Maneka Gandhi vs Union of India, 1978 AIR 597, 1978 SCR (2) 621

Author-Rohit Raj
College-Symbiosis Law School, Pune
  • Case: Maneka Gandhi vs Union of India
  • Court: In the Supreme Court of India
  • Citation and case number: 1978 AIR 597, 1978 SCR (2) 621
  • Petitioner: Maneka Gandhi
  • Respondent: Union of India
  • Bench: Hameedullah Beg (CJI), Y.V.Chandrachud, P.N Bhagwati, V.R. Krishna Iyer, N.L.Untwalia, S.M. Fazal Ali& P.S.Kailasam

Keywords: Maneka Gandhi vs Union of India, Maneka Gandhi, Maneka Gandhi vs Union of India case summary, Maneka Gandhi vs Union of India judgement, Art 21 of Indian Constitution


The Supreme Court in the landmark case of Satwant Singh held the very option to travel abroad is well inside the very ambit of Art 21 of Indian Constitution. Hence, to battle the above set-down law the Parliament instituted Passports Act 1967. Identification Act, 1967 engages the specialists to seize the visa of certain individuals if such activity is important in light of a legitimate concern for power and uprightness of India, the security of India, well-disposed relations of India with any far-off nation, or the general public. The reasons of such impoundment are likewise to be imparted the influenced party anyway in light of a legitimate concern for the overall population these reasons can be withheld.

In the prompt case of Maneka Gandhi vs Union of India, the experts on July fourth, 1977 gave a notification of impoundment of the visa of Petitioner who was referred to the writer referring to unique reasons which were in light of real concern for the overall population. When the candidate got the notification of such appropriate she returned to the specialists asking for explicitly itemized purposes behind what good reason her identification will be seized. The specialists, in any case, addressed that the reasons are not to be indicated 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 self-assertive activity of the specialists. The request was additionally corrected and implemented of Art 21 of Indian Constitution 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 the opportunity of Movement.

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

This case legitimately brought into question the lawfulness and legitimacy of A.K. Gopalan v. Territory of Madras. 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 strategy built up by law or the law alongside being set up by law will likewise adjust to standards of common equity. The principle banter was around the extent of “system built up by law” on the point that can such technique be discretionary or nonsensical or should it generally be simple, sensible, and reasonable.

The lion’s share seat anyway dismissing all the contentions of the solicitor held that the word law u/a 21 doesn’t really be in similarity with the standards of characteristic equity. In this case, it was the then Justice Fazal Ali’s rigid conclusion for the very situation that was prepared for a more liberal type of methodology of the translation of Art 21 of Indian Constitution.

Equity Fazal Ali disagreed with the greater part by holding that the privilege to life u/a 21 comprises Principles of Natural Justice and the courts should watch that any technique set up by law doesn’t endure with the issue of nonsensicalness and mediation. The heart and soul of Justice Fazal Ali’s intense contention were that the system merely ought to be fairly simple, reasonable, and sensible.

The court in Maneka Gandhi vs Union of India embraced the contradicting perspective on Justice Fazal Ali in A.K. Gopalan v. Province of Madras. In order to evaluate, the courts merely held that the scrumptious techniques which were built up by law were ought to be sensible, fairly just, and uniquely reasonable as it will be soon liberated from any sort of outlandishness and mere discretion.


The main choice is given to decipher the extension and significance of life and individual freedom under article 21 of Indian constitution was:

A.K.Gopalan VS. State of Madras.

The apex court deciphered that the words “procedure set up by law” in Article 21 are to be given wide and liquid importance of the articulation “fair treatment of law” as given under the United States constitution and yet it alludes to just state made sculptures of laws. In the event that any legal law endorsed a method for denying an individual of his privileges or individual freedom, it should meet the necessities of Art 21 of Indian Constitution.

Be that as it may, following twenty years this was over-governed on account of R.C.Cooper VS. Association Of India, after this where a progression of choices by the apex court including that of Maneka Gandhi vs Union of India for this situation it was held that any law that denies the life and freedom must be simple and reasonable.

