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

Debate Summary

Draft Article 15 was introduced and debated in the Constituent Assembly on the 6th and 13th of December 1948. There was conflict in the Assembly regarding the term – ‘procedure established by law’. Members argued that this term was insufficient as the legislature of the day could potentially pass a law establishing a procedure which might significantly erode civil liberties. In such a situation, the judiciary can only check if an established procedure has been followed and cannot review the law itself for adherence to fundamental rights. The inclusion of the ‘due process’ term into the provision, 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. Members defending ‘procedure established by law’ 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. When the Article was put to vote, the assembly passed the Draft article with the term ‘procedure established by law’ intact.