. King Emperor 40: The freedom of the journalist
is an ordinary part of the freedom of the subject and to whatever length, the subject in general
may go, so also may the journalist, but apart from statute his privilege is no other and no higher.
The range of his assertions, his criticisms or his comments is as wide as, and no wider than that
of any other subject. The Preamble of the Indian Constitution ensures to all its citizens the
40 (1914) 16 BOMLR 544
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liberty of expression. Freedom of the press has been included as part of freedom of speech and
expression under the Article 19 of the UDHR. The heart of the Article 19 says: Everyone has
the right to freedom of opinion and expression, this right includes freedom to hold opinions
without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media
and regardless of frontiers.
The Apex Court led a great importance on reasonableness and rationality of the provision and it
is pointed out that in the name of undue stress on Fundamental Rights and Individual Liberty,
the ideals of social and economic justice cannot be given a go-by.
Thus it is clear that the provision Article 21 was constructed narrowly at the initial stage but the
law in respect of life and personal liberty of a person was developed gradually and a liberal
interpretation was given to these words. New dimensions have been added to the scope of
Article21 from time to time. It imposed a limitation upon a procedure which prescribed for
depriving a person of life and personal liberty by saying that the procedure which prescribed for
depriving a person of life and personal liberty by saying that the procedure must be reasonable,
fair and such law should not be arbitrary, whimsical and fanciful.
The interpretation which has been given to the words life and personal liberty in various
decisions of the Apex Court, it can be said that the protection of life and personal liberty has got
multi-dimensional meaning and any arbitrary, whimsical and fanciful act of the State which
deprived the life or personal liberty of a person would be against the provision of Article 21 of
the Constitution.

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ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1951
It blunted the attack on the ground of violation of Article 14 for allowing smooth
passage of Zamindari Abolition Acts of various States. Constitution (25th Amendment)
Act introduced Article 31-C for giving overriding effect to Articles 39(a) and (b) over
fundamental rights enshrined in Articles 14, 19 and 31. Later on this overriding effect
was given by 42nd Amendment to all the Directive Principles over these articles.
2. V.N. Shuklas ;Constitution of India , pg 49,Twelfth edition,2013
The hidden standard of correspondence is not the consistency to with everything taken
into account regards, but instead to give them the same treatment in those regards in
which they are comparative and diverse treatment in those regards in which they are
distinctive. Measures up to must be dealt with equivalent while un-breaks even with
must be dealt with in an unexpected way
3. As Ratna Kapur and Brenda Cossman note: The first step in determining whether
Article 14 has been violated is a consideration of whether the persons between whom
discrimination is alleged fall within the same class. If the persons are not deemed to be
similarly circumstanced, then no further consideration is required
4. Kmiec, Keenan D. (2004), The Origin and Current Meanings of Judicial
Activism'. Cal. L. Rev. 92: 1441, 1447.
Schlesingers article profiled all nine Supreme Court justices on the Court at that time
and explained the alliances and divisions among them. The article characterized Justices
Black, Douglas, Murphy, and Rutledge as the Judicial Activists and Justices
Frankfurter, Jackson, and Burton as the Champions of Self Restraint. Justice Reed and
Chief Justice Vinson comprised a middle group.

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