Facts of the case:

The petitioner (Maneka Gandhi) was a columnist whose visa was given on June 1, 1976, under the Passport Act, 1967. Later on, July 2nd, 1977, the Regional Passport Officer, New Delhi, had requested the applicant to give up her visa by a letter posted.

On being approached about the explanations behind her identification seizure, The Ministry of External Affairs declined to create any reasons “in light of a legitimate concern for the overall population.”

Accordingly, the candidate 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 forged expressing that the candidate was needed to be available regarding the procedures which were going on, before a Commission of Inquiry.


  • Is there any nexus between the arrangements referenced under Articles 14, 19 & 21?  
  • The extent of “Methodology Established by Law.”
  • Regardless of whether any option to travel outside does lives in Article 21.
  • Regardless of whether the scope of authoritative law that is able to remove the Right to life, is sensible or not.


Petitioner’s Argument

By the legit authoritative request of the impoundment of the required visa on the fourth of July, 1977 the respondent had encroached upon the Petitioner’s Fundamental Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression, right to travel abroad, Right to life, and the individual freedom and Right to the opportunity of development.

The arrangements of Article 14, 19, and 21 are to be perused in synchronization and they are not totally unrelated. These arrangements in itself however not unequivocally establish in itself standards of characteristic equity. A joined perusing of the three arrangements will offer an impact to the soul of the constitution and constitution creators.

Despite the fact that India has not received American “fair treatment of law” in its constitution, the technique built up by law must be sensible, reasonable, and simply liberated from such an assertion.

Area 10(3)(c) is violative of Art 21 of Indian Constitution as it abuses the privilege to life and individual freedom ensured under the said established arrangement. By the uprightness of this arrangement, the applicant was limited from voyaging abroad. This control on the solicitor was illegal since it was commonly acknowledged that the option to travel abroad was inside the privilege of life and individual freedom u/a 21.

Audi Altrem Partem e. chance to be heard is generally perceived as a fundamental element of standards of regular equity. These standards of normal equity locate no express spot in any protected arrangements. In whatever case, the soul of the Fundamental Rights only comprises in itself the pith of these very standards. Further, Article 32 gives a chance to the influenced gatherings to legitimately move toward Apex Court in the event that there is any infringement of Part III arrangements. This arrangement of Article 32 was begotten as Heart and Soul of the Constitution is comparable to Audi Altrem Partem. Subsequently, it can’t be said that the Principle of Natural Justice is discrete and selective to the Constitution.

Respondent’s Argument

The respondent battled under the watchful eye of the court that the identification was seized on the grounds that the solicitor was needed to show up before some board of trustees for inquiry. The Attorney General additionally guaranteed the court to get rid of the apparent multitude of appearances in the said panel as quickly as time permits.

The respondent emphasizing the guideline set down in Gopalan fought that the word law u/a 21 can’t be fathomed in the light of major standards of normal equity.

The respondent further fought that the standards of common equity are ambiguous and brimming with ambiguities. Along these lines, the constitution ought not to peruse such unclear and questionable arrangements as a piece of it.

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

Article 21 in its language contains “method built up by law” and such methodology need not finish the assessment of sensibility. Further the said and set arrangement which did not need and was not really to be in any congruity with Articles 14 and 19.

The constitution shifters while drafting this level of the constitution had also bantered finally on the American “fair treatment of law” and British “strategy which was built up by that law”. The prominent nonappearance of fair treatment of law from the Constitutional arrangements mirrors the brain of designers of this constitution. The brain and soul of the composers must be ensured and regarded.


Article 21

No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law, nor shall any person be denied equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. [1]

Article 14

The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India

Article 19

  • All citizens shall have the right
  • to freedom of speech and expression;
  • to assemble peaceably and without arms;
  • to form associations or unions;
  • to move freely throughout the territory of India;
  • to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India; and
  • omitted
  • to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business

Maneka Gandhi vs Union of India Judgement:

The court said that section 10(3)(c) of the passport act, 1967 is void since it disregards article 14 of Indian constitution and also since it presents the ambiguous and vague capacity to the identification authority. It is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution since it doesn’t accommodate an open door for the bothered party to be heard. It was additionally held violative of Article 21 since it doesn’t avow to “technique” as referenced in the statement, and the current system performed was the absolute worst one. The Court, nonetheless, avoided passing any proper answer on the issue and decided that the identification would stay with the specialists till they aptly fit. [2]

