Constitutional Law Indian Constitution

Fundamental Rights Under Indian Constitution

Educational and Culturaal Rights Under Indian Constitution

Ankita Lode, a 3rd-year Law Student at Yeshwant Law College, Wardha has written this Article Fundamental Rights Under the Indian Constitution


Table of Contents

Introduction

The Constitution of India, which came into effect on January 26, 1950, serves as the supreme law of the country and provides a basis for all legislative and administrative actions. It includes Fundamental Rights, outlined in Part III of the Constitution, that are deemed necessary for safeguarding citizens from government mistreatment and tyranny. The concept of Fundamental Rights in India is a topic of great significance, and this article aims to examine its essence, importance, and effect on Indian society.

What are Fundamental Rights?

Part III of the Constitution enshrines Fundamental Rights, which guarantee a set of legal protections to all citizens of India. These rights and freedoms are essential to the well-being and dignity of Indian citizens. These are considered the cornerstone of Indian democracy. They ensure that the government cannot infringe upon the basic rights and freedoms of its citizens.

The Indian Constitution guarantees a set of basic rights, known as Fundamental Rights, to all citizens of India, regardless of their gender, race, religion, caste, or creed. These rights are considered fundamental because they are essential for the development of human personality. These are important for ensuring individual freedom and dignity. The Constitution of India recognizes the importance of these rights and guarantees their protection through various provisions.

The scope of fundamental rights in the Indian Constitution is broad and covers a wide range of areas including civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights.

The Constitution recognizes six fundamental rights:
  1. Right to Equality(Article 14-18): This includes the right to equality before the law, equal protection of the law, and prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.
  2. Right to Freedom(Article 19-21): This includes the right to freedom of speech and expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom of movement, residence, and freedom of profession, occupation, trade or business.
  3. Right against Exploitation(Article 23-24): This includes the prohibition of trafficking in human beings, forced labour, and child labour.
  4. Right to Freedom of Religion(Article 25-28): This includes the right to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion.
  5. Cultural and Educational Rights(Article 29-30: This includes the right to preserve and promote one’s culture, the right to education, and the right to linguistic and minority rights.
  6. Right to Constitutional Remedies(Article 32): This includes the right to move to the court for the enforcement of fundamental rights.
6 Fundamental Rights Articles under Indian Constitution in tabular form-
Fundamental RightArticle(s)
Right to EqualityArticle 14-18
Right to FreedomArticle 19-22
Right Against ExploitationArticle 23-24
Right to Freedom of ReligionArticle 25-28
Cultural and Educational RightsArticle 29-30
Right to Constitutional RemediesArticle 32
Table: Depicting the Fundamental Rights under the Indian Constitution

These fundamental rights are not absolute and are subject to certain restrictions in the interest of public order, morality, and the sovereignty and integrity of India. However, any restrictions imposed on fundamental rights must be reasonable and in accordance with the law.

The significance of Fundamental Rights:

The significance of Fundamental Rights lies in their ability to protect citizens from government abuse and oppression. They serve as a safeguard against arbitrary and unreasonable actions by the government, and they ensure the just treatment of citizens. In addition, Fundamental Rights promote the idea of social justice, equality, and the rule of law. They are an essential component of a democratic society and play a critical role in the development and progress of the nation.

Fundamental Rights are significant in various ways. Some of the major significances of Fundamental Rights are:

  1. Protection of Human Rights: Fundamental Rights are essential for the protection of human rights. These right protect citizens’ rights and prevent them from being subjected to any arbitrary state action.
  2. Development of Democracy: Fundamental Rights are a necessary condition for the development of democracy. They ensure that every citizen has an equal say in the decision-making process of the country.
  3. Protection against Arbitrary Actions: Fundamental Rights protect citizens from any kind of arbitrary action by the state. They provide citizens with the right to approach the court if their rights are violated.
  4. Promotion of Equality: Fundamental Rights promote equality among citizens. They ensure that no citizen is discriminated against on the basis of caste, religion, or gender.

