Indian constitution is a value document that captures aspirations and values of the Indian citizens. Indian constitution seeks to bring a social revolution where instead of being just a letter, it establishes itself as a living document, which continuously expands its scope to identify new human rights in its fold. Evolution of Article 21 is the most appropriate example of this.
DOCTRINE OF HARMONIOUS CONSTRUCTION
Apex court established harmonious relationship between Fundamental Rights (Part 3) and DPSP(Part 4) to establish correct interpretation of both parts . By this court has balanced the individual good of society with collective good of the society.
Ex. Sarla Mudgal Case – Court upheld Article 44 (Uniform Civil Code) to be in harmony with Article 25 and Article 26 and directing state to legislate a law enforcing Uniform Civil Code.
DOCTRINE OF ESSENTIAL PRACTICE
Court established State will protect only core and essential religious practices under Art 25 and in this way it balanced individual rights with religious rights.
Ex. Instant triple talaq and Sabarimala Temple customs were discontinued.
INTRODUCTION OF GST REGIME
Indian federal relations transformed from stronger Union to better federal balance to enable “cooperative federalism” in financial administration.
Ex. Creation of GST council
This dynamism is further visible in expansion of Article 21
- Maneka Gandhi Case (1978): Apex court introduced the concept of “procedure established by law” to “procedural due process of law,”. Now the procedure of the law will need to be just fair and reasonable.
- Right to education as a fundamental right (Article 21 A)
- Recognition of Right to privacy in Puttaswamy judgement (2017)
- Right to die with dignity: Common cause case (2018) legalising passive euthanasia under Article 21.
- Recognition of LGBTQ rights: Navtej Johar case (2018)
Subhash Kumar vs. the State of Bihar: Apex court included the right to get pollution-free air in the ambit of the right to life. (1991)
Article 21 is not merely confined to animal existence or survival, but also includes the right to live with human dignity and those aspects of life which make man’s life meaningful, complete and worth living. Personal Liberty in Article 21 is of the widest amplitude, and it covers a variety of rights that constitute the personal liberties of a man.