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3 Issue 3 Int'l J.L. Mgmt. & Human. 2143 (2020)
Article 21: The Ever Evolving Article of the Indian Constitution

handle is hein.journals/ijlmhs5 and id is 2138 raw text is: International Journal of Law Management & Humanities

Article 21: The Ever Evolving Article of the
Indian Constitution
The right to ife is the first among human rights
- Pope Francis
Article 21 of the Indian Constitution guarantees to all individuals right to life and liberty.
Adopted from the concept of due process of law as mentioned under the American
Constitution, it is considered as the heart of the Indian Constitution. This article which
had started with the meaning of mere freedom of human body in 1950 has evolved over
the years to become a set of rights within itself to protect human life and liberty. But the
judges of the Supreme Court as recently as in 2019, have commented about the need to
expand the scope of article 212. This is because with changing times the human needs and
priorities keep changing and the judiciary and lawmakers have to keep this in mind, in
order to make sure that the laws are equipped to serve the basic needs of the changing
times. Some of the rights which have evolved over the past 70 years are (i.) Right to live
with human dignity (ii). Right against sexual harassment at work place (iii) Right to clean
environment (iv.) Right against illegal detention (v.) Right to legal aid (vi.) Right to
Speedy trial (vii.) Right to livelihood (viii.) Right to education and (ix.) Right to privacy3.
What is Article 21 of the Indian Constitution? Why has it been considered as the heart of
fundamental rights? How has the scope of the meaning of the words life and personal
liberty as mentioned in the article been expanding? Which judgements were responsible for
such an expansion of ambit?
Article 21 of the constitution guarantees to every individual protection of life and personal
liberty. It states that, No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty, except by
1 Author is a student at Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Visakhapatnam, A.P, India
2 Special Correspondent, Article 21's scope needs to be expanded, says SC judge, The Hindu ( December 22,
2019, 09:10 IST), https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/article-21 s-scope-needs-to-be-
3 Riya Jain, Article 21 of the Constitution of India - Right to Life and Personal Liberty, Academike ( Nov 13,
2015), https://www.lawctopus.com/academike/article-21-of-the-constitution-of-india-right-to-life-and-personal-
© 2020. International Journal of Law Management & Humanities         [ISSN 2581-5369]


[Vol. 3 Iss 3; 2143]

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