Terms like ‘right to protest peacefully’, ‘right to information’ and ‘right to education’ are being used very frequently today. You also feel so many times you have certain rights. You also might have learned in school days that you have certain duties towards the humanity, nation, society and other individuals.But, do you really feel everyone performs their duties or enjoys their rights? Perhaps not. But each one of us will agree that there are certain rights that must be enjoyed by us. In a democratic nation like India, certain rights must be guaranteed to every citizen.
Fundamental Rights of India
Every democratic citizen of India must perform certain duties. Because of this, the Indian citizens are guaranteed certain rights by the constitution of India. These rights are known as the Fundamental Rights. Apart from this, every citizen of India is expected to perform certain core duties enlisted by the constitution of India. These are known as the Fundamental Duties.
Meaning and Importance of the Fundamental Rights of india
We talk about rights quite often. But, do you know what is the exact meaning of the term “rights”? Rights are the rules of interaction between the people. They place obligations and constraints upon the actions of the individuals, groups or the state. For example, if a particular person has the right “right to life”, this states that other people, whomsoever, don’t have the liberty to kill her or him.
The Rights are defined as the claims of an individual that are necessary for the all-round development of her or his own self and are recognized by the society or state. These are ethical, social or legal principles of entitlement or freedom and are fundamental rules deriving from a standard or norm about what is owed to people or allowed to people, depending on some ethical theory, social convention or some legal system. Being regarded as the established pillars of culture and society, the rights are considered fundamental to civilization.
As I stated earlier, the rights are the claims that are necessary for not only the development, but also for the existence of individuals. There will be a big list of rights in this sense. Will all these rights are recognized by the society, the state recognizes few of the extremely significant rights and they are embodied in the constitution. Such rights are known as Fundamental Rights.
Due to 2 reasons, these are known as the fundamental rights. The first reason is that they are mentioned in the constitution which assures them and the second reason is that they are justifiable i.e. they can be imposed through courts. The courts will declare any law enacted by the government as invalid if that law restricts any of these fundamental rights. These fundamental rights of India are incorporated in the Part III of the Indian constitution.
The Six Fundamental Rights of India
Six Fundamental Rights are guaranteed by the Constitution of India to the Indian citizens. They are as follows
- Right to Equality
- Right to Freedom
- Right against Exploitation
- Right to Freedom of Religion
- Cultural and Educational Rights
- Right to Constitutional Remedies
While these fundamental rights are universal, the Indian constitution provides some restrictions and exceptions.
1. Right to Equality
- The Right to Equality is regarded as the foundation on which the structure of other liberties and rights is constructed.
- Before the law, the equal treatment of all the people is guaranteed by Article 14. Based on sex, caste, race and religion, the scope for discrimination of any person is eliminated by Article 15 when it comes to accessing the public places.
- In the matters of employment, the Article 16 averts the state from discriminating against anyone.
- Under the Article 17 of the constitution of India, the untouchability has been annihilated and declared as an offence.
- Article 18 can be termed as a provision that annihilates the titles. According to this, the state should not confer any titles to its citizens and the recipients of the civilian awards like Padma Bhushan and Bharat Ratna from utilizing them as titles.
2. Right to Freedom
- Apart from the freedom of Expression and Speech, the Article 19 of the constitution of India provides the citizens the freedom to form unions or associations and move freely throughout India.
- The citizens of India can settle or reside in any part of the territory of India and carry on any business or occupation or practice any profession according to the Article 19 of the constitution of India.
- The scope of Right to Freedom also incorporates the right to protect personal liberty and life and the prevention of detention and arrest.
- During the state of emergency, restrictions are imposed on these 6 fundamental freedoms.
3. Right against Exploitation
- Articles 23 and 24 abolish practices like child labor and forced labor and human trafficking.
- According to the constitution of India, the employing children under 14 years of age is a “gross violation of the spirit and provisions of the Constitution.” Article 23 prohibits human trafficking for prostitution or slave trade.
- There is only one exception to this provision. On the citizens, the state can impose compulsory service for public response.
4. Right to Freedom of Religion
- Providing the citizens with the freedom to “propagate, practice and preach” any religion under Article 25 originates from the fact that the principle of secularism is the principle that is believed strongly by India wherein every religion is given equal footing.
- Under Article 26, the Right to freedom of religion not only provides the individuals the liberty to handle religious affairs but also permits the religious communities the freedom to set up the charitable institutions as per the law of land.
- Article 27 prohibits any community to force an individual to pay the taxes for the purpose of promoting a particular religion.
5. Cultural and Educational Rights
- Through Articles 29 and 30, India has made the provision of protecting its pluralistic ethos taking pride in its pluralistic society.
- While Article 29 ensures the protection of interests of the minorities, its following Article provides linguistic and religious minorities the freedom to “preserve and develop their own culture.”
- The critical aspect that this provision covers is the assurance that there is no discrimination of any citizen against for admission in State-aided or State institutions.
6. Right to Constitutional Remedies
- From Article 32 to 35, the provisions that are enlisted convey a message of empowerment very strongly.
- Through these provisions, every Indian citizen is given the right to move a court of law in case one feels that his rights are violated.
- It is through various writs like certiorari, quo warranto, prohibition, mandamus and habeas corpus that the courts try to safeguard or preserve the fundamental rights of the citizens.
Latest Addition to the List of Fundamental Rights of India
A constitutional amendment is needed for change that is done to the fundamental rights. Further, this requires the approval of two-thirds of the members of the Parliament. In 2002, one such amendment was made when Article 21A was incorporated to make the Right to Education at Elementary Level as one of the fundamental rights of India. It was also made mandatory by the Act that the private educational institutions must reserve 25 percent of the seats for children who belong to weaker sections of the society.
Do You Know?
There were originally 7 fundamental rights in the Indian constitution. Apart from the above mentioned 6 rights, there was “Right to Property” as well. This right has created many problems in the way of achieving the goal of equitable distribution of wealth and socialism, in the 44th constitutional amendment in the year 1978, this right was eliminated from the list of fundamental rights of India.
The deletion of right to property fundamental right doesn’t mean that we don’t have the right to dispose, hold and acquire property. To enjoy this right, the citizens are still free. But, it is a legal right now and not a fundamental right.