Constitution Day Special: Fundamental Rights.

Fundamental Rights are said to be the spirit of the constitution. In a democratic country, where people are at the center of everything, such rights carry a lot of importance. So, here are some basic aspects related to the same.

  • Background:
    • Part 3 of the Indian Constitution.
    • Article 12-35.
    • Inspired by the U.S Constitution.
    • Magna Carta of the Indian constitution.

Image result for fundamental rights india

  • How many fundamental rights do we have?:
    • We have 6 fundamental rights, namely:
      • Right to Equality(A. 14-18)
      • Right to Freedom(A.19-22)
      • Right Against Exploitation(A.23-24).
      • Right to freedom of Religion(A.25-28)
      • Cultural and Educational Rights(A.29-30).
      • Right to Constitutional remedies(A.32)
  • Isn’t the Right to Property a fundamental right?:
    • No.
    • It was earlier but was removed after the 44th constitutional amendment of 1978.
    • Now, it has been made a legal right under Article 300-A of the Indian constitution.
  • What are a few features of the fundamental rights?:
    • Some are available to all, that is, both citizens and foreigners while some are available only to citizens.
    • They are justiciable in nature, that is, a citizen or a foreigner(if eligible), can move court to claim the violation of his/her right.
    • These are not absolute. Some reasonable restrictions are applicable to them.
    • Some could be enforced against the state, some against other citizens and some against both.
    • They are not sacrosanct. Thus, they can be amended(only through a constitutional amendment) given that the amendment does not violate the Basic structure of the constitution(those provisions of the constitution which cannot be abridged or taken away by the parliament) 
    • When there is a proclamation of emergency, fundamental rights(except Article 20 and 21) can be suspended. 
    • They are defended and guaranteed by the Supreme Court of India.
  • Explanation of a few very important and “trending” articles of the constitution:
    • Article 14: 
      • Equality before law and equal protection of laws.
      • Rule of law, that is:
        • Absence of arbitrary power–>no one can be punished except for the breach of a law.
        • Equality before law–>equal subjection of all the citizens to the ordinary laws of the land.
      • It’s a basic feature of the constitution.
      • A few exceptions with regard to : dignity of President and Governor; the privilege of parliament; defamation; foreign relations.
    • Article 15:
      • Prohibition of discrimination on certain grounds like:
        • religion
        • race
        • caste.
        • sex
        • place of birth.
      • No discrimination with regard to:
        • access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment.
        • use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort.
    • Article 19:
    • Article 21:
      • Protection of Life and Liberty, a.k.a , Right to Life.
      • A few of the important rights under this are the Right to:
        • Live with human dignity.
        • livelihood.
        • privacy.
        • shelter
        • health.
        • decent environment.
        • free education up to 14 years of age.
        • free legal aid.
        • against solitary confinement…. amongst others.
    • Article 25-28:
      • Right to Freedom of Religion.
      • Includes:
        • Right to freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion(Article 25).
        • Freedom to manage religious institutions(A.26).
        • Freedom from taxation for the promotion of religion(A.27).
        • Freedom from attending religious instructions(A.28).
    • Article 30:
      • Right of Minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.
    • Article 32:
      • Right to Constitutional Remedies. 
      • Dr. Ambedkar called it the “heart and soul of the constitution” .
      • The Supreme Court under this Article has the power to issue writs (writ jurisdiction).
      • Any citizen(or in some cases foreigner) whose rights have been abridged/breached can move to the SC to protect his/her rights.
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