Rights and Fundamental Rights

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An Introduction to Fundamental Rights

Fundamental rights are those rights that are important for the moral and intellectual development of all people. These are required for the all-around development of individuals, hence called fundamental rights.


These fundamental rights include which are almost common to all such as equality before the law, religious and cultural freedom, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, freedom of speech. These rights are applied universally to all citizens irrespective of race, caste, religion, sexual orientation, and gender. The supreme court is the ultimate destination to approach in case of violation of the laws as per article 32. These are the basic human rights in India to be performed by all individuals.


What are the Fundamental Rights Provided by Indian Constitution?

The Part III of the Indian Constitution (which has articles from 14 to 32) deals with Fundamental Rights. Which ensures all the liberties of Indian citizens, such that all Indians can lead their lives in peace and harmony. These are individual rights that are common to most liberal democracies. 


The Fundamental Rights has its origin from various sources such as England's Bill of Rights, the United States Bill of Rights, and France's Declaration of the Rights of Man.


The fundamental rights of the Indian Constitution are listed below,

  • 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)

Violating these rights can lead to severe punishments as per the Indian Penal Code, subject to the discretion of the judiciary. The Fundamental Rights are the basic rights of an individual to enjoy for the proper and harmonious development of personality. These rights apply to every citizen of India irrespective of race, religion, caste, creed, colour, or sex. They are enforceable by the courts with certain restrictions. 


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Basic Human Rights in India

Human rights in India is a diverse issue, furthermore complicated by the country’s large population and size, widespread poverty, and lack of proper education. The constitution of India provides for all fundamental rights.


Fundamental rights are confined to a specific group or country whereas human rights are universal, that is followed by all individuals.


Below is a brief description of all the fundamental rights in detail:

  • Right to Equality (Article 14-18)

Right to Equality ensures that every citizen is equal before the law and equally protected by the law within the Indian territory. It gives equal rights to all citizens irrespective of caste, religion, place of birth, race, or gender. It also guarantees equality of opportunity in public employment and prevents discrimination against anyone in the field of employment based on religion, race, caste, gender, descent, etc. The types of equality are as follows:

  1. Natural

  2. Social

  3. Civil

  4. Economic

  5. Political

  6. Legal

  • Right to Freedom (Article 19-22)

Freedom is the reward cherished by any democratic society. It is one of the constitutional rights guaranteed by the constitution of India. The right to freedom entitles basic rights to humans for speech, form assemblies, personal liberty, and freedom to live a life of dignity.

The right to freedom gives various rights from article 19 to 22 such as, 

Article 19 - Freedom to the following concerns.

  1. Right to freedom of expression

  2. Right to freedom of assembly without arms

  3. Right to freedom of movement throughout the territory of our country 

  4. Right to freedom of association

  5. Right to freedom to practice any profession 

  6. Right to freedom to reside anywhere within the territory of the country

However, these rights have their restrictions.

Article 20 - Protection concerning the conviction for offences.

Article 21 - Right to life and personal liberty.

Article 21A - Right to elementary education.

Article 22  -  Protection against arrest and detention.

  • Right against Exploitation (Article 23-24)

Right against Exploitation condemns various unhuman practices such as human trafficking, child labour, forced labour. All these practices are marked as an offence and are punishable by law. It also prohibits the compulsion of work without wages, where it is not legally entitled to work or to receive remuneration, unless it is for the public, like community services or NGO work.

Article 23 - It regulates the prohibition of traffic and forced labour.

  1. It implies the misuse of others’ services or labour without payment.

  2. Labour without payment is known as begar.

  3. One cannot force anyone to engage in labour against his/her will.

  4. Forced labour is forbidden by the constitution.

  5. The article makes trafficking unconstitutional.

  6. Trafficking refers to buying and selling of men and women for illegal and offensive activities.

Article 24 - Prohibition of employment of children in factories.

It says no child below the age of 14 is allowed to be employed to work in any of the factories or indulge in any hazardous employment.

