January 23, 2022

Case Brief: Maneka Gandhi v Union of India

Case Name: Maneka Gandhi v Union of India

Court: Supreme Court of India

Citation – 1978 AIR 597, 1978 SCR (2) 621, 1978 AIR 597, 1978 SCR (2) 621

Coram: Hameedullah Beg (CJI), Y.V.Chandrachud, P.N Bhagwati, V.R. Krishna Iyer, N.L.Untwalia, S.M. Fazal Ali& P.S.Kailasam

Theme: Transformation of the judicial view on Article 21 of the Constitution of India so as to imply many more Fundamental Rights from Article 21.

Subject: Constitutional law

Judgement: India

Background of Maneka Gandhi v Union of India

The Supreme Court in Satwant Singh[1] held that option to travel abroad is well inside the ambit of Article 21. In this way, to battle the above set down law the Parliament instituted Passports Act 1967. Identification Act, 1967 enables the specialists to appropriate the visa of certain individual if such activity is essential in light of a legitimate concern for sway and respectability of India, the security of India, cordial relations of India with any remote nation, or general public.[2]

The reasons of such impoundment are likewise to be conveyed the influenced party anyway in light of a legitimate concern for the overall population these reasons can be withheld.[3] In the quick case the experts on July fourth 1977 gave a notification of impoundment of the identification of Petitioner who was a referred to columnist refering to reasons as in light of a legitimate concern for overall population. When the applicant got the notification of such seize she returned to the specialists asking for explicit point by point explanations behind what valid reason her visa will be appropriated.

The specialists be that as it may, addressed that the reasons are not to be determined in light of a legitimate concern for the overall population. In this way, the candidate moved toward Supreme Court u/a 32 for the requirement of Fundamental Right referenced u/a 14 against the subjective activity of the specialists.

The appeal was additionally revised and requirement of Article 21 for example Insurance of Life and Personal Liberty, Article 19(1)(a) for example Right to the right to speak freely of discourse and Article 19(1)(g) for example Right to opportunity of Movement.

Among the significant reasons fought for the recording of such request, the applicant battled that the decried request is void as it removed the solicitor’s entitlement to be given a reasonable hearing to introduce her guard.

This case legitimately brought into question the legitimateness and legitimacy of A.K. Gopalan v. Province of Madras[4]. All things considered it was contended by the candidate that whether the legitimacy of any law will be chosen by the way that it is a system built up by law or the law alongside being set up by law will likewise adjust to standards of normal equity. The fundamental discussion was around the extent of “strategy built up by law” on the point that can such method be self-assertive or preposterous or should it generally be simply, sensible and reasonable. The greater part seat anyway dismissing all the contentions of the applicant held that the word law u/a 21 doesn’t really be in similarity with the standards of characteristic equity.

Yet, it was Justice Fazal Ali’s supposition for the situation that made ready for a liberal methodology of the translation of Art. 21. Equity Fazal Ali disagreed with the dominant part by holding that the privilege to life u/a 21 constitutes Principles of Natural Justice and the courts should watch that any method set up by law don’t endure with the issue of nonsensicalness and mediation. The soul of Justice Fazal Ali’s contention was that the strategy ought to be simply, reasonable and sensible.

The court in Maneka Gandhi received the disagreeing perspective on Justice Fazal Ali in A.K. Gopalan v. Territory of Madras. Along these lines, the court held that the while the technique built up by law ought to be sensible, just and reasonable it will be liberated from any preposterousness and assertion.

Summary of Facts

The petitioner (Maneka Gandhi) was a writer whose visa was given on June 1, 1976, under the Passport Act, 1967. Later on July second, 1977, the Regional Passport Officer, New Delhi, had requested the solicitor to give up her identification by a letter posted. On being approached about the purposes behind her visa seizure, The Ministry of External Affairs declined to create any reasons “in light of a legitimate concern for the overall population.” In this manner, the petitioner had documented a writ request under Article 32 of the Constitution of India expressing the seize of her visa as the infringement of her key rights; explicitly Article 14 (Right to Equality), Article 19 (Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression) and Article 21 (Right to Life and Liberty) ensured by the Constitution of India.

The respondent falsified expressing that the solicitor was required to be available regarding the procedures which was going on, before a Commission of Inquiry.

Issues in Maneka Gandhi v Union of India

1.Is there any nexus between the arrangements referenced under Articles 14, 19 &21.

2.Extent of the word “Procedure Established by Law.”

3.Regardless of whether option to travel abroad lives in Article 21.

4.Regardless of whether an authoritative law that removes Right to life is sensible.

Petitioner’s Arguments

1. By the regulatory request of impoundment of the visa on fourth July, 1977 the respondent has encroached Petitioner’s Fundamental Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression, Right to travel abroad, Right to life and individual freedom and Right to opportunity of development.

