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Monthly Archive January 2017

Right to Life

Life- is something that is ours, only ours and we naturally require it to be protected no matter which country we born in or belong to.  The question I intend to talk on is “Who give protection to our right to life?”  And what does fall under the meaning of “life” when we talk about our right to life? The fundamental rights, including the right to life, are protected through the constitution of the country.  Constitution is the supreme law of land for any country having it. Constitution in its nature is supposed to be sufficiently elastic and able to adopt rapidly changing lives and cultures. However, constitution still deserves to be revised as the human mind grows and to keep the supreme governing law to be in pace with continuously changing communities, circumstances and time. For writing this, I went through few constitutions to understand how they talk about the “right to life” and below are the few selections:

Pakistan- Art 9: Security of Person | No person shall be deprived of life or liberty save in accordance with law

India- Art 21: protection of Life & personal liberty | No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law

Malaysia- Art 5: Liberty of the person | 5. (1) No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty saves in accordance with law.

Philippine- Art 3: Bill of Rights | SECTION 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.

Japan- Article 13 | All of the people shall be respected as individuals. Their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness shall, to the extent that it does not interfere with the public welfare, be the supreme consideration in legislation and in other governmental affairs.

Likewise, there are other international conventions and declarations to protect the very right – right to life.

Universal Declaration of Human RightsArt 3 | Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights- Art 6.1 | Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.

European convention on Human Rights– Art 2: Right to life | Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law.                                                                                                   (My emphasis)

 

The signatory states to those above conventions and declaration commit to protect such rights of its people through the force of law – mainly the constitution.

As above, there are quotes are from the constitution, so all these constitution guarantee a protection of such a right in respective jurisdiction.  Such a provision in the constitution gives two very clear directions. One goes to the legislature and Executive branches of the state while the other is directed to the judicial branch of the state.

The legislature and executive are bound by constitution that in exercise of their respective functions, they make sure that “No person shall be deprived of Life” and its job of the judicial branch to determine if any action of the legislature  or executive has gone to the extent to deprive a person of his life. Judiciary has authority to void any such act of the parliament and/or executive to the extent of its inconsistency with constitutional protections.

There are multiple fundamental human rights protected under the constitution. I am emphasizing more on the “right to life” as of it being the supreme “right”. All other rights like the right to education, right to assembly, right to health, right to religion and right to free speech falls under the meaning of “life”.  The word “Life” is very elastic and that’s its beauty that many constitutions adopted this word so as to be applicable forever and to be given evolving meaning to this right over time. Now the question is what falls – accepted in adjudication – is under the meaning of “Life”.  I will come to this question in a separate piece with adjudications from various courts.