The following laws were passed in pursuance of Article 24:

  1. The factories act, 1948.

  2. The Mines Act, 1952.

  3. The Child Labour (Prohibition and regulation act 1986).

  4. Child Labour Act 2016.

  5. Child Labour Amendment Rules, 2017.

 

  • Right to Freedom of Religion (Article 25-28)

Right to Freedom of Religion ensures religious freedom and guarantees secular states in India. The right says that all religions should be treated equally and impartially and there is no official religion for the states. It also ensures the freedom of conscience and the right to preach, practise, and propagate any religion of their choice. 

Article 26 - Freedom to manage religious affairs.

Article 27 - Freedom to payment of taxes for promotion of any particular religion.

Article 28 - Freedom to attendance at religious worship in certain educational institutions.

  • Cultural and Educational Rights (Article 29-30)

These fundamental rights protect the rights of cultural, religious, and linguistic minorities by helping them to conserve their heritage and protect them against discrimination. Educational rights guarantee equal education to every citizen irrespective of their caste, gender, religion, etc. 

Article 29(1) provides all citizens residing in India with distinct cultures, languages, and scripts. This right is absolute and consists of no reasonable restriction in the interest of the general public.

Article 29(2) states that the state shall not deny any admission to an educational institution to any person based on caste, creed, colour, race, or religion. This right is for individuals and not any community.

Article 30 states the rights of minorities to establish and administer Educational Institutions.

  • Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32)

This right ensures citizens reach the supreme court of India and ask for the enforcement or protection against violation of their fundamental rights. The Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to enforce the law even against private bodies. In case of any violation, awards compensation to the affected individual.

Hence fundamental rights are important for a citizen. The article discusses all the fundamental rights that are provided by the constitution of India to Indian citizens and explained when they can be used.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How Many Human Rights are There in India?

There are 6 fundamental rights in India. The rights or constitutional rights are sections of the constitution that provide people with their rights. These were developed between 1947 and 1949 by the Constitution of India. There are 6 fundamentals in India mentioned as follows:

  • Right to equality.

  • Right to freedom.

  • Right against exploitation.

  • Right to freedom of religion.

  • Cultural and educational rights.

  • Right to Constitutional remedies.

2. What are Human Rights?

Human rights are moral principles or norms that are followed by the individual. These consist of specific standards of human behaviour and are protected by municipal or international laws. These are also commonly termed as fundamental rights to which a person is bound to agree to the laws irrespective of age, caste, colour, religion, ethnicity, etc. These are universal and applied everywhere from person birth until death. The values are defined and protected by law and apply to the individual regardless of where you are from, what you believe, or how one may choose to live his/her life.

3. What are the salient features of the Fundamental Rights?

The following are some of the salient features of Fundamental Rights,

  • Fundamental Rights are protected and assured by the constitution of India.

  • Fundamental Rights are justiciable: The constitution allows the person to reach the Supreme Court directly for the reinforcement of his fundamental right as and when they get violated or restricted.

  • Suspension of Fundamental Rights: All the Fundamental Rights can be suspended in Emergencies except the rights in Articles 20 and 21 which are guaranteed.

  • Restriction of Fundamental Rights: During military rule, fundamental rights can be restricted in any particular area.

4. In what cases do the fundamental rights get suspended?

The cases are given below when fundamental rights get suspended.

  • As per article 352, Fundamental rights can be suspended in the case of a National Emergency.

  • In the case National Emergency is imposed on grounds of war or external aggression, the six fundamental rights under Article 19 are automatically suspended as stated by article 358.

  • Article 359 has the stipulation for suspension of other rights. In such cases, the President issues a separate notification.

  • The fundamental rights stated under Articles 20 and 21 can never be suspended in any situation.

  • Fundamental Rights are not affected by constitutional emergencies and financial emergencies.

5. Is Right to property a Fundamental Right?

Till the 44th amendment (1978) of the Indian Constitution, the Right to Property under Article 31 was considered a Fundamental Right.  After the 44th amendment, article 31 was completely removed from Part III – Fundamental Rights of the Constitution. As the Government could not go ahead with public infrastructure projects and reforms people started approaching the courts to prevent the acquisition of private property, so the government has amended to remove this article from fundamental rights. The property right is now added as a legal right in article 300 A.

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