2. The arrangements of Article 14, 19 and 21 are to be perused in synchronization and they are not fundamentally unrelated. These arrangements in itself however not unequivocally comprises in itself standards of regular equity. A joined perusing of the three arrangements will offer impact to the soul of the constitution and constitution producers.

3. Despite the fact that India has not received American “fair treatment of law” in its constitution, the system set up by law must be sensible, reasonable and simply liberated from any kind of assertion.

4. Area 10(3)(c) is violative of Article 21 of the constitution as in it abuses the privilege to life and individual freedom ensured under the said sacred arrangement. By the excellence of this arrangement the candidate was controlled from voyaging abroad. This limit on the solicitor was illegal since it was commonly acknowledged that option to travel abroad was inside the privilege to life and individual freedom u/a 21.

5. Audi Altrem Partem e. chance to be heard is all around perceived as a basic element of standards of common equity. These standards of common equity locate no unequivocal spot in any established arrangements. Be that as it may, the soul of Fundamental Rights comprises in itself the pith of these standards. Further, Article 32 gives a chance to the influenced gatherings to straightforwardly move toward Apex Court in the event that there is any infringement of Part III arrangements. This arrangement of Article 32 was instituted as Heart and Soul of the Constitution is identical to Audi Altrem Partem. Along these lines, it can’t be said that Principle of Natural Justice are isolated and restrictive to the Constitution.

Respondent’s Arguments

1. The respondent battled under the steady gaze of the court that the visa was appropriated in light of the fact that the solicitor was required to show up before some advisory group’s for enquiry. The Attorney General additionally guaranteed the court to get rid of the considerable number of appearances in the said board of trustees’ at the earliest opportunity.

2. The respondent repeating the standard set down in Gopalan battled that the word law u/a 21 can’t be fathomed in the light central guidelines of common equity.

3. The respondent further battled that the standards of characteristic equity are obscure and brimming with ambiguities. Along these lines, the constitution ought not peruse such dubious and equivocal arrangements as a piece of it.

4. The ambit of Article 21 is extremely wide and it for the most part contains the arrangements of Articles 14 and 19. Nonetheless, any law must be named illegal to Article 21 when it legitimately encroaches Article 14 and 19.

5. Article 21 in its language contains “method set up by law” and such technique need not breeze through the assessment of sensibility. Further the said arrangement need not really be in similarity with the Articles 14 and 19.

6. The constitution producers while drafting this constitution had bantered finally on American “fair treatment of law” and British “methodology built up by law”. The obvious nonappearance of fair treatment of law from the Constitutional arrangements mirrors the psyche of composers of this constitution. The brain and soul of the designers must be ensured and regarded.


This milestone judgment went ahead 25th January 1978 and changed the scene of the Constitution of India. This judgment extended the extent of Article 21 exponentially and this judgment genuinely and truly made India a government assistance state as guaranteed in the Preamble. The seven appointed authority seat gave a consistent choice with the exception of certain adjudicators agreeing on certain focuses.

There were seven separate assessments in which the larger part conclusion was composed by Justice Bhagwati for himself, Untwalia& Fazal Ali jj. while Chandrachud, Iyer& Beg (CJ) composed separate yet agreeing sentiments.

The significant discoveries of the court were as per the following:

1. The court while conveying this milestone judgment changed the scene of the Constitution by holding that however the expression utilized in Article 21 is “strategy set up by law” rather than “fair treatment of law” nonetheless, the technique must be liberated from discretion and madness.

2. Despite the fact that the Constitution creators must be regarded, yet they never expected to plant such a self – damaging bomb in the heart if the Constitution. They were never of the psyche that the strategy need not really be sensible, just and reasonable. They drafted this Constitution for the insurance of the “individuals of India” and such translation of Article 21 will be counter-beneficial to the assurance offered by the Constitution.

3. The court overruled Gopalan by expressing that there is an exceptional connection between the arrangements of Article 14, 19 and 21 and each law must breeze through the assessments of the said arrangements. Prior in Gopalan the lion’s share held that these arrangements in itself are fundamentally unrelated. Consequently, to address its previous mix-up the court held that these arrangements are not totally unrelated and subject to one another.

4. The court held that the extent of “individual freedom” isn’t be interpreted in tight and stricter sense. The court said that individual freedom must be comprehended in the more extensive and liberal sense. Hence, Article 21 was given an extensive translation. The court committed the future courts to grow the skylines of Article 21 to cover all the Fundamental Rights and abstain from interpreting it in smaller sense.

