Fundamental Rights



Part-III of the Constitution – Article (12-35)

  • Considered as the hallmark of the democracy, fundamental rights are meant for the development of the individual as well as the society.
  • Justiciable in nature (i.e. they are legally enforceable by the court of law).
  • It promotes political democracy.
  • Not absolute in nature & have some restrictions.
  • Parliament can amend them but not those provisions that form the “basic” structure of the Constitution.
  • Suspended during National Emergency (Except Article 20 & 21).
    -(Article 20 – Protection in respect of conviction for offences).
    -(Article 21 – Protection of life and personal liberty).

Broadly Fundamental Rights are classified into the following groups:

Right to Equality (Art. 14-18): Equality Before Law : under Article 14, No Discrimination on Grounds of Religion, Race, Caste, Sex, Place of Birth or any of them, Article 15, Equality of Opportunity in Matters of Public Employment: Article 16, Abolition of Un-touchability, Under article 17, Abolition of Titles: Under Article 18

Right to Freedom, (Art. 19-22): Our Constitution in Article 19 guarantees six Fundamental Freedoms against state action and not private individuals. These freedoms ensure free speech, discussion and exchange of opinions, including freedom of the press. However these freedoms are not absolute. During National Emergency these are restricted.

Right to against Exploitation (Article 23-24): Right against exploitation prohibits all forms of forced labour as well as hu-man trafficking. Any violation of this provision is an offence punishable under law.

Prohibition on employment of children below the age of 14 years in any factory,mine or hazardous occupations.

Right to Freedom of Religion (Article 25-30)

The Constitution guarantees to every person freedom of conscience and the right to practise and propagate any religion.

It also permits every religious group, the right to manage its own affairs in matters of religion.

Constitution lays down that no religious education can be imparted in any educa-tional institution which is wholly maintained out of the state funds.

Right to Freedom of Religion is not absolute and can be restricted on the grounds of public order, morality and health.

But, the state shall not impose restrictions arbitrarily.

Cultured and Educational Rights (Article 29-30)

Article 29 and 30, provide guarantees to preserve, maintain and promote culture and language of its citizens.

The Constitution allows minorities to establish and maintain educational institutions of their own.

It also provides that the state shall not discriminate against any educational institution while granting financial aid on the grounds that it is being run by a minority community.

These rights ensure that minorities will get assistance by the state in the preservation of their language and culture.

Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32)

Article 32 of our Constitution provides for legal remedies for the protection of all these rights against their violation by the State or other institutions or individuals.

It entitles the citizens of India to move the Supreme Court or High Courts for the enforcement of these rights. Any law that may be in conflict with the Fundamental Rights stands null and void.

Right to Education (Article 21-A)

This is recently added by the 86th Amendment, and a new article 21-A has been added.

“The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen in such a manner as the State may by law determine”.

Right to Constitutional Remedies Article 32: The right to constitutional remedy was created as one of the main fundamental rights, because the Constitution recognised the need to protect the rights of the citizens.

Dr BR Ambedkar said, Article 32 is the heart and soul of the Constitution.

In case of any one of the Fundamental Rights being deprived or denied to the resident of the country, the individual or the party has the right to present their case in a court. In this case, the court has the flexibility to assign writs to the public in the form of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quowarranto and certiorari.

In the case of a national emergency, the Government has the flexibility to append or repeal the right of the citizen. According to Article 32, Indian citizens can stand up and fight for their fundamental rights if they are breached.

Types of Writs

Habeas Corpus

Meaning: The Latin word means to have a body

Purpose: It is a remedy to a common man when he is imprisoned without legal sanction.

Mandamus

Meaning: The Latin word, means ‘we order’ or ‘We command’

Purpose: It is a remedy in which an order is passed on from a superior institution to a supplementary, subordinate court or authority that prohibits the court or government official from performing a certain act under the nature of statutory obligation.

Prohibition

Meaning: Forbid

Purpose: Prohibition is writ issued by the High Court or the Supreme Court to the local courts to prevent them from proceeding with a case which does not fall under its jurisdiction. When a subordinate court (Ex. Tribunals) exceeds its jurisdiction, Prohibition issued by Supreme Court or High Courts before the trial of the Courts.

Certiorari

Meaning: Means ‘to be informed’ of

Purpose: This writ orders issued to a subordinate court transfer a suit to a superior court. It is issued before a trial, when a lower court acts without jurisdiction.

Qua-Warranto

Meaning: Means what is your Authority

Purpose: Issued by the court to enquire into the legality of claim which a person asserts to a public office.