Date of judgment-25/01/1978
BEG, M. HAMEEDULLAH (CJ), CHANDRACHUD, Y.V, BHAGWATI, P.N., KRISHNAIYER, V.R., UNTWALIA, N.L., FAZALALI, SYED MURTAZA, KAILASAM, P.S. (7 judges) Citation: 1978 SCC (1) 248
The factual summary of Maneka Gandhi case is as follows;
Maneka Gandhi was issued a passport on 1/06/1976 under the Passport Act 1967. The regional passport officer , New Delhi issued a letter dated 2/7/1977 addressed to Maneka Gandhi , in which she was asked to surrender her passport under section 10(3)(c ) of the Act in public interest, within 7 days from the date of receipt of the letter. Maneka Gandhi immediately wrote a letter to the Regional passport officer New Delhi seeking in return a copy of the statement of reasons for such order. However the government of India, Ministry of External Affairs refused to produce any such reason in the interest of general public. Maneka Gandhi then filed a writ petition under Article 32 of the constitution in the Supreme Court challenging the order of the government of India as violating her fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the constitution. The main issues before the court in this case were as follows; –whether right to go abroad is a part of right to personal liberty under Article 21. –Whether the Passport Act prescribes a ‘procedure’ as required by Article 21 before depriving a person from the right guaranteed under the said Article. –Whether section 10(3) (c) of the Passport Act is violative of Article 14, 19(1) (a) and 21 of the constitution. –Whether the impugned order of the regional passport officer is in contravention of the principles of natural justice. Respondant argues
• The words "in the interests of the general public" have a clearly well defined meaning. • Section 10(3)(c) is not wider than the constitutional provision in Article 19(5) of the Constitution. • The Passport authority is required to record in writing a brief statement of reasons for impounding the passport and, save in certain exceptional circumstances, to supply a copy of such statement to the person affected, • The power is exercised by the Central Government itself. So, it can safely be assumed that the Central Government will exercise the power in a reasonable and responsible manner. * Is Section 10(3)(c) of the Passport Act 1967 , violates the Article 19(1)(a) or (g) of the Indian Constitution? Article 19. (1) All citizens shall have the right— – (a) to freedom of speech and expression; – (g) to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business. The right, which is sought to be restricted by Section 10(3)(c) and the order, is the right to go abroad and that is not named as a fundamental right. But the argument of the petitioner was that the right to go abroad is an integral part of the freedom of speech and expression and whenever State action, be it law or executive fiat, restricts or interferes with the right to go abroad, it necessarily involves curtailment of freedom of speech and expression.
* The right to go abroad could not possibly be comprehended within freedom of speech and expression, because the right of free speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) was exercisable only within the territory of India and the guarantee of its exercise did not extend outside the country and hence State action restricting or preventing exercises of the right to go abroad could not be said to be violative of freedom of speech and expression * Is Freedom of Speech and expression confined to the territory of India ? The Union of India challenged that it was the basic propose of the Constitution that the fundamental rights guaranteed by it were available only within the territory of India, for it could never have been the intention of the constitution-makers to confer rights which the authority of the State could not enforce. Arguments of the Petitioner
• These rights were conceived by the...