Fundamental Rights in Indian Constitution

Fundamental Rights in Indian Constitution 

  • Fundamental rights are those rights which are essential for intellectual, moral and spiritual development of citizens of India. As these rights are fundamental or essential for existence and all-round development of individuals, hence, they are called 'Fundamental rights'. These

    are enshrined in Part III (Articles 12 to 35) of the Constitution of India.

These include individual rights common to most, such as, equality before the law, freedom of speech and freedom of expression, religious and cultural freedom, Freedom of assembly (peaceful assembly), freedom of religion (freedom to practice religion), right to constitutional remedies for the protection of civil rights by means of writssuch as Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, Prohibition, Certiorari and Quo Warranto.

Fundamental rights apply universally to all citizens, irrespective of race, birthplace, religion, caste or gender. The Indian Penal Code and other laws prescribe punishments for the violation of these rights, subject to the discretion of the judiciary. Though the rights conferred by the constitution other than fundamental rights are also valid rights protected by the judiciary, in case of fundamental rights violations, the Supreme Court of India can be approached directly for ultimate justice as per Article 32. The Rights have their origins in many sources, including England's Bill of Rights, the United States Bill of Rights and France's Declaration of the Rights of Man. There are six fundamental rights recognised by the Indian constitution:

1. Right to equality (Articles. 14-18)

2. Right to Freedom (Articles. 19-22)

3. Right Against exploitation (Articles. 23-24)

4. Right to Freedom of Religion (Articles. 25- 28)

5. Cultural and Educational Rights (Articles. 29-30), and

6. Right to Constitutional remedies(Articles. 32-35)

. The right to equality includes equality before the law, the prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, gender or place of birth, equality of opportunity in matters of employment, the abolition of untouchability and abolition of titles.

Article 14 Equality before law

Article 14 says that the state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the law with in the territory of India.

• The provision confers on all person weather citizen for foreigner. Moreover, the world 'person' includes legal person, viz, statutory, corporations, companies registered society or any other type of legal person.

• The concept of 'equality before law' is a British origin while the concept of 'equal protection of laws' has been taken from the American constitution.

• The first concept  connotes: (a) the absence of any special privileges in favour of any person. (b) the equal subjection of all person to the ordinary law of the land administered by ordinary law courts, and (c) no person (whether rich or poor, high or low, official or non official) is above the law.

• The second concept on the other hand connotes: (a) the equality of treatment under equal circumstances, both in the privileges conferred liabilities imposed by the laws, (b) the similar application of the same laws to all person who are similarly situated, and (c) the life should be treated alike without any discrimination. Thus, the former is a negative concept while the latter is a positive concept.

Article 15 (Prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth):

• Article 15 says that the state shall not discriminate against only of religion, race, sex, place of birth or any of them.

• Under Article 15 (3) & (4), the government can make special provisions for women & children and for a group of citizens who are economically and socially backward.

Article 16 (Equality of opportunities in matters of public employment):

• Article 16 says that there shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the state.

Article 17 (Abolition of Untouchability):

• Article 17 says that Untouchability is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden. The enforcement of any disability arising out of untouchability shall be an offense punishable by law.

Article 18 (Abolition of titles):

• Article 18 says that no title, not being a military or academic distinction, shall be conferred by the State. No citizen of India shall accept any title from any foreign state.

• The awards, Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhuhan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri, called as The National Awards would not amount to title within the meaning of Article 18(i).

Right to Freedom (Articles 19-22):

The right to freedom includes freedom of speech and expression, assembly, association or union or cooperatives, movement, residence, and right to practice any profession or occupation.

Article 19 (Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc.):
Article 19 says that all citizens shall have the right

1. to freedom of speech and expression.

2. To assemble peacefully and without arms.

3. To form associations or unions.

4. To move freely throughout the territory of India.

5. To practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.

Article 20 (Protection in respect of conviction for offenses):

Article 20 says that state can impose reasonable restrictions on the groups of security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency, morality, contempt of court, defamation, etc.

Article 21 deals with Protection of life and personal liberty.

Article 21A states that that state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 6-14 years.

Article 22 deals with protection against arrest and detention in certain cases.

3.The right against exploitation prohibits all forms of forced labour, child labour and trafficking of human beings.

Articles 23-24): 
Article 23 deals with the prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labor.
Article 24 deals with prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc.

4. The right to freedom of religion includes freedom of conscience and free profession, practice, and propagation of religion, freedom to manage religious affairs, freedom from certain taxes and freedom from religious instructions in certain educational institutes.

 (Articles 25-28):

Article 25 deals with freedom of conscience and free profession, practice, and propagation of religion.

Article 26 deals with freedom to manage religious affairs.

Article 27 deals with freedom as to payment of taxes for promotion of any particular religion.

Article 28 deals with freedom as to attendance at religious instructions or religious worship in certain educational institutions.

5.The Cultural and educational Rightspreserve the right of any section of citizens to conserve their culture, language or script, and right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.

(Articles 29-30):

Article 29 deals with the protection of language, script, and culture of minorities.
Article 30 deals with the right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.

6. The right to constitutional remedies is present for enforcement of fundamental rights.

(Article 32):

Article 32 deals with the right to move to the supreme court for the enforcement of Fundamental Rights including the Writs of (i) Habeas corpus, (ii) Mandamus, (iii) Prohibition, (iv) Certiorari and (iv) Quo warranto.

The right to privacy is an intrinsic part of Article 21 (the Right to Freedom) that protects the life and liberty of the citizens.

The right to privacy is the newest right assured by the Supreme Court of India. It assures the people's data and personal security.

Fundamental rights for Indians have also been aimed at overturning the inequalities of pre-independence social practices. Specifically, they have also been used to abolish untouchability and thus prohibit discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. They also forbid trafficking of human beings and forced labour (a crime). They also protect cultural and educational rights of religious and linguistic minorities by allowing them to preserve their languages and also establish and administer their own education institutions. They are covered in Part III (Articles 12 to 35) of the Constitution of India.

Right to privacy is an intrinsic part of Article 21 that protects life and liberty of the citizens.The ruling has implications for the government’s vast biometric ID scheme, covering access to benefits, bank accounts and payment of taxes.Rights groups are concerned personal data could be misused. The authorities want registration to be compulsory.


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