Maneka Gandhi Case: Maneka Gandhi vs Union of India

maneka gandhi case
maneka gandhi case

Maneka Gandhi


Union of India



1978 AIR 597, 1978 SCR (2) 621


  1. H. Beg, C.J.
  2. N. Bhagwati.
  3. V. Chandrachud.
  4. R. Krishna Iyer.
  5. L. Untwalia.
  6. S. Kai asam.
  7. Murtaza Fazal Ali.


No. of Judges: 7

Acts referred:

  • Article 14,   Article 19  (1) (a), Article 21  and Article 32 of Constitution of India, 1950
  • The Passport Act, 1967


Facts of the Case:

  • Maneka Gandhi was issued a passport on 1/06/1976 under the Passport Act 1967.
  • The regional passport officer, New Delhi, issued to her and asked to surrender her passport under section 10(3)(c)of the Act in public interest.
  • She replied, seeking in return a copy of the statement of reasons for such order which was refused by the government of India, Ministry of External Affairs.
  • Later, She fied a  writ petition under Article 32of the Constitution in the Supreme Court challenging the order of the government of India as violating her fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.


Judgemnt and the Guidelines Issued: 

  • To the extent to which section 10(3)(c) of the Passport Act, 1967 authorizes the passport authority to impound a passport “in the interest of the general public”, it violates Article 14 as it confers vague and undefined power on the passport authority.
  • Section 10(3)(c) is void as conferring an arbitrary power as it doesn’t provide for a hearing to the holder of the passport before the passport is impounded.
  • Section 10(3)(c) is violative of Article as does not prescribe ‘procedure’ within the meaning of that article and the procedure practiced is worst.
  • Section 10(3)(c) is against Articles 19(1)(a) and 19(1)(g) since it permits restrictions to be imposed on the rights guaranteed by these articles even though such restrictions cannot be imposed under articles 19(2) and 19(6).
  • A new doctrine of post decisional theory was evolved.
  • One of the significant interpretation in this case is the discovery of inter connections between the three Articles- Article 14, 19 and 21.
  • This law which prescribes a procedure for depriving a person of “personal liberty” has to fulfill the requirements of Articles 14 and 19 also.
  • It was finally held by the court that the right to travel and go outside the country is included in the right to personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21.
  • The rule was an enabling law which must also be “just, fair and reasonable”.




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