No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.

Debate Summary

Article 15, Draft Constitution of India, 1948

No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law, nor shall any person be denied equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India

Draft Article 15 was debated in the Constituent Assembly on the 6th and 13th of December 1948.

Most members who took part in the debate proposed amendments that wanted to replace ‘according to procedure established by law’ with ‘without due process of law’.Members argued that this term was insufficient as the legislature of the day could pass laws establishing procedures that can place civil liberties in danger; the judiciary could only check if the established procedures were followed could not review the law itself for adherence to fundamental rights. The inclusion of the ‘due process’ term into the provision, therefore, would allow the judiciary to investigate if the law itself is consistent with provisions of fundamental rights and would be in a position to protect civil liberties.  

Other members that pointed out the dangers of ‘due process’ term argued that allowing for judges, who are not immune to prejudices and biases, to sit in judgment of laws passed by the legislature would be undermining the authority of the legislature and hence, un-democratic.

At voting, the Assembly passed the Draft article with the term ‘according to procedure established by law’ intact.