5. The option to travel abroad as held in Satwant Singh is inside the extent of ensures referenced under Article 21.

6. Segment 10(3)(c) of Passport Act 1967 isn’t violative of neither Article 21 nor Article 19(1)(a) or 19 (1)(g). The court additionally held that the said 1967 arrangement likewise not in logical inconsistency of Article 14. Since the said arrangement accommodates a chance to be heard. The court dismissed the conflict of solicitor that the expression “in light of a legitimate concern for the overall population” isn’t obscure.

7. The court held that Section 10(3)(c) and 10(5) is a managerial request subsequently, open to challenge on the grounds of mala fide, outlandish, refusal of characteristic equity and ultra vires.

8. The court additionally proposed government to customarily give reasons for each situation and should once in a while utilize the right of Section 10(5) of the 1967 demonstration.

9. The rights talked about under 19(1)(a) and 19(1)(g) are not bound to the regional furthest reaches of India.

Critical Analysis of Maneka Gandhi v Union of India

The court in praiseworthy manner overruled the backward choice of Gopalan. The court by conveying this judgment has served the average citizens. The court collectively came cruelly upon the conflict of the respondent when it battled that the technique set up by law need not really be simply, reasonable and sensible. The respondent’s contention that the law is legitimate as long as it isn’t canceled by the lawmaking body. The court appropriately dismissed this defective contention of the respondent and gave the Right to Life and Personal Liberty another far reaching and liberal translation.

The court held that however the expression utilized in Article 21 is “strategy set up by law” rather than “fair treatment of law” in any case, the method must be liberated from intervention and unreasonableness. The court likewise figured out how to regard and secure the sacredness of the Constitution creators by this dark stain that the assembly was attempting to depict. The strategy set up by law must fulfill certain essentials in the feeling of being sensible and just and it can’t be self-assertive denying the residents the Fundamental rights.

The court additionally for the last time rested the discussion by holding that every Fundamental Rights are not unmistakable from one another though they are commonly subject to one another. Right now Iyer has all around opined that no Article in the Constitution is an island in itself. Bhagwati j. held that the procedural law needs to meet the prerequisites of Articles 14 and 19 to be a substantial law under Article 21.

Equity Iyer with regards to voyaging abroad held that “Travel makes freedom advantageous” along these lines no individual can be denied of his entitlement to travel abroad.

The significance of Maneka Gandhi is boundless and the manner in which the pinnacle court got the chance to grow the skylines of Article 21 is exemplary. The advantages that gathered to Indian residents can be very surely known by the repercussions of Maneka Gandhi when courts start to embed each conceivable financial and social right in the extent of Article 21. The court in a catena of cases applying the proportion of this judgment have held Right to clean Air[5], Right to Clean Water[6], Right to opportunity from Noise Pollution[7], Speedy Trial[8], Legal Aid[9], Right to Livelihood[10], Right to Food[11], Right to Medical Care[12], Right to Clean Environment[13]etc., as a piece of Right to Life and Personal freedom referenced u/a 21.

In all these above cases it is this judgment which has prepared for the courts to decipher Article 21 of every a way which is helpful for the average folks. The legal executive has through this judgment introduced another weapon of satisfying the target set out in the Preamble in its arms stockpile.


The Maneka Gandhi judgment was a decent judgment and is perhaps the best judgment that Indian Supreme Court has ever given. The judgment’s most noteworthy element was the interlinking it built up between the arrangements of Article 14, 19 and 21. By the goodness of this connection the court made these arrangements indistinguishable and a solitary element. Presently any technique to be legitimate needs to meet all the prerequisites referenced under Article 14, 19 and 21. Subsequently, it extended the extent of individual freedom exponentially and secured the protected and crucial right to life all things considered.

The judgment while spared the residents from verifiable activities of Executive additionally spared the holiness of Parliamentary law when it didn’t strike down Section 10(3)(c) and 10(5) of 1967 Act. The court additionally reminded the specialists to just once in a while utilize the privilege of segment 10(5) in order to fulfill that their activities were balanced and very much idea. The court held that Section 10(3)(c) and 10(5) is a managerial request in this way, open to challenge on the grounds of mala fide, outlandish, refusal of normal equity and ultra vires.

The judgment’s significance can be seen today additionally in light of the fact that the manner by which the seat translated Article 21 and extended its points of view has given path for the settling of issues left unsolved by the Parliament. It’s very clear that this judgment has assumed a basic job in understanding Right to clean Air, Right to Clean Water, Right to opportunity from Noise Pollution, Speedy Trial, Standard Education, Fair Trial, Legal Aid, Right to Livelihood, Right to Food, Right to Medical Care, Right to Clean Environment and so forth., as a piece of Right to Life and Personal freedom referenced u/a 21.

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Contributed By: Sayra Kakkar

Law Library LawBhoomi

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