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 nder 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. The Supreme Court in this case reiterated the proposition that the fundamental rights under the constitution of India are not mutually exclusive but are interrelated. According to Justice K. lyer, ‘a fundamental right is not an island in itself.
The expression “personal liberty’ in Article 21 was interpreted broadly to engulf a variety of rights within itself. The court further observed that the fundamental rights should be interpreted in such a manner so as to expand its reach and ambit rather than to concentrate its meaning and content by Judicial construction.
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Article 21 provides that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except in accordance with procedure established by law but that does not mean that a mere semblance of procedure rovided by law will satisfy the Article , the procedure should be Just , fair and reasonable.
The principles of natural Justice are implicit in Article 21 and hence the statutory law must not condemn anyone unheard. A reasonable opportunity of defense or hearing should be given to the person before affecting him, and in the absence of which the law will be an arbitrary one. One of the significant interpretation in this case is the discovery of inter connections between Article 14, 19 and 21 . Thus a law which prescribes a procedure for depriving a person of “personal as o ul II t t tl the requirements otA 14 and 19 also.
Moreover the ‘procedure established by law’ as required under Article 21 must satisfy the test of reasonableness in order to conform with Article 14. Justice Krishna lyer in this case observed that, “the spirit of man is at the root of Article 21”, “personal liberty makes for the worth of the human person” and “travel makes liberty worthwhile”. The court finally held that the right to travel and go outside the country is included in the right to personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 .
Section 10(3) (c) of the Passport Act is not violative of Article 21 as it is implied in the provision that the principles of natural justice would be applicable in the exercise of the power of impounding a passport . The defect of the order was removed and the order was passed in accordance with procedure established by law. The hon’ble Supreme Court in this case laid down a number of other propositions which made the right to life’ or ‘personal liberty more meaningful. Maneka Gandhi case has a great significance in the development of Constitutional law of India.