Enforcement Of Fundamental Rights Including Under Articles 19/21 Against Non- State Actors

The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in Kaushal Kishore vs State of Uttar Pradesh unanimously held that “a fundamental right under Article 19/21 can be enforced even against persons other than the State or its instrumentalities”.

The court also observed as follows: The rights conferred by Articles 15(2)(a) and (b), 17, 20(2), 21, 23, 24, 29(2) etc., are obviously enforceable against non­State actors also. The owner of a shop, public restaurant, hotel or place of entertainment, though a non­State actor cannot deny access to a citizen of India on grounds only of religion, race etc., in view of Article 15(2)(a). So is the case with wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of general public, in view of Article 15(2)(b). The right not to be enforced with any disability arising out of untouchability is available against non­State actors under Article 17. The right against double jeopardy, and the right against self­incrimination available under sub­Articles (2) and (3) of Article 20 may also be available even against non­State actors in the case of prosecution on private complaints.

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