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Article 21 is the protection of life and personal liberty No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law. The Article prohibits the deprivation of the above rights except according to a procedure established by law. The judicial intervention has ensured that the scope of Article 21 is not narrow and restricted. It has been widening by several landmark judgements. A few important cases concerned with Article 21: 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 the law for the deprivation of life or liberty of a person must not be unfair, unreasonable or arbitrary. Francis Coralie Mullin vs. Union Territory of Delhi (1981): In this case, the court held that any procedure for the deprivation of life or liberty of a person must be reasonable, fair and just and not arbitrary, whimsical or fanciful. Olga Tellis vs. Bombay Municipal Corporation (1985): This case reiterated the stand taken earlier that any procedure that would deprive a person’s fundamental rights should conform to the norms of fair play and justice. Unni Krishnan vs. State of Andhra Pradesh (1993): In this case, the SC upheld the expanded interpretation of the right to life. The Court gave a list of rights that Article 21 covers based on earlier judgements. Some of them are: Right to privacy Right to go abroad Right to shelter Right against solitary confinement Right to social justice and economic empowerment Right against handcuffing Right against custodial death Right against delayed execution Doctors’ assistance Right against public hanging Protection of cultural heritage Right to pollution-free water and air Right of every child to a full development Right to health and medical aid Right to education Protection of under-trials

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