Fundamental Rights- Introduction

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Fundamental Rights

Introduction

As a liberal democracy and proponent of people’s empowerment, India guarantees a set of rights considered essential to “preserve human dignity”.

The Fundamental Rights, as embedded in the Indian Constitution, ensure equal and fair treatment of the citizens before the law. However, these rights are not absolute and are subject to restrictions under peculiar circumstances.

Rights are claims that are essential for the existence and development of individuals. In that sense there will a long list of rights. Whereas all these are recognized by the society, some of the most important rights are recognized by the State and enshrined in the Constitution. Such rights are called fundamental rights.

These rights are fundamental because of two reasons. First, these are mentioned in the Constitution which guarantees them and the second, these are justiciable, i.e. enforceable through courts. Being justiciable means that in case of their violation, the individual can approach courts for their protection. If a government enacts a law that restricts any of these rights, it will be declared invalid by courts.

Such rights are provided in Part III of the Indian Constitution.

The Constitution guarantees six fundamental rights to Indian citizens as follows: (i) Right to equality

(ii) Right to freedom,

(iii) Right against exploitation,

(iv) Right to freedom of religion,

(v) Cultural and educational rights, and

(vi) Right to constitutional remedies.

While these fundamental rights are universal, the Constitution provides for some exceptions and restrictions.

The Fundamental Rights in Indian constitution acts as a guarantee that all Indian citizens can and will live their lives in peace as long as they live in Indian democracy. They include individual rights common to most liberal democracies, such as equality before the law, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, freedom of religion, and the right to constitutional remedies for the protection of civil right.

Originally, the Right to Property was also included in the Fundamental Rights, however, the Forty-Fourth Amendment, passed in 1978, revised the status of property rights by stating that “No person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law.”

 

Right to Equality

  1. Article 14:- Equality before law and equal protection of law
  2. Article 15:- Prohibition of discrimination on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
  3. Article 16:- Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment
  4. Article 17:- End of untouchability
  5. Article 18:- Abolition of titles, Military and academic distinctions are, however, exempted.

 

Right to Freedom

  1. Article 19:- It guarantees the citizens of India the following six fundamentals freedoms:-
    1. Freedom of Speech and Expression
    2. Freedom of Assembly
    3. Freedom of form Associations
    4. Freedom of Movement
    5. Freedom of Residence and Settlement
    6. Freedom of Profession, Occupation, Trade and Bussiness
  2. Article 20 :- Protection in respect of conviction for offences
  3. Article 21 :- Protection of life and personal liberty
  4. Article 22 :- Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases

 

Right Against Exploitation

  1. Article 23 :- Traffic in human beings prohibited
  2. Article 24 :- No child below the age of 14 can be employed

 

 

Right to Freedom of Religion

  1. Article 25:- Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion
  2. Article 26:- Freedom to manage religious affairs
  3. Article 27:- Prohibits taxes on religious grounds
  4. Article 28:- Freedom as to attendance at religious ceremonies in certain educational institutions

 

Cultural and Educational Rights

  1. Article 29:- Protection of interests of minorities
  2. Article 30:- Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions
  3. Article 31:- Omitted by the 44th Amendment Act

 

 

Right to Constitutional Remedies

  1. Article 32:- The right to move the Supreme Court in case of their violation (called the Soul and heart of the Constitution by BR Ambedkar)

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