Fundamental Rights are those rights and freedoms of the people of India, which enjoy constitutional recognition and guarantee. The Supreme Court of India and State High Courts have the power to enforce Fundamental Rights. Supreme court is the guardian protector of fundamental rights.
- A very detailed Bill of Rights It is a very detailed and comprehensive Bill of Rights. It contains 24 Articles from 12 to 35. These describe in detail the fundamental rights of the people of India.
- People enjoy only the rights given in the Constitution. The Constitution of India does not give any recognition to natural or un-granted rights People of India enjoy only those fundamental rights.
- Special Rights for the Minorities. The India bill of Rights guarantees some special rights to the minorities. Cultural and educational rights have been granted to them. It abolishes untouched and makes it’s a crime. It has also granted special protections to women, children and the weaker sections of society.
- Lack of Social and Economic Rights: It grants only civil rights and freedoms. Rights like Right to Work, Right to Leisure, and Right to Social Security have not been included in the India Bill of Rights.
- Rights are Not Absolute: The fundamental rights of the people are not absolute. Some limitations have been placed on them. While describing the scope of each right, the Constitution also describes its limitations. These have been laid down for protecting public health, public order, morality and security of India.
- Rights are equally binding upon all: The Constitution makes the rights binding upon all authorities0 the Union, the States, the Parliament, and all other State authorities.
- Enforcement of Rights. The Constitution not only grants but also guarantees rights. It provides legal and constructional protection t the fundamental rights. The citizens have been given the right to seek the protection of the Supreme Court and other courts for getting their rights enforced.
- Parliament has the power to amend Fundamental Rights: The fundamental rights contained in the constitution can be amended by the Parliament. The Parliament has, in practice, exercised this power on several occasions.
- Provision for the Suspension of Rights: The constitution provides for a suspension of fundamental rights during an emergency. However, such a suspension automatically ends when the emergency ceases or when the President withdraws it.
- Rights to Property are not a Fundamental Right. Initially, the Constitution granted to the citizens the fundamental right to property. However, because of the hindrances posed by this right in the way of implementation of some socio-economic reforms, right to property was deleted from the list of Fundamental Rights. It was made a legal right under Article 300A. This was done by the 44th Amendment of The Constitution. Now right to property is a legal right and not a fundamental right of the people.
- Right of Education. By 86th Amendment Act, Article 21A has been in the Bill of Rights. It gives to the children between the agesof 6 to 14 years, the Rights of Education.
- Constitutional Superiority of Fundamental Rights. The fundamental rights of the citizens are superior to ordinary laws and the Directive Principals of State Policy. No law can violate Fundamental Rights.
- Institution of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). With a view to check possible violations of National Human Rights Commission has been working in India since 1993. It is five-member commission.
- Conclusion: These features clearly bring out the nature of Indian Bill of Rights. It is indeed a very detailed an essential part of the Constitution of India. It grants and guarantees equal fundamental rights and freedoms to all people of India. It constitutes a very strong pillar of India Democracy.
Rights to Equality
- Equality Before Law (Art. 14). All citizens enjoy equality before law. All enjoy equal protection of law. Equality before law, however, does not mean absolute equality or equality is among the unequal. It means equality or equality among the unequal. It means equality among the similarly placed people. It does not prohibit the classification of persons into different groups.
- Prohibition of discrimination (Art. 15) It prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. No person can, on any of any of these grounds, be denied access to shops, hotels, public restaurants and places of public entertainment or the use of wells, tanks, bathing Ghats, and places of public resort.
- Equality of Opportunity (Art. 16.) this right provides equality of opportunity for all citizens in mattes relating to employment or appointment to any office the state. However, qualifications can be fixed for various jobs.
- Abolition of Untouchables (Art. 17). For eradicating the evil practice of untouchables in India, the Constitution has abolished untouchable. Practice of untouchable in any form is an offence publishable by law. All citizens of India now enjoy equal status.
- Abolition of Titles (Art. 18). The Constitution prohibits the state from conferring any title on citizens. However honors for military or academic distinctions can be given. This right does not prevent the grant of military decorations such as Parma Vir Chakra, Mahavir Chakra. Vir Chakra and Ashok Chakra.
Right to Freedom
- Under a set of four Articles (19- 22), the constitution grants the Right to Freedom to the entire citizen. These articles together constitute the charter of freedoms of the people.
