To Live Life Fully and With Dignity- Right to Life

The Right to Life and Personal Liberty is assured by the Indian Constitution under Article 21. This is veritably important and wide content and has several counteraccusations for the citizens of India. According to Article 21:

“Protection of Life and Personal Liberty: No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.”

Composition 21 provides two rights

  1. Right to life
  2. Right to personal liberty

The fundamental right handed by Article 21 is one of the most important rights that the Constitution guarantees. Its described as ‘heart of fundamental rights’ by the supreme court of India.

This right is provided against the state which includes government as well as local body, government departments etcetera. Right to life is not only about living or surviving it also includes living life with dignity and of meaning. This right is included in the part 3 of the Indian constitution.

Concept of Right to Life

All the rights given in fundamental rights add quality to life. That’s why this article is important because if there is a right to life then only the other rights would be needed and have its value.

‘Life ’ in Article 21 of the Constitution isn’t simply the physical act of breathing. It has a important wider, including, including the right to live with dignity, health etcetera. The right to life is very important for our existence without this right we can not live as human beings it includes many features of life which makes a persons life worth living. The core concept of the right to life is that the necessities and requirement of a person should be fulfilled.


AK Gopalan Case (1950): Until the 1950s, Article 21 had a bit of a narrow scope. In this case, the SC held that the expression ‘procedure established by law’, the Constitution has embodied the British concept of personal liberty rather than the American ‘due process.

Maneka Gandhi vs. Union of India Case (1978): This case overturned the Gopalan case judgement. Here, the SC said that Articles 19 and 21 are not watertight compartments. The idea of personal liberty in Article 21 has a wide scope including many rights, some of which are embodied under Article 19, thus giving them ‘additional protection’. The court also held that a law that comes under Article 21 must satisfy the requirements under Article 19 as well. That means any procedure under law for the deprivation of life or liberty of a person must not be unfair, unreasonable or arbitrary.1

Right to life is not an absolute right. This right can be taken away by the procedure of law. There was shift in this ideology after the Maneka Gandhi case which was very famous where the court held that the right can only be taken away if it is just and fair as per the due process of law it can not be taken arbitrary. Even in the case national emergency article 20 and 21 are still functional. It imply that the right to life cannot be taken away in the case of emergency as well.

Article 21A

Education is important factor in one’s life. It liberates an individual and empowers him. Education is very important for a nation’s development as well.

Right to education was not the part of fundamental rights initially. But it was present in article 45 of directive principles of state policy as DPSP id not enforceable the right to education was also not enforceable at that time. Article 21A was added in part 3 of Indian constitution in 2002 by 86th amendment act.

This article provides every child right to education to children between the age group of six to fourteen years. It has been said that right to education is included in right to life as well, so it was included in this article which gives free and compulsory education to children under 6 to 14 years of age.


The right to life is one of the most significant mortal rights that guard not only one’s life and liberty but also other essential of life like livelihood, quality, health, etc. that make living worthwhile. It isn’t absolute and can be elided by the procedure established by law. still, it has been upheld by the courts that not only the procedure followed should be valid, but it should also be reasonable and established by a valid and just law. In India, Article 21 guarantees the right to life and particular quality and has been given a wide interpretation by our bar. It’s also available in other countries and under international bills. Also, it has come into contestation several times on issues like capital discipline and euthanasia. nonetheless, the right to life has always triumphed in the debate.

Written By- Jyotsana Sigar

Lovely Professional University


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