Can a person be deprived of his life and personal liberty?

The Supreme Court ruled in A.K.Gopalan v. State of Madras that in Article 21, the expression “Procedure established by law” meant the procedure as laid down in the law as enacted by the Legislature and nothing more. A person could thus be deprived of his ‘life’ or ‘personal liberty’ in accordance with the procedure laid down in the relevant law. The ruling thus meant that to deprive a person can be deprived of his life and personal liberty:

  • There must be a law
  • It should lay down a procedure; and
  • The executive should follow this procedure while depriving a person of his life or personal liberty.