Rights of citizens provided by the Indian Constitution
Independence Day is the most significant day in Indian history because it reminds us of the bravery & struggle of freedom fighters. Today’s independent India is the result of many years of struggles of our freedom fighters. So, we celebrate this day every year in our organization, school, offices, etc. hosting our national flag & organizing cultural functions.
Our independent India has a great history behind it. In the 1600s Britishers came into India as traders & established east India company. By establishing their factories in different parts of India they started occupying different territories. Then after they started ruling those territories by then.
They made strict rules & regulations & different policies like the doctrine of lapse by lord Dalhousie to conquer our territories.
They started exploiting & suppressing different sectors of society like peasants, landlords, etc.
Not only the people but religion, caste, classes, etc. were suppressed. We were exploited in many ways. After realizing suppression, many people came forward to fight for free India under the leadership of our brave freedom fighters like Subhash Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Nana Saheb & so on.
On 15 august 1947, we got independence. Many policies & rules of Britishers still there in independent India to govern the country.
Need of having own rules and regulations was realized. Many leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, B.R. Ambedkar, BN Rau, etc. came forward to draft a constitution containing the rights & duties of people, powers, rules & regulations to govern the country. It was adopted on 26 November 1949 & implemented on 26 January 1950. It took 2 years, 11 months, and 18 days to complete the constitution.
The constitution is the book of basic laws & rules to govern our country. While making the constitution, our constitution makers kept all sections of society in their minds. It had borrowed many features from other countries like single citizenship had been borrowed from Britain. It has provided many rights & duties to the citizens of our country.
Rights are very essential for the economic, social & cultural development of an individual. Indian constitution provided – human rights, legal rights & fundamental rights to its citizens.
• Rights provided by the constitution –
Human rights are the rights through which an individual can enjoy just, free and fair life. Legal rights are statutory in nature & can be repealed by parliament whereas fundamental rights are unique in nature and supports democracy of our country.
• Human rights –
The importance of human rights which are mentioned in our constitution is that every person has the right to enjoy his mental & physical aspects.
Human rights are the universal rights that every individual should possess.
Human rights have abolished & reduced many social evils like slavery, torture, and many more.
Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom of opinion and expression, right to study & many more. Every individual is entitled to these rights without any discrimination.
Human rights under the Indian constitution are as
1. Right to equality and freedom from discrimination
2. Right to life, liberty, and personal security
3. freedom from torture and degrading treatment
4. Right To Equality Before the Law
5. Right To Fair Trial
6. Right To Privacy
7. Freedom Of Belief & Religion
8. Freedom Of Opinion
9. Right Of Peaceful Assembly & Association
10. Right To Participate in Government
11. Right To Social Security
12. Right To Work
13. Right To Adequate Standard of Living
14. Right To Education
15. Right To Health
16. Right to food & housing
Thus, human rights have given rights to citizens to enjoy their life to a large extent and in many aspects like social, physical, mental, etc. and also abolished social evils.
Legal rights –
Legal rights are the rights that are formulated by the government for the people of a particular state or country within the legal framework of the government.
They can differ from state to state, country to country, people to person, and time to time. These are the privileges provided by the government to the citizens of the state.
Judicial privileges are protected under ordinary statute by amending the law, and may be changed or revoked by the legislature.
If violated, these rights will be dealt with by the ordinary courts.
Examples of legal rights is right to ownership of property, right to protest, right to goodwill, etc.
Fundamental rights are mentioned in the Indian constitution under part III from articles 12-35.
These are the rights that are provided by some countries to their citizens. Indian constitution borrowed it from the constitution of the United States.
For a fundamental right to exist, there must be human rights. They have the legal section. In case of violation of fundamental rights, one can approach the court of law means these can be challenged in the court of law.
Fundamental rights are equal to human rights but there is also a difference.The basic difference is that fundamental rights are legal so can be challenged in the court of law in case of violation but human rights cannot be challenged as they are not legal.
These rights are called fundamental rights because of two reasons –
1. They are enshrined in the constitution.
2. They are justiciable i.e. they are enforceable, one can approach the court of law in case of violation.
Following are the 6 fundamental rights of the Indian constitution –
• Right to equality
• Right to freedom
• Right against exploitation
• Right to freedom of religion
• Cultural & educational rights
• Right to constitutional remedies
Originally, the constitution also included “the right to property” under article 31 but then deleted by the 44th amendment. Now it is a legal right under article 300A of part XII of the constitutions.
Article 13 of the Indian Constitution, says that any law made in derogation of fundamental rights shall be declared void by the Supreme court (under article 32) & by the High court (under article 226)
The article declares that the constitutional amendment cannot be challenged as it is not a law.
Further, In kesavananda Bharti case (1973), the supreme court held that constitutional amendment can be challenged if it violates the fundamental right.
Supreme court (article 32) & high court (article 226) can issue writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, certiorari & quo-warranto.
Features of fundamental rights –
• They are protected & guaranteed by the constitution of the country.
• They are not permanent or absolute & can be repealed by amendment.
• They are justiciable, one can approach the court in case of violation of fundamental rights.
• They can be suspended during a national emergency except for articles 20 & 21. Article 19 can be suspended only during external aggression.
Introduction to 6 fundamental rights
• Right to equality (article 14-18)
These rights guarantees equal rights for everyone irrespective of religion, caste, sex, race& place of birth.
It ensures equal employment opportunities in government. It includes the abolition of titles and untouchability.
• Right to freedom (Article 19-22)
It includes freedom of speech, expression, assembly without arms, association, practices of any profession, and residing in any part of the country.
• Right against exploitation (article 23-24)
It includes the prohibition of traffic in human beings, beggars & other forms of forced labor. It also includes the prohibition of the employment of children in factories etc and the employment of children under 14 years in hazardous conditions.
• Right to freedom of religion (article 25-28)
This indicates the secular nature of our Indian polity. There is equal respect given to all religions. There is freedom of profession, practice & propagation of religion. The state has no official religion. Every person has the right to freely practice his faith, and establish & maintain religious & charitable institutions.
• Cultural & educational rights (article 29-30)
These rights protect the rights of religions, cultural & linguistic minorities to preserve their heritage & culture. Educational rights are there to ensure education for all without any discrimination.
• Right to constitutional remedies (article 32)
In case of violation of these rights, one can approach the Supreme Court which can issue writs for enforcing these rights.
Thus, fundamental rights are very important because they are like the backbone of the country. They are essential for safeguarding the people’s interests.
Our constitution has provided 3 types of rights – legal rights, human rights & fundamental rights which are very essential for citizens of the country. Human existence is meaningless without these rights. Without these rights, citizens are like a body without a soul.