- Fundamental Freedoms of Citizens (Art. 19) All citizens have the right to: (i) Freedom of speech and expression. (ii) Freedom of assembly (iii) Freedom to form associations. (iv) Freedom of movement (v) Freedom to reside and settle (VI) Freedom of profession, occupation, trade or business.
- The Right to Freedom, like the right to equality is also not absolute. It is also subject to reasonable limitations. These freedoms have to be used without any violation of public order, public health, morality and security of state. Further, in respect of freedom of profession, trade, and business, the state can prescribe professional or technical qualifications. The State can also nationalize any industry or business.
- Protection against Arbitrary conviction (Art. 20). The constitution provides protection against arbitrary conviction in cases of offences committed by a person. It lays down that: No person canbe punished except for a violation of law. No person can be subjected to a punishment greater than the one prescribed by law. For one crime one punishment can be given. No person accused of any offence can be forced to give evidence against him.
- Protection of Life and Liberty (Art. 21). It grants protection to the lifeand liberty of citizens as well as non-citizens. It says, “No person can be deprive of his life and liberty except according to the procedure established by law.”
- Protection against Arrest and Detention (Art. 22). The Constitution also provides protection against arbitrary arrest and detention. Any person arrested by the police enjoys certain protections. He has a right to be informed about the grounds of his arrest. He has the right to consult his lawyer. He is to be produced before the nearest magistrate within a period of 24 hours of his arrest.
Right Against Exploitation (Arts. 23-24)
- Prohibition of Traffic in human beings and forced Labour (Arts 23). This right prohibits sale and purchase of human beings It also prohibits beggar or forced labour.
- Prohibition of Employment of Children. No child below the age of fourteen years can be employed to work in any factory or mine or any other hard harmful job.
Right to Freedom of Religion (Ars. 25- 28)
- Freedom of Profession and Propagation of Religion (Art 25). All persons enjoy the freedom of conscience. They have the right to profess, practice and propagate any religion. Forcible conversions stand prohibited. No one can be forced to adopt or leave a particular religion.
- Freedom to Manage Religions Affairs (Art. 26). Every religion has the right to establish and maintain religions institutions. Manage its own affairs; Own and acquire movable and immovable property; and administer its property in accordance with law.
- Freedom from paying taxes for the promotion of any Religion (Art. 27). No person can be compelled to pay any tax for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion.
- Freedom to attend or abstain from religious functions (Arts. 28). The Constitution prohibit is the imparting of religious instructions in any educational institution. No student can be forced to participate in a religious worship that may be conducted in his institution. The right to religious freedom, like other fundamental rights, has certain limitations. This right can be exercised subject to public order, morality and public health. It does not prohibit the introduction of social reforms.
Cultural and Educational Rights (Arts. 29 and 30)
- Right to maintain Language, Script and Culture (Art. 29). Any section of the citizens having a distinct language, script or culture of its own has the right to maintain the same.
- Right to establish and administer educational institutions (Arts. 30). All minorities, whether based on religion or language, have the right to establish and administer their own educational institutions.
Right to Property
Right to Property is now a legal right. (Art 300A) It enjoys protection. Originally it was a fundamental right under article 31 of Constitution.
Right to Constitutional Remedies
The right to move to the courts for securing the fundamental rights is a very valuable right of the people. Citizens can go to the Supreme Court or the high Courts for getting their fundamental rights enforced. It empowers the Courts to issue directions or orders or writs for this purpose. The Habeaus Corpus, It provides a remedy against wrongful detention of a person. By it the court directs the detaining authority to produce the detained person in the court and to explain the cause of his detention. The Mandamus, by it the court can order an inferior authority to d an act, which falls within its jurisdiction. The Prohibition, The court can prohibit an inferior authority from doing an act, which does not falls in its jurisdiction. The Quo Warranto, the court can restrain a person from acting in a public office to which he is not entitled. The Certiorari, by it, the court can order an inferior authority to transfer the matter to it or to some other authority for its proper consideration. It provides legal protection to Fundamental Rights. Right to Constitutional remedies is the very soul of Indian Bill of Rights.
Use of Fundamental Rights
Fundamental Rights are very important for the people. These have to be, however, used in the interest of the unity and security of the state as well as without in any way against public order, public health and morality. The existence of conflicts over caste, the presence of anti-national and anti-social elements, the activities of the terrorists, and the continued need for safeguarding the security, unity and integrity of the nation, all justify the existence of some limitations on fundamental rights.