FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS GIVEN IN INDIAN CONSTITUTION

INTRODUCTION: Part III of the Indian Constitution Articles 12-35 deal with Fundamental Rights. These are also called human rights and are conferred upon the citizens of India and some rights are available to anyone who resides in India. According to the Constitutionalists, these rights are inviolable and the very constitution gives a guarantee of it.
How many fundamental rights in India? There are 6 fundamental rights and they are, 1) Right to Equality, 2) Right to Freedom, 3) Right against Exploitation, 4) Right to Freedom of Religion, 5) Cultural and Educational Rights and 6) Right to Constitutional Remedies.

What are the Fundamental Rights of Human and its feature?

The fundamental right is the right offered to the human being by birth. And the right or the rights are the basic or the fundamental human rights enshrined in the Constitution of India are guaranteed to all citizens. These rights are applied without any discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, place, race, color, etc. The fundamental rights are enforceable by the courts, subject to certain conditions and availability as per the law time being in force or the procedure laid down by the law. They are called fundamental rights because they are enshrined in the Constitution as guaranteed one and they are justifiable or enforceable by the court of law and in case of a violation, a person can approach a court for conferring upon.

List of Fundamental Rights enshrined in Constitution

Fundamental Rights Article: Right to Equality (Article 14-18), Right to Freedom (Article 19-22), Right against Exploitation (Article 23-24), Right to Freedom of Religion (Article 25-28), Cultural and Educational Rights (Article 29-30), Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32)

1. Right to Equality (Articles 14 – 18): Right to equality guarantees equal rights for everyone, irrespective of religion, gender, caste, race or place of birth. It ensures equal employment opportunities in the government and insures against discrimination by the State in matters of employment on the basis of caste, religion, etc. This right also includes the abolition of titles as well as untouchability.

2. Right to Freedom (Articles 19 – 22): Freedom is one of the most important ideals cherished by any democratic society. The Indian Constitution guarantees freedom to citizens. The freedom right includes many rights such as Freedom of speech, Freedom of expression, Freedom of assembly without arms, Freedom of association, freedom to practice any profession, Freedom to reside in any part of the country. Some of these rights are subject to certain conditions of state security, public morality and decency, and friendly relations with foreign countries. This means that the State has the right to impose reasonable restrictions on them.

3. Right against Exploitation (Articles 23 – 24): This right implies the prohibition of traffic in human beings, begar, and other forms of forced labor. It also implies the prohibition of children in factories, etc. The Constitution prohibits the employment of children under 14 years in hazardous conditions.

4. Right to Freedom of Religion (Articles 25 – 28): This indicates the secular nature of Indian polity. There is equal respect given to all religions. There is freedom of conscience, profession, practice, and propagation of religion. The State has no official religion. Every person has the right to freely practice his or her faith, establish and maintain religious and charitable institutions.

5. Cultural and Educational Rights (Articles 29 – 30): These rights protect the rights of religious, cultural, and linguistic minorities, by facilitating them to preserve their heritage and culture. Educational rights are for ensuring education for everyone without any discrimination.

6. Right to Constitutional Remedies (32 – 35): The Constitution guarantees remedies if citizens’ fundamental rights are violated. The government cannot infringe upon or curb anyone’s rights. When these rights are violated, the aggrieved party can approach the courts. Citizens can even go directly to the Supreme Court which can issue writs for enforcing fundamental rights.

Right to Property once was a fundamental right, but it was removed from the list of fundamental rights by the 44 th Constitutional Amendment and now it is only a legal right.

Features and Importance of Fundamental Rights

There is a difference between Fundamental Rights and ordinary legal rights. Because if a legal right is violated, the aggrieved person cannot directly approach the Supreme Court bypassing the lower courts. The person first has to approach the lower courts. But in the case of the fundamental right, if violated, the aggrieved person has the right to approach directly to the Supreme Court or to the High Court.

Not all the fundamental rights are available to all persons including foreigners, but all the fundamental rights are available to the citizens. Fundamental rights are not absolute rights. They have reasonable restrictions, which means they are subject to the conditions of state security, public morality and decency, and friendly relations with foreign countries. They are justiciable, implying they are enforceable by courts. People can approach the SC directly in case of violation of fundamental rights. The important feature of the Fundamental rights is that some of them can be suspended during a national emergency. But, the rights guaranteed under Articles 20 and 21 cannot be suspended in any condition. The application of fundamental rights can be restricted in an area where martial law is in force or military rule.

Fundamental Rights Available Only to Citizens of India

Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of race, religion, caste, gender, or place of birth (Article 15) is available only to citizens of India and not to foreigners. Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment (Article 16), Protection of freedom of:(Article 19), Speech and expression, Association, Assembly, Movement, Residence, Profession, Protection of the culture, language and script of minorities (Article 29), Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions (Article 30).

Importance of Fundamental Rights

Fundamental rights are very important because they are like the backbone of the country. They are essential for safeguarding the people’s interests. According to Article 13, all laws that are violative of fundamental rights shall be void. Here, there is an express provision for judicial review. The SC and the High Courts can declare any law unconstitutional on the grounds that it is violative of the fundamental rights. Article 13 talks about laws and ordinances, orders, regulations, notifications, etc.

Can the fundamental rights be amended?

Amendment in part III of the constitution requires a constitutional amendment and the amendment act should be passed by both the Houses of Parliament. The amendment bill must be passed by a special majority of both the houses of Parliament. Article 13(2) states that no laws can be made that take away fundamental rights. Hence here is the question, whether a constitutional amendment act can be termed a law or not.

Sajjan Singh Case 1965: In the case, the Supreme Court of India held that the Parliament has power and can amend any part of the Constitution including part III, fundamental rights. But in 1967, in the Golakhnath case 1967, the Supreme Court reversed its stance and said that the fundamental rights cannot be amended.

Kesavananda Bharati 1973: In a landmark judgment, the SC held that the “basic structure of the Constitution could not be abrogated even by a constitutional amendment” though no part of the Constitution, including Fundamental Rights, was beyond the Parliament’s amending power. In 1981, the Supreme Court reiterated the Basic Structure doctrine.

Conclusion

To know how many fundamental rights are there in the Indian Constitution is a must-rule for an IAS aspirant. The list of fundamental rights given above will be helpful for the candidates in their UPSC preparation. Also, aspirants should know the difference between human rights and fundamental rights. The basic difference between human rights and fundamental rights is the scope of acceptance. While fundamental rights have scope within a country, human rights are accepted worldwide.

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The Editor

This is personal blog of Raavan Dhabe, Advocate and the objective of the blog is to share fundamental legal knowledge in Marathi and English language for the readers. Especially, important provisions of civil and criminal law along with the articles of constitution of India and personal experience in the social, political and legal work is shared with readers.

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