The state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
"...fundamental rights conferred by Part III are not distinct and
mutually exclusive rights... Now, if a law depriving a person of ' personal
liberty' and prescribing a procedure for that purpose within the meaning of
Article 21 has to stand a test of one or more of the fundamental rights
conferred under Article 19 which may be applicable in a given situation, ex
hypothesi it must also be liable to be tested with reference to Article
14.... The principal of reasonableness, which legally as well as
philosophically, is an essential element of equality or non-arbitrariness,
pervades Article 14, like a brooding omnipresence and the procedure contemplated
by Article 21 must answer the test of reasonableness in order to be in
conformity with Article 14."
Although the Indian Constitution did not incorporate a due process clause, the Court read this requirement into Article 21. It held that depriving a person of life and personal liberty must not only be by procedure established by law, but also by a procedure which is fair, just and reasonable. It held that the principle of reasonable procedure is mandated by the fundamental rights under Article 14, 19 and Article 21.
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