UPSC Daily Answer writing practice GS-2 #22

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Maneka Gandhi Case, 1978 is one of the landmark judgments that gave a new perspective to the Part III of the Constitution and brought a shift in the approach of the judiciary. Elaborate.(250 words)

मेनका गांधी वाद, 1978 एक ऐतिहासिक निर्णय था, जिसने संविधान के भाग III को एक नया दृष्टिकोण प्रदान किया और न्यायपालिका के उपागम में भी परिवर्तन किया | समझाएँ ।



Why Maneka important


  • New perspective
  • Approach of judiciary


A simple conclusion.

Model Answer:-

The decision of the Supreme Court of India in Maneka Gandhi case was an ‘inflexion point’ in the court’s movement towards a broader interpretation of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.


New Perspective to the Part III of the Constitution :

The case was a turning point in the Supreme Court’s interpretation of Art. 21. The court moved from a passive to an active approach in construing the right to life and liberty under the Constitution and derived a number of rights from Article 21. Some of these are:-

  • the right to live with dignity
  • protection of women and children
  • Environmental rights.
  • The right to go abroad;
  • The right to privacy;
  • The right against solitary confinement

Shift in the approach of the Judiciary:

  • The phrase ‘procedure established by law’ prevented the courts to question any law as violating the right to life or personal liberty if the law had been suitably passed and enacted.
  • But the majority judgement in Maneka Gandhi case held that a law made by state which seeks to deprive a person of his personal liberty must prescribe a procedure for such deprivation which must not be arbitrary, unfair, or unreasonable.
  • After this judgement, it effectively meant that ‘procedure established by law’ under Article 21 would have the same effect as the American concept of ‘Due process of Law’

The right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 since this judgment has gradually become a repository of human rights and fundamental freedoms in India over the last four decades.