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A.K. Gopalan vs State of Madras (1950)

A.K. Gopalan vs State of Madras (1950)

About AK Gopalan

  • K. Gopalan was a communist leader who was detained in the Madras Jail under Preventive Detention Act,1950 and challenged his detention by stating that his civil liberty was being hampered as he had the right to equality of law.  A.K. Gopalan vs State of Madras (1950)
  • A K Gopalan v State of Madras was a significant decision because it represented the first case where the Supreme Court meaningfully examined and interpreted key fundamental rights enlisted in the constitution including article 19 and 21.

What is Article 21? | A.K. Gopalan vs State of Madras (1950)

  • Article 21 reads: No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty “except according to a procedure established by law”
  • The fundamental right provided by Article 21 is one of the most important rights that the Constitution guarantees.
  • The Supreme Court of India has described this right as the ‘heart of fundamental rights’.  A.K. Gopalan vs State of Madras (1950)
  • The right specifically mentions that no person shall be deprived of life and liberty except as per the procedure established by law. This implies that this right has been provided against the State only. State here includes not just the government, but also, government departments, local bodies, the Legislatures, etc.
  • Any private individual encroaching on these rights of another individual does not amount to a violation of Article 21. The remedy for the victim, in this case, would be under Article 226 or under general law.  A.K. Gopalan vs State of Madras (1950)
  • The right to life is not just about the right to survive. It also entails being able to live a complete life of dignity and meaning.      A.K. Gopalan vs State of Madras (1950)
  • The chief goal of Article 21 is that when the right to life or liberty of a person is taken away by the State, it should only be according to the prescribed procedure of law.

Issues of the case | A.K. Gopalan vs State of Madras (1950)

This case involved the following issues for determination of the case. The issues were as  follows:

  • Whether section 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 are ultra-virus and violates the Art. 13, 19 and 21.  A.K. Gopalan vs State of Madras (1950)
  • Whether the article 19 and 21 are interrelated to each other in protection of life and
  • Whether the detention of the petitioner under the Preventive Detention Act, 1950 is
  • Whether article 22 is the complete code in itself while dealing with the preventive detention cases.    A.K. Gopalan vs State of Madras (1950)

Judgement | A.K. Gopalan vs State of Madras (1950)

The judgement in this case is the most important verdicts of the Supreme Court. The court dealt with all the issues rationally and the judgement can be briefed as follows:

  • Court applied the Doctrine of severability and declared section 14 void as the court finds it unconstitutional and violative of Fundamental Rights.
  • Court declared section 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13 as intra-vires the constitutions hence valid.          A.K. Gopalan vs State of Madras (1950)
  • Court asserted the principle of procedure established by law and declared the application of due process clause and international human rights charters inapplicable in Indian premises.

Court found that the detention was legal and hence writ was disposed of accordingly.

A.K. Gopalan vs State of Madras (1950)

 

ALSO READ : https://www.brainyias.com/mc-mehta-and-union-of-india-1986/

 

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