ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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‘Right to Choose’ as a Fundamental Right

Across India, high courts are interpreting Article 21 of the Constitution to give depth and detail to the “inner” aspects of the right to life, namely, the right to privacy and to make one’s own choices. In the face of increasing state intervention in the matter of personal choices, and questioning of earlier notions of what is a matter of choice, the Supreme Court will be called upon to adjudicate the extent and scope of the life and liberty of a citizen on many crucial issues.

The Patna High Court judgment in the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies v State of Bihar (2016) does something quite remarkable in holding the imposition of “prohibition” in Bihar unconstitutional. For the first time, a constitutional court has addressed the question of imposition of prohibition in terms of its impact on the right to life and liberty of a citizen. This is significant not just for those opposing the legality of prohibition laws in India, but also for the development of a coherent jurisprudence on the right to choose and the right to privacy in the context of the right to life and liberty protected under Article 21 of the Constitution.

Background to the Patna Case

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