The Constitution seeks to secure to the people “the liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship, equality of status, equality of opportunity and fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual”.

The Nehru Committee recommended the inclusion of fundamental rights in the constitution of our country. This demand of the people was not met by the British Parliament under the Government of India Act, 1935. Therefore, as soon as Constitution Assembly began to work in December 1947, in its objectives resolution, Pt. Jawarhar Lal Nehru moved for the protection of certain rights to be provided in the Constitution. The rights, as they emerged, are contained in Part lll of the Constitution, the title of which is “Pratap Singh v. State of Jharkhand, (2005) 3 SCC 511.”

SIX CATEGORIES OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS IN THE INDIA CONSTITUTION

  • Right to Equality (Article 14- 18): Right to Equality is the first fundamental right and brought the end to untouchability. It puts the principle of equality before law as well as the social equality and supports non-discrimination of people on any basis. This right also states that every Indian citizen is equal in front of the law and prohibits discrimination on the grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, or any other grounds.
  • Right to Freedom (Article 19-22): Right to freedom includes articles on freedom of speech, expression and assembly and is one of the most important of the fundamental rights. There are six frames under which freedom is made available to Indian citizens under this right. in addition to the three main rights of speech, expression and assembly, this fundamental right also provides freedom of association, profession, movement throughout the territory of our country and freedom to reside and settle in any part of India.
  • Right against Exploitation (Article 23-24): These rights help to prevent exploitation of the weaker section in different sectors by the state, organisations as well as individuals. Forced labour, working without labour, human trafficking, child labour and other illegal and ethically unjust acts are prohibited by this fundamental right. The Bonded Labour system (Abolition) Act, 1976 was enacted by the Indian parliament in support of this basic right.
  • Right to Freedom of Religion (Article 25-28): India is a secular country and the right to freedom of religion to all its citizens ensures that all states treat all religions neutrally. Every Indian citizen has religious freedom and can follow any religion of their choice. Right to freedom of religion also promotes a right to preach, practice and propagate any religion of their choice and guarantees freedom of conscience to all Indian citizens.
  • Cultural and Educational Rights (Article 29-30): The cultural and educational rights include the right to education and help to conserve various heritages of minorities and protect them from discrimination. This fundamental right safeguards the minorities and prohibits discrimination against any citizen for admission into any educational institution based on religion, race caste or language, subject to reservations in the state. This fundamental right also allows minorities to set up and administer educational institutions to preserve their heritage.
  • Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32): Right to Constitutional Remedies allows all Indian citizens to approach the Supreme Court of India to protect their fundamental rights. The SC has rights to protect the fundamental rights of citizens even against private bodies and can also award compensation to the affected individuals. The Supreme Court of India is seen as a designated protector of these rights by the Constitution.

Right to Equality
  • Article 14: Equality before law and equal protection of law
  • Article 15: Prohibition of discrimination on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
  • Article 16: Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment
  • Article 17: End of untouchability
  • Article 18: Abolition of titles, Military and academic distinctions are, however, exempted
Right to Freedom
  • Article 19: It guarantees the citizens of India the following six fundamental kinds of freedom.
    1. Freedom of Speech and Expression
    2. Freedom of Assembly
    3. Freedom of form Associations
    4. Freedom of Movement
    5. Freedom of Residence and Settlement
    6. Freedom of Profession, Occupation, Trade and Business
  • Article 20: Protection in respect of conviction for offences
  • Article 21: Protection of life and personal liberty
  • Article 22: Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases
Right Against Exploitation
  • Article 23: Traffic in human beings prohibited
  • Article 24: No child below the age of 14 can be employed
Right to freedom of Religion
  • Article 25: Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion
  • Article 26: Freedom to manage religious affairs
  • Article 27: Prohibits taxes on religious grounds
  • Article 28: Freedom as to attendance of religious ceremonies in certain educational institutions
Cultural and Educational Rights
  • Article 29: Protection of interests of minorities
  • Article 30: Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions
  • Article 31: Omitted by the 44th Amendment Act
Right to Constitutional Remedies
  • Article 32: The right to move the Supreme Court in case of their violation (called Soul and heart of the Constitution by BR Ambedkar)
  • Forms of Writ check
  • Habeas Corpus: Equality before law and equal protection of law

 

Kharak Singh v. The State of U.P. (1962)

A minority opinion recognized the right to privacy as a fundamental right. The minority judges said that right to privacy was both the right to personal liberty and freedom of movement as well.

A member of the Southern Districts Women’s Federation filed an appeal in the Madurai bench of the Madras high court against its single judge order prescribing a dress code for devotees visiting temples.

The petitioner Sarika said that if the order was implemented, women’s right to worship would be affected and violated. “The restriction in the form of a dress code is against the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Indian Constitution. Temple is a public place which is visited by persons of diverse culture and thus prescribing a dress code is a violation of customary practices,” said the petitioner.

No freedom can be unconditional or totally unrestricted. While it is essential to sustain and protect freedom of speech and expression in a democracy, it is also required to put a few curbs on this freedom for the maintenance of social order. Accordingly, under Article 19 (2), the state may make a law striking practical restrictions on the exercise of the right to freedom of speech and expression in the interest of the security of the state, public order, sovereignty, and integrity of India or in relation to the contempt of court.

 

Reference links:

  1. http://lawmin.nic.in/olwing/coi/coi-english/Const.Pock%202Pg.Rom8Fsss(6).pdf
  2. http://www.nios.ac.in/media/documents/SecSocSciCour/English/Lesson-16.pdf
  3. https://edugeneral.org/blog/polity/fundamental-rights-articles-14-18-19-22-23-24-25-28-29-30-32/
  4. https://www.legalcrystal.com/cases/search/name:fundamental-rights-constitution-of-india
  5. http://www.delhilawacademy.com/sample-fundamental-rights/