Right to Life and Dignity of Man

Reading time : 6 minutes

Right to life

“Everyone has right to life, liberty and security of person”.

In India article 21 of the Indian Constitution deals with right to life and personal liberty. It states that “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law”.  Right to life is without doubt the most basic of all rights. All other rights enhance the quality of life in question and rely on the presence of life itself to function. Because human rights can only be attached to living beings, one may anticipate the right to life to be primary because without it, none of the other rights would have any worth or utility. If Article 21 had been interpreted in its original sense, there would have been no Fundamental Rights worth noting.

Article 21 of the Constitution defines ‘life’ as more than just the act of breathing. It does not imply a purely animal existence or a life of drudgery. It encompasses a far broader range of rights, such as the right to live in dignity, the right to a livelihood, the right to health, the right to clean air, and so on. The right to life is fundamental to our very existence; without it, we would not be able to live as humans. It encompasses all aspects of life that make a man’s life meaningful, complete, and worthwhile. It is the only provision of the Constitution that has been given the broadest interpretation conceivable. Thus, the bare necessities, minimum and basic requirements for a person from the core concept of the right to life.

In “Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration”[1]the Supreme Court held that the right to life encompassed the right to live a healthy life in which all of the human body’s abilities were in peak form. It would also include the right to protect a person’s tradition, culture, and heritage, as well as anything else that gives significance to his existence. It also includes the right to live and sleep in peace, as well as the right to rest and health.

In the case of “Kharak Singh vs State of Uttar Pradesh”[2] the Honourable Supreme Court of India quoted and held that “By the term ‘life’ as here used, something more is meant than mere animal existence. The inhibition against its deprivation extends to all those limbs and faculties by which life is enjoyed. The provision equally prohibits the mutilation of the body by amputation of an armored leg or the pulling out of an eye, or the destruction of any other organ of the body through which the soul communicates with the outer world”.

Right to life with Human Dignity

Which means that right to life also includes dignity of person such as reputation is also considered as dignity. So every person is entitled to live with dignity.

The right to life is the most important and fundamental right that citizens and non-citizens from outside the country have. Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and personal security. It’s foolish to try to define life with a single objective in mind or a single word. Every society has its own set of criteria for ensuring human life and dignity. As a result, the right to life denotes the importance of human presence. It is commonly referred to as the most important fundamental right. Part III of the Indian Constitution guarantees fundamental rights, which are meant to preserve and protect people’s vital entitlements, such as the right to exist with human poise, against encroachment. The concept of the right to life with human dignity, as enshrined in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, has provided citizens and non-citizens of India with a slew of vital rights. The framers of the Constitution were primarily concerned with the advancement of individuals as well as social welfare. There is no specific provision in the Constitution regarding human dignity. Under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, the right to life and personal liberty has a broader meaning that includes the right to life with human dignity. It is the central principle without which we would be unable to live as individuals, and it encompasses all of the aspects of life that contribute to making a man’s life meaningful and worthwhile. Life encompasses more than just a daily existence of physical demonstration or leisure; it also encompasses the possibility of living with human poise.

Human dignity, at its most fundamental level, is the conviction that everyone has a unique value based purely on their humanity. It has nothing to do with their social class, race, gender, religion, or ability, and everything to do with the fact that they are human. The term “dignity” has changed over time. The Latin, English, and French words for “dignity” originally had nothing to do with a person’s intrinsic worth. It was much more in line with someone’s “merit.” Someone who was “dignified” had a high social status. The original definition of the word “dignity” was that someone deserved respect due to their position. That premise was flipped on its head in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 1 state “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”.

In the case of “Maneka Gandhi vs. Union of India”[3]the Honourable Supreme Court of India gave a new perspective to the Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The Court determined that the right to life encompasses not only a bodily right but also the right to live with dignity.

In the case of “Francis Coralie v. Union Territory of Delhi”[4]the Honourable Court held that “The right to live includes the right to live with human dignity and all that goes along with it, viz., the bare necessities of life such as adequate nutrition, clothing and shelter over the head and facilities for reading writing and expressing oneself in diverse forms, freely moving about and mixing and mingling with fellow human beings and must include the right to basic necessities the basic necessities of life and also the right to carry on functions and activities as constitute the bare minimum expression of human self.”

Right to life and dignity of a Man

When we talk about human rights, we’re talking about man’s dignity. Human dignity is formed and maintained via the promotion and protection of human rights. Human rights violations rob people of their dignity. Natural rights are predicated on the assumption of natural or innate human dignity. Natural rights are predicated on the assumption of natural or innate human dignity. This solid core of human dignity,’ according to John Finnis, symbolises the “actually incalculable value of human personality in each of its essential elements.” Political ideas, on the other hand, have a long history. Aristotle had not yet considered the concept of ‘human dignity.’  

Every man intuitively understands that he is a superior entity in some way. He understands that he is superior to the ground he cultivates, the machines he runs, and the animals who serve him. Even if unable to define this superiority in terms of “honour and dignity,” a man who enjoys the benefits of his nobility is content and accepts his status as his due; A man who lacks honour and dignity is restless, sad, and even rebellious because something that is proper to him, as a man, is withheld or denied.

“The dignity of man” is one of the few expressions that elicits a nod of approval and puts an end to analysis as quickly as “the dignity of man.” It sounds healthful and genuine, and hearing it soothes our critical instincts. We should pause to consider its meaning because it is used by a wide range of people from various backgrounds and in a wide range of settings.

