Maneka Gandhi v. union of India
September 23, 2019
This case (Maneka Gandhi v. union of India) is about a women who is journalist who was about to go to other country for some official work. So, she applied for the passport under Indian passport act 1967 and her passport was issued on 1 June 1976. on the 4th of July 1977 , maneka Gandhi received a letter from the regional passport officer intimating to her that it was decided by the government of India to impound her passport under sec.10(3)(c)of the act “in public interest”. The petitioner was required to surrender her passport within 7 days from the receipt of that latter. Maneka Gandhi immediately addressed a letter to the regional passport officer requesting a copy of a statement about the reason for making the order as provided in sec.10(5). A reply was sent by the government of India, ministry of external affairs on 6th july 1977 stating that the government decided “in the interest of general public” not to furnish her a copy of statement of reasons for the making of the order.
Maneka Gandhi now filled a writ petition under article 32 of the constitution of India challenging action of government in impounding her passport and declining to give reasons for doing so. She challenges sec 10(3)(c) unconstitutional because it’s a violation of fundamental right under art. 14,19(1).
The court said that section 10(3)(c) of passport act, 1967 is void because it violates article 14 of Indian constitution because it confers vague and undefined power to the passport authority. it is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution since it doesn’t provide for an opportunity for the aggrieved party to be heard. It was also held violative of Article 21 since it does not affirm to the word “procedure” as mentioned in the clause, and the present procedure performed was the worst possible one. The Court, however, refrained from passing any formal answer on the matter, and ruled that the passport would remain with the authorities till they deem fit.
The case is considered a landmark case in that it gave a new and highly varied interpretation to the meaning of ‘life and personal liberty’ under Article 21 of the Constitution. Also, it expanded the horizons of freedom of speech and expression to the effect that the right is no longer restricted by the territorial boundaries of the country. In fact, it extends to almost the entire world. Thus the case saw a high degree of judicial activism, and ushered in a new era of expanding horizons of fundamental rights in general, and Article 21 in particular. This case is called as golden triangle case where art 14, 19 and 21 were challenged together and it was appreciated by the apex court.
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