R.V. College of Engineering, Bangalore – 59
CIP71 – Constitution of India and Professional Ethics
Constitution of India
Case 1 Maneka Gandhi vs. Union of India (1978)
The fact situation in this case was as follows:
Section 10(3)(c) of the Passport Act authorizes the Passport authority to impound a Passport if it deems it necessary to do so in the in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of India, friendly relations of India with any foreign country, or in the interest of the general public. Maneka’s passport was impounded by the central Government under the Passport Act in the interest of the general public.
Maneka filed a writ petition challenging the order on the ground of violation of her Fundamental Rights under Article 21. One of the major grounds of challenge was that the order impounding the Passport was null and void as it had been made without affording her an opportunity to being heard in her defence. The court laid down a number of propositions seeking to make Article 21 much more meaningful than hitherto.
← The court reiterated the proposition that Article 14, 19 and 21 are not mutually exclusive. A law prescribing a procedure for depriving a person of ‘personal liberty’ has to meet the requirements of Article 19. Also the procedure established by law in Article 21 must answer the requirement of Article 14 as well. ← The expression ‘Personal liberty’ in Article 21 was given an expansive interpretation. The expression ‘Personal liberty’ ought not be read in a narrow and restricted sense so as to exclude those attributes of personal liberty which are specifically dealt with in Article 19. The right to travel abroad falls under Article 21. ← The most significant and creative aspect of Maneka case, is the re-interpretation by the Court of the expression ‘procedure established by law’ used in article 21. Article 21 would no longer mean that law could prescribe some semblance of procedure, however arbitrary or fanciful, to deprive a person of his personal liberty. It now means that the procedure must satisfy certain requisites in the sense of being fair and reasonable.
The procedure cannot be arbitrary unfair or unreasonable.
As the right to travel abroad falls under art 21, natural justice must be applied while exercising the power of impounding a Passport under the Passport Act. Although the Passport Act does not expressly provide for the requirement of hearing before a passport is impounded, yet the same has to be implied therein.
Case 2 Sunil Batra vs. Delhi Administration (1980)
The Court has given several directives to improve many aspects of prison administration and condition of prisoners. In this case, the Court has pointed out that its powers under Art. 32 are free from the rigid restraints of the traditional English writs. Prison torture is not beyond the reach of the Supreme Court under Article 32. For this purpose, the Court treats letters from prisoners as writ petitions. In this case, the judicial process was set in motion by a letter written by a prisoner to a Judge of the Supreme Court complaining of the brutal attack by the prison staff on a fellow prisoner. Forsaking all procedural formalities, “since freedom was at stake”, the letter was treated by the Court as a petition for the writ of Habeas Corpus.
Case 3 Hussainara Khatoon vs. Home Secretary – State of Bihar (1979)
Hussaainara Khatoon case of the Bihar undertrials started with an article written in Indian Express. An advocate then filed a petition under Article 32 in the Supreme Court to protect the personal liberty of the undertrials. The Supreme Court has laid great emphasis on speedy trial of criminal offences and has emphasized: “It is implicit in the broad sweep and content of Article 21”. A fair trial implies a speedy trial. No...