The conclusion that the phrase is often used to allude to an intrinsic feature that belongs to man by virtue of his being man and his uniqueness in comparison to all other men and natural beings appears to be supported by casual observation. Such usage indicates an aspect of the atomistic way of looking at things, in which each individual is ascribed a sacred quality, private, impenetrable, and beyond the reach of institutionalised living’s sophistications. The phrase is used to support a sort of individualism that places supreme value in the individual’s inner existence in at least one of its multiple meanings a life that is, in its subjectivity, accessible only to the individual himself. Indeed, this perspective on man appears to be a popular theme in contemporary philosophy and culture, and it is a representation of the fundamental division that exists between man and nature, “res cogitans and res extensa”. Even if insurmountable obstacles arise from this point of view in both philosophy and reality, the theory of man’s dignity, in its basically divisive and individualistic articulation, is nonetheless avidly supported. In the following study, I’d want to underline the importance of man’s social ties in terms of our conviction in his dignity and as a source of information.

In a country like India where men are dominated more than women but at the same time the men are not treated equally by the law. Whereas women are given more provisions i.e. special rights and not the men. The laws in India are made especially for women but not to men. In India if a woman wishes she can damage the reputation of a man single headedly without even a second taught. Basically, which means she can end a life of a man. The basic perspective of India laws in such a way that “A man is guilty until proven innocent and A women is innocent until proven guilty”. Which means that if a women complaints against a man than a man is needed to be arrested without any delay but that is not in the case of man if he complaints against a  women.    

There are few recent instances of this kind. Few months ago there was some quarrel between a women and Zomato delivery boy in Bangalore, India. Where the Women ordered some food through Zomato and due to some issues the delivery was delayed for which the women asked for free food but the delivery boy denied and she took the parcel and closed the door without paying money and later she came to beat the delivery boy who was an innocent. Later, on when asked she went to police station to complain against the delivery boy that he has assaulted her and she showed that her nose got hurt because delivery boy has hit her. So beating someone is against the law so police have taken the delivery boy into the custody and while interrogation they have found that the women herself came to beat him and herself injured and started to blame on him. Even though he is proved to be an innocent he lost his job and that video of that women went viral because of which he is unable to get any further job at any other place.

There one more incident which is very recent, Even this went viral on social media where a women has slapped a man who is a taxi driver for 23 times in the public. The incident is women was crossing the road and the taxi was about to stop but the car has just touched the women and he dragged the driver out and she started to slap and there was only one person who in support of the man who tried to stop that women but she even slapped that man who tried to stop. Apart from that person there was no other person tried to stop and even police were looking at that women but they didn’t say anything because of they try to stop than she can file a case against them as something else. Later she complained against the man the man was arrested immediately but the woman who was not arrested despite what she did in the traffic or public but later she was arrested on the next day.

Don’t the men have the self-respect or dignity? There are many other cases where innocent men are being wrongfully charged by the women.

For example, if a woman complaints against a man that he has raped her or anything related to that than that man should be arrested without any delay and he has to be sent to the trail at the court. If he is found to innocent or guilty there will be absolute damage to him and his family reputation.  Even though he is found to be innocent by the court of law after being released from the police custody he will find difficulty in the society because the society still sees him a s rapist and which can even lead him to suicidal taught. If not he will find difficult to even to earn his livelihood.

In India it is like “A unknown women can end life a man if she wishes”. I’m not against the women empowerment or something but the laws provided for the safety of the women are being misused and because of which many innocent men are being punished without their fault. Because of which the dignity of man is being reduced and reputation of man is being damaged.

In a report of 2014 by police department states that about 70% of the cases filed to by the women are been found to be wrongful and the accused was an innocent.  This shows that many innocents are being wrongfully charged. This would clearly shows that law doesn’t treat everyone equally.


Human rights are supposed to be viewed in a certain way. Human rights are expected to be inevitable, widespread, and distinctive. Every single person is meant to be the same. The basic assumptions are that humans are endowed with rational and moral abilities that distinguish them from other species on the planet, and that as a result, they are qualified for special rights and opportunities that other animals lack.

If everyone wanted to be treated equally than everyone should have same rights without any discrimination. By above mentioned case we can easily see that women are been given more importance by law yes that is because women need to be developed and they have to earn and compete against the men who are more dominant in the society. At the same time there must be proper laws which can prevent from malicious intension of women to file a suit against the innocents. Such as if a women files a case than after proper investigation only the accused must be arrested after having proper proofs and witness to prove the same.

Because of wrongful suits if a person commits suicide or takes his life away that will clearly violate right to life of a person. This is one of the most fundamental rights of a person granted by the Indian Constitution to every citizen of the country.

[1] Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration, 1980 AIR 1579, 1980 SCR (2) 557.

[2] Kharak Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, 1963 AIR 1295, 1964 SCR (1) 332.

[3]Maneka Gandhi vs. unionof India, 1978 AIR 597, 1978 SCR (2) 621.

[4] Francis Coralie v. Union Territory of Delhi, 1981 AIR 746, 1981 SCR (2) 516.

Author: Sai Vivek Rao Beerelly, Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad

Editor: Kanishka VaishSenior Editor, LexLife India.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s