Article 21 basically known as the “Right to life” is a fundamental right given to the people of India by the constitution, which guarantees people the right to live life with dignity.
Article 21 or the Right to Life, is available to any person, citizen or alien living within the territory of India, and is a part of the “Fundamental Rights” provided by the constitution of India.
The fundamental rights were included in the ‘First Draft Constitution’ (1948) and later successfully placed under Part – III (Articles 12 to 35) of the constitution of India.
These fundamental rights are justifiable in nature. These rights are fundamental in the sense that they are paramount and superior to all laws, executive orders, and judicial decisions.
Protection of life and personal liberty: According to Article 21 – “No person shall be deprived of his life and personal liberty except by a procedure established by law“.
It is mandated by this written article in the constitution that the government cannot take away this right from citizens under any circumstances.
These are the rights that apply not only to Indian citizens but also to citizens of other countries, residing in India, without any discrimination.
Another feature of this article is that the death penalty and arrest of a person can be done only through the process of law. Failure to do so can result in appropriate action being taken against the officer who is responsible for the same.
It works to protect us from the arbitrary policies of the government and laws that promote exploitation. Because of this feature, we are protected from many types of exploitation.
Article 21 was introduced into the Constitution by the 86th constitutional amendment Act 2002.
The act also introduced the 11th fundamental duty of citizens under article 51-A (k). Article 21 states that – the state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children in the age group of 6 to 14 years. Following this the Right to Education Act, of 2009 was enacted to implement the provisions of Article 21-A.
Those who are unable to get an education due to their weaker economic conditions or the condition of their home is not such good that they can go out and provide education may get benefits under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act.
Along with providing education, this article makes arrangements for food, clothes, and books, etc which helps the students to get an education and gives them opportunities to get equal education with other students.
It fulfills the objectives of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in the country and works to educate the children of the nation.
Article 21 gives us the following types of rights, which help us to live freely:
- Right to Education
- Right to live with dignity
- Right to Privacy
- Right to Livelihood
- Right to protection against environmental pollution
Highlights of Article 21 (Right to Life)
- This right was added as a fundamental right in the year 2002 under the 86th Constitutional Amendment.
- This right remains with us even in case of emergency.
- It protects us from the dictatorial policies and unfair laws of the government.
- This right helps us with unfair law procedures.
- It gives us the right to live life independently.
It is an important right, which we have the right to live and breathe.
However, there can be many such criminals who are anti-national and are involved in anti-national activities. According to this article, only a criminal can be arrested or sentenced to death.
Example: India’s dreaded terrorist Kasab. Years pass to punish the traitors of countries like these under the law.
Because this article also gives the right to life to such traitors and due to this they get more time to reach the punishment under the law.
What is Article 21? These are the rights we get through Fundamental Rights, which are given to us by the Constitution. With the help of this article, we ensure our protection from unfair types of laws and policies of the government.
These are the rights that stay with us even in emergency situations, which means, the government cannot violate these rights under any circumstances.