This Article will cover the most Important and basic rights enshrined in Indian Constitution :- Fundamental Rights.
All six fundamental rights and articles related to them are explained here.
What are Fundamental Rights enshrined in the Constitution of India?
Fundamental rights are the basic human rights enshrined in the Constitution of India which are guaranteed to all citizens. They are applied without discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, etc. Significantly, fundamental rights are enforceable by the courts, subject to certain conditions. It guarantee civil liberties such that all Indians can lead their lives in peace and harmony as citizens of India.
Fundamental Rights And Articles Related to it
Articles 12-35 of Indian Constitution deal with Fundamental Rights. These human rights are conferred upon the citizens of India for the Constitution tells that these rights are inviolable. Right to Life, Right to Dignity, Right to Education etc. all come under one of the six main fundamental rights.
What are the six Fundamental Rights?
The six fundamental rights are:
1.Right to equality (Article 14–18)
The Right to Equality is one of the chief guarantees of the Constitution. It is embodied in Articles 14–18, which collectively encompass the general principles of equality before law and non-discrimination and Articles 17–18 which collectively encompass further the philosophy of social equality.
Article 14 : Article 14 guarantees equality before law as well as equal protection of the law to all people within the territory of India. This includes the equal subjection of all persons to the authority of law, as well as equal treatment of persons in similar circumstances.
Article 15 : Article 15 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, and also gender or any of them. This right can be enforced against the State as well as private individuals, with regard to free access to places of public entertainment or places of public resort maintained partly or wholly out of State funds. However, state is not precluded from making special provisions for women and children or any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens, including the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, exception has been provided since the classes of people mentioned are considered deprived and in need of special protection.
Article 16 : Article 16 guarantees equality of opportunity in matters of public employment and prevents the State from discriminating against anyone in matters of employment on the grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, place of residence or income.
Article 17 : Article 17 abolishes the practice of untouchability in any form, making it an offense punishable by law. The Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 was enacted by Parliament to further this objective.
Article 18 : Article 18 prohibits the State from conferring any titles other than military or academic distinctions, and the citizens of India cannot accept titles from a foreign state. Thus, Indian aristocratic titles and title of nobility conferred by the British have been abolished. However, military and academic distinctions can be conferred on the citizens of India.
2.Right to freedom (Article 19–22)
The Right to Freedom is covered in Article 19 to 22, with the view of guaranteeing individual rights that were considered vital by the framers of the Constitution, and these Articles also include certain restrictions that may be imposed by the State on individual liberty under specified conditions. Article 19 guarantees six freedoms in the nature of civil rights, which are available only to citizens of India.
These include the freedom of speech and expression, freedom of assembly without arms, freedom of association, freedom of movement throughout the territory of our country, freedom to reside and settle in any part of the country of India and the freedom to practice any profession. All these freedoms are subject to reasonable restrictions that may be imposed on them by the State, listed under Article 19 itself. The grounds for imposing these restrictions vary according to the freedom sought to be restricted and include national security, public order, decency and morality, contempt of court, incitement to offences and defamation.
Right to information (RTI)
Article 19 : Right to information has been given the status of a fundamental right under Article 19(1) of the Constitution in 2005. Article 19 (1) under which every citizen has freedom of speech and expression and the right to know how the government works, what roles it plays, what its functions are, and so on.
Article 20 :Article 20 provides protection from conviction for offences in certain respects, including the rights against ex post facto laws, double jeopardy and freedom from self-incrimination.
Article 21 : Protection of life and personal liberty is also stated under the right to life and personal liberty. Article 21 declares that no citizen can be denied his life and liberty except by due process of law. This means that a person’s life and personal liberty can be disputed only if that person has committed a crime. However, the right to life does not include the right to die and hence, suicide or any attempt thereof, is deemed an offence (attempted suicide being interpreted as a crime has seen many debates. The Supreme Court of India gave a landmark ruling in 1994. The court repealed section 309 of the Indian penal code, under which people attempting suicide could face prosecution and prison terms of up to one year). In 1996, another Supreme Court ruling nullified the earlier one. But with the passage of the Mental Healthcare Bill 2017, attempted suicide has been decriminalised. “Personal liberty” includes all the freedoms which are not included in Article 19 (that is, the six freedoms). The right to travel abroad is also covered under “personal liberty” in Article 21.
Article 22 : Article 22 provides specific rights to arrested and detained persons, in particular the rights to be informed of the grounds of arrest, consult a lawyer of one’s own choice, be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours of the arrest, and the freedom not to be detained beyond that period without an order of the magistrate. The Constitution also authorizes the State to make laws providing for preventive detention, subject to certain other safeguards present in Article 22.
3.Right against exploitation (Article 23–24)
The Right against Exploitation contained in Articles 23–24, lays down certain provisions to prevent exploitation of the weaker sections of the society by individuals or the State.
Article 23 : Article 23 prohibits human trafficking, making it an offence punishable by law, and also prohibits forced labour or any act of compelling a person to work without wages where he was legally entitled not to work or to receive remuneration for it. However, it permits the State to impose compulsory service for public purposes, including conscription and community service.
