Article 21 of Indian constitution provides the most important fundamental right ‘Right to Life and Personal Liberty’. According to this fundamental right, no person shall be deprived of his life and person freedom except for those in accordance with law. Any Indian resident (need not be an Indian citizen) is subjected to this right. Right to life is not just the freedom to live but the right to live with human dignity. A fair and quality environment to live and thrive is identified to be a fundamental right.
Article 21 read “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.”
Thus the article strongly forbids anyone entering ones personal space without proper authority of law. Indian courts do not have judicial review right over criminal laws. But different cases prevailed in India persuaded the extension of scope of this article. Two of them are:
- A K Gopalan case: The case was against State of Madras.
- Maneka Gandhi Case: The case was against Union of India. The idea of depriving of these rights must be fair and reasonable even when they are in accordance with authority was recognized by this case.
Article 22 states:
- A person must be arrested and detained only after giving the reason.
- He must be allowed to get an advocate of his choice.
- He must be produced before nearest magistrate within 24 hours.
Article 22(1) and Article 22(2) are called ‘Rights of an arrested person’. They safeguard above statements.
But Article 22(3) does not safeguard the interests of arrested people in few cases. Hence this statement is the ‘Preventive Detention Laws’. If a citizen of enemy country is arrested during war, he is deprived without following any of the Article 22 policies. Again if a person is potent enough to commit a crime, then he is not safeguarded under any of the above rules.
A person is said to be crime potent if there are chances for him to commit some crime in near future. This is called Preventive Detention.
According to Dr. B R Ambedkar, “….in the present circumstances of the country, it may be necessary for the executive to detain a person who is tempering either with the public order or with the defense services of the country. In such case, I don’t think that the exigency of the liberty of an individual shall be above the interests of the state”
This is in concern with the caste and communal violence prevailed in our country during constitution making of India. But the situation mentioned here is applicable to our country for any instant.
A person detained by Preventive Detention has some provisions:
- The case of preventive detentions must be authorized by law.
- No preventive detention must exceed beyond 3 months.
- Cases must be produced before advisory board of judges within 3 months.
In a country like India, the chances of communal riots and violence are more due to the diversity it possess. Hence adequate rules like preventive detention are vital. Being the foundation of all laws, these laws play an important role to safeguard the interest of common people from procedures of law. Any person can claim these laws to protect the personal liberty and dignify their lives.