The Maneka Gandhi case (Maneka Gandhi Case-Right To Travel Abroad) is a very important judgment and valuable judgment and this case has been quite a landmark in the expansion of Article 21 and for the interpretation of Fundamental Rights. It is said that after this judgment, Articles 14, 19 & 21 further strengthened. And Article 21 got a new life and Extention which we call the due process of law.
In 1977-78 after an emergency, Maneka Gandhi’s image was being considered a bit tarnished and she had lost the 1977 election. At that time BJP was in power. Maneka Gandhi was running one Surya Magazine In which she published then some scandalized images of the Defence Minister’s Son sensational news. Due to this, the Janta Party was very angry with Maneka Gandhi. That is why all this incident happened.
Facts of the Maneka Gandhi Case-Right To Travel Abroad:
• Maneka Gandhi was issued a passport on 1/06/1976 under the Passport Act 1967. The regional passport officer, New Delhi, issued a letter dated 2/7/1977 addressed to Maneka Gandhi, in which she was asked to surrender her passport under section 10 ( 3 ) ( c ) of the Act in the public interest, within 7 days from the date of receipt of the letter. And her passport was impounded.
•Maneka Gandhi immediately wrote a letter to the Regional Passport officer, New Delhi seeking in return a copy of the statement of reasons for such order. However, the government of India, Ministry of External Affairs refused to produce any such reason in the interest of the general public.
• Later, a writ petition was filed by Maneka Gandhi under Article 32 of the Constitution in the Supreme Court challenging the order of the government of India as violating her fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
For What Petition Filed In Maneka Gandhi Case-Right To Travel Abroad
• ‘ Right to Travel Abroad ‘ is protected under the umbrella of Article 21.
• connection between the rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19 and 21
• Scope of “Procedure established by Law”
• Section 10 (3) (c) of the Passport Act, 1967 is violative of Fundamental Rights Principle of Natural Justice has been breached.
Issues of the Maneka Gandhi Case-Right To Travel Abroad :
• Whether the right to go Abroad is a part of the right to personal liberty under Article 21. ,
•Whether the Passport Act prescribes a ‘ procedure ‘ as required by Article 21 before depriving a person of 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 principle of natural justice.
JUDGEMENT in Maneka Gandhi Case-Right To Travel Abroad :
To further decide the Maneka Gandhi Case-Right to travel abroad, to check which Petition/application is right in this case Court to take the reference of one Judgment in which Article 21 was expanded. In the Sawant Singh Sawhney Vs. Assistant Passport Officer(1967) Court recognized/consider/held the Right to Travel as a fundamental Right. After taking the reference of this case court delivered the Judgement as follows.
• To the extent to which section 10 ( 3 ) ( c ) of the Passport Act, 1967 authorizes the passport authority to impound a passport ” in the interest of the general public “, it is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution since it confers vague and undefined power on the passport authority.
•Freedom of Speech and Expression has no geographical limitations and it carries the right of a citizen to gather information and to exchange thought with others not only in India but abroad also.
• the Supreme Court gave a new dimension to Art. 21 and held that the right to live is not merely a physical right but includes within its ambit the right to live with human dignity.
• Section 10 ( 3 ) ( c ) is violative of Article 21 of the Constitution since it does not prescribe procedure ‘ within the meaning of that article and the procedure practiced is worst.
• the Supreme Court observed that the procedure prescribed by law for depriving a person of his life and personal liberty must be ” right, just and fair ” and not ” arbitrary, fanciful and oppressive, ” otherwise it would be no procedure at all and the requirement of Article 21 would not be satisfied.
•A – 14, 19 & 21 have a unique relationship, any law has to test validity under all 3 articles. Therefore, a law depriving a person of ‘person liberty’ has not only stood the test of Article 19 and Article 10 of the Constitution. Court held that personal liberty under Article 21 is of the widest amplitude and it covers a variety of rights go to constitute the personal liberty of man.
EFFECTS / Impact of the Judgment of Menaka Gandhi Case- Right to travel Abroad.
• A new doctrine of post decisional theory was evolved. Maneka Gandhi’s case gave the term ‘personal liberty the widest possible interpretation. The Supreme Court expanded the scope of Article 21, which now includes, among other rights, the Right to Clean Air, the Right to Food, the Right to livelihood, and more.
The judgment made India a true welfare state, as enshrined in the preamble to the Constitution. It marked the beginning of an era of judicial activism.
• One of the significant interpretations, in this case, is the discovery of interconnections between the three Articles- Articles 14, 19, and 21. This law which prescribes a procedure for depriving a person of ” personal liberty ” has to fulfill the requirements of Articles 14 and 19 also.
• It was finally held by the court that the right to travel and go outside the country is included in the right to personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21. The Court ruled that the mere existence of an enabling law was not enough to restrain personal liberty. Such a law must also be ” just, fair and reasonable “.