Judicial Assertion of Due Process of Law in India
Volume III, Issue III, 2020
The Judiciary has aided the evolution of the ‘Due Process of Law’ in India. The Judiciary has contributed its consequential role in the establishment of the supremacy of the Article 21 of the Constitution of India, and interpreted ‘procedure established by law’ as equivalent to the concept of ‘Due Process of Law’. It aided in the enrichment of the substantive as well as procedural laws and by the usage of the power conferred by the Constitution, the Supreme Court has managed to assist the Constitution in providing the protection to the citizens. The Judiciary has changed the perspective of Article 21 and expanded its dimensions and granted the basic rights to the people of India.
The Supreme Court in the case of Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, has expanded the scope of Article 21, in which the conceptualization has been changed, many new dimensions have been added to the ‘procedure established by the law’ and it is being read as the alike to the American ‘Due Process of Law’. The seven judges’ bench of apex court in Maneka Gandhi case upheld the contentions of petitioner that the procedure established under Article 21 should be “just, fair and reasonable”. The Supreme Court has expressed the inter-relationship between the Articles of the Constitution and for the establishment of the true and rightful meaning of the provision provided in Article 21; the Article 14, 19, 20, 21 and 22 must be read together in the consensus.
The new dimensions can be summed up and expressed as the right to have ‘fair and speedy’ Court proceedings, that must be ascertained in the public, including the required ‘legal assistance’ through the ‘counsel of own’s choice’ and an induction of the principle of ‘Audi AlteramPartem’; it also includes the protection against ‘illegal detention’ as well as the ‘self-incriminating laws’; it also includes the safeguard against the ‘Ex-post facto laws’ and ‘excessive punishments’.