Critical Analysis:

The court in an exemplary manner overruled the backward choice of Gopalan. The court by conveying this judgment has served the ordinary citizens. The court consistently came cruelly upon the dispute of the respondent when it battled that the technique built up by law need not really be simple, reasonable, and sensible. The respondent’s contention that the law is substantial as long as it isn’t canceled by the law-making body. The court appropriately dismissed this broken contention of the respondent and gave the Right to Life and Personal Liberty another broad and liberal understanding.

The court held that however the expression utilized in Article 21 is “methodology built up by law” rather than “fair treatment of law” notwithstanding, the system must be liberated from intervention and madness. The court likewise figured out how to regard and ensure the holiness of the Constitution producers by this dark stain that the governing body was attempting to depict. The technique built up by law must fulfill certain necessities in the feeling of being sensible and just and it can’t be discretionary denying the residents the Fundamental rights.

The court additionally unequivocally refreshed the discussion by holding that every Fundamental Right is not particular from one another though they are commonly reliant on one another. [3]

In such a way, Justice Iyer has all-around accepted that no Article in the Constitution is an island in itself. Bhagwati j. held that the procedural law needs to meet the requirements of Articles 14 and 19 to be a significant law under Article 21. Value Iyer with respect to journeying abroad held that “Travel makes opportunity advantageous” thusly no individual can be denied of his qualification to travel abroad. The centrality of Maneka Gandhi vs Union of India is vast and the way in which the culmination court grabbed the opportunity to expand the horizons of Article 21 is excellent.

The favourable circumstances that assembled to Indian inhabitants can be definitely known by the repercussions of Maneka Gandhi vs Union of India when courts begin to implant each possible monetary and social right in the degree of Article 21. The court in a catena of cases applying the extent of this judgment has held Right to Clean Air, Right to Clean Water, right to circumstance from Noise Pollution, Speedy Trial, Legal Aid, Right to Livelihood, Right to Food, Right to Medical Care, Right to Clean Environment, etc., as some segment of Right to Life and Personal opportunity referred to u/a 21.

In all these above cases, it is this judgment that has prepared for the courts to unravel Article 21 of each in a way that is worthwhile for the regular residents. The lawful leader has through this judgment presented another weapon of fulfilling the objective set out in the Preamble in its arms reserve.


The judgment in Maneka Gandhi vs Union of India was a fair judgment and is probably the best judgment that the Indian Supreme Court has ever given. The judgment’s most noteworthy component was the interlinking it built up between the arrangements of Article 14, 19, and 21. By the excellence of this connection, the court made these arrangements indistinguishable and a solitary substance. Presently any technique to be substantial needs to meet all the necessities referenced under Article 14, 19, and 21. Thusly, it extended the extent of individual freedom exponentially and ensured the protected and major right to life generally.

The judgment while spared the residents from certain activities of the Executive likewise spared the sacredness of Parliamentary law when it didn’t strike down Section 10(3)(c) and 10(5) of the 1967 Act. The court additionally reminded the specialists to just once in a while utilize the right of segment 10(5) to fulfill that their activities were reasonable and very much idea. The court held that Section 10(3)(c) and 10(5) is an authoritative request accordingly, open to challenge on the grounds of mala fide, irrational, disavowal of common equity, and ultra vires.

The judgment’s significance can be seen today likewise on the grounds that the manner by which the seat understood Article 21 and extended its points of view has given route for the settlement of grave issues that were left unsolved by our Parliament. It’s very obvious that this judgment has assumed a basic function in interpreting 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 on., as some portion of Right to Life and Personal freedom referenced u/a 21.


[1] ThemeMascot, Maneka Gandhi Vs Union of India – Lloyd Law College, (last visited Oct 3, 2020).

[2] Maneka Gandhi vs Union of India (1978), Indian Legal Solution (2020), (last visited Oct 3, 2020).

[3] Maneka Gandhi vs Union Of India (1978), LawLex.Org (2020), (last visited Oct 3, 2020).

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