Article 24 : Article 24 prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 years in factories, mines and other hazardous jobs. Parliament has enacted the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, providing regulations for the abolition of, and penalties for employing, child labour, as well as provisions for rehabilitation of former child labourers.
4.Right to freedom of religion (Article 25–28)
The Right to Freedom of Religion, covered in Articles 25–28, provides religious freedom to all citizens and ensures a secular state in India. According to the Constitution, there is no official State religion, and the State is required to treat all religions equally, impartially and neutrally.
Article 25 : Article 25 guarantees all persons the freedom of conscience and the right to preach, practice and propagate any religion of their choice. This right is, however, subject to public order, morality and health, and the power of the State to take measures for social welfare and reform. The right to propagate, however, does not include the right to convert another individual, since it would amount to an infringement of the other’s right to freedom of conscience.
Article 26 : Article 26 guarantees all religious denominations and sects, subject to public order, morality and health, to manage their own affairs in matters of religion, set up institutions of their own for charitable or religious purposes, and own, acquire and manage a property in accordance with law. These provisions do not derogate from the State’s power to acquire property belonging to a religious denomination.
Article 27 : Article 27 guarantees that no one can be compelled to pay taxes for the promotion of any particular religion or religious institution.
Article 28 : Article 28 prohibits religious instruction in a wholly or partially state-funded educational institution, and educational institutions receiving aid from the State cannot compel any of their members to receive religious instruction or attend religious worship without their (or their guardian’s) consent.
5.Cultural and educational rights (Article 29–30)
The Cultural and Educational rights, given in Articles 29 and 30, are measures to protect the rights of cultural, linguistic, and religious minorities, by enabling them to conserve their heritage and protecting them against discrimination.
Article 29 : Article 29 grants any section of citizens having a distinct language, script, or culture of its own, the right to conserve and develop the same, and thus safeguards the rights of minorities by preventing the State from imposing any external culture on them. It also prohibits discrimination against any citizen for admission into any educational institutions maintained or aided by the State, on the grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them. However, this is subject to reservation of a reasonable number of seats by the State for socially and educationally backward classes, as well as reservation of up to, 50 percent of seats in any educational institution run by a minority community for citizens belonging to that community.
Article 30 : Article 30 confers upon all religious and linguistic minorities the right to set up and administer educational institutions of their choice in order to preserve and develop their own culture, and prohibits the State, while granting aid, from discriminating against any institution on the basis of the fact that it is administered by a religious or cultural minority. The term “minority”, while not defined in the Constitution, has been interpreted by the Supreme Court to mean any community which numerically forms less than 50% of the population of the state in which it seeks to avail the right under Article 30.
6.Right to constitutional remedies (Article 32)
Article 32 : Article 32 provides a guaranteed remedy, in the form of a Fundamental Right itself, for enforcement of all the other Fundamental Rights, and the Supreme Court is designated as the protector of these rights by the Constitution. The Supreme Court has been empowered to issue writs, namely habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, certiorari and quo warranto, for the enforcement of the Fundamental Rights, while the High Courts have been empowered under Article 226 – which is not a Fundamental Right in itself – to issue these prerogative writs even in cases not involving the violation of Fundamental Rights.
Article 33. Parliament may, by law, determine to what extent any of the rights conferred by this Part shall, in their application to,
(a) the members of the Armed Forces; or
(b) the members of the Forces charged with the
maintenance of public order; or
(c) persons employed in any bureau or other
organisation established by the State for purposes of
intelligence or counter intelligence; or
(d) person employed in, or in connection with,
the telecommunication systems set up for the
purposes of any Force, bureau or organisation
referred to in clauses (a) to (c),
be restricted or abrogated so as to ensure the proper
discharge of their duties and the maintenance of
discipline among them.]
Article 34 : Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this Part, Parliament may by law indemnify any person in the service of the Union or of a State or any other person in respect of any act done by him in connection with the maintenance or restoration of order in any area within the territory of India where martial law was in force or validate any sentence passed, punishment inflicted, forfeiture ordered or other act done under martial law in such area.
Article 35 : Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution,—
(a) Parliament shall have, and the Legislature of a State shall not have, power to make laws—
(i) with respect to any of the matters which under clause (3) of article 16, clause (3) of article 32, article 33 and article 34 may be provided for by law made by Parliament; and
(ii) for prescribing punishment for those acts which are declared to be offences under this Part, and Parliament shall, as soon as may be after the commencement of this Constitution, make laws for prescribing punishment for the acts referred to in sub-clause (ii);
(b) any law in force immediately before the commencement of this Constitution in the territory of India with respect to any of the matters referred to in sub-clause (i) of clause (a) or providing for punishment for any act referred to in sub-clause (ii) of that clause shall, subject to the terms thereof and to any adaptations and modifications that may be made therein under article 372, continue in force until
altered or repealed or amended by Parliament.
Penalties or Punishment for Violation of any of the Fundamental Right?
The rights include individual rights common to most liberal democracies, such as equality before law, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, freedom to practice religion and the right to constitutional remedies for the protection of civil rights by means of writs such as habeas corpus. Violations of these rights result in punishments as prescribed in the Indian Penal Code, subject to discretion of the judiciary.