Features of Fundamental Rights

Features of Fundamental Rights
These are enshrined in the Indian Constitution
Guaranteed to all citizens of India
Protect individual liberties and freedoms
Uphold principles of equality and social justice
Enforceable against actions of the state
Right to constitutional remedies
Restrictions on the state’s power to make laws
Cannot be suspended except in case of emergency
Include Right to Equality, Right to Freedom, Right Against Exploitation, Right to Freedom of Religion, Cultural and Educational Rights, and Right to Constitutional Remedies
Can be amended by the Parliament, subject to certain limitations
Table: Depicting features of the Indian Constitution

Part III of the Indian Constitution:

Part III of the Indian Constitution contains a detailed list of Fundamental Rights that are available to all citizens. These rights are divided into six categories, which are as follows:

Right to Equality: Articles 14-18

Article 14 of the Constitution provides for the right to equality before the law and equal protection of the laws. This means that all citizens are equal before the law. The government cannot discriminate against anyone on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. Article 15 prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. Article 16 guarantees equality of opportunity in matters of public employment.

In the landmark case of Indira Sawhney v. Union of India (1992), the Supreme Court expanded the right to equality, where the court held that reservations for socially and economically backward classes were constitutional.

Right to Freedom: Articles 19-22

Article 19 of the Constitution provides for the right to freedom of speech and expression, the right to assemble peacefully, the right to form associations or unions, the right to move freely throughout the territory of India, and the right to reside and settle in any part of the country. Article 20 guarantees protection against double jeopardy, self-incrimination, and retrospective punishment. Article 21 provides for the right to life and personal liberty.

Right against Exploitation: Articles 23-24

Articles 23 and 24 provide for the right against exploitation. Article 23 prohibits trafficking in human beings and forced labour. Article 24 prohibits the employment of children under the age of 14 in factories, mines, or other hazardous occupations. These provisions are essential to protecting the rights of vulnerable and marginalized sections of society.

Right to Freedom of Religion: Articles 25-28

Article 25 guarantees the right to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion. Article 26 provides for the right to manage religious affairs. Article 27 prohibits the use of public funds for religious purposes. Article 28 prohibits religious instruction in government-funded educational institutions.

These provisions are critical to ensuring religious freedom in India, which is a diverse and multi-religious country. The significance of these provisions can be seen in the landmark case of S.R. Bommai v. Union of India (1994), where the Supreme Court held that the government cannot interfere in the internal affairs of religious institutions.

Cultural and Educational Rights: Articles 29-30

Article 29 provides for the protection of the interests of minorities, while Article 30 provides for the right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions. These provisions are essential to promoting diversity and pluralism in Indian society.

Right to Constitutional Remedies: Article 32

Article 32 provides for the right to constitutional remedies, which allows citizens to approach the Supreme Court for the enforcement of their Fundamental Rights. This provision is critical to ensuring that citizens have access to justice and can seek redressal against government abuse and oppression.

The Golden triangle of fundamental Rights-Articles 14, 19, and 21:

There is an interconnection between three fundamental rights provided under the Indian Constitution – the Right to Equality under Article 14, the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19, and the Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21.

These three articles are often referred to as the “Golden Triangle” or the “Triangle of Justice” and are considered to be the cornerstone of the Indian Constitution. The fundamental rights guaranteed under these articles are interdependent and mutually reinforcing, and any infringement of one right may lead to a violation of the other two.

  • Article 14 of the Constitution guarantees the Right to Equality to all citizens. It ensures that the state shall not deny any person equality before the law or equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. This means that the law treats all citizens equally, regardless of their caste, gender, religion, or economic status, and guarantees them the same legal protection.
  • Article 19 of the Constitution guarantees the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression to all citizens. It ensures that every citizen has the right to express their opinions freely, without fear of censorship or retribution from the state. This right includes the freedom of the press, the freedom to assemble peacefully, and the freedom to form associations or unions.
  • The Constitution guarantees the Right to Life and Personal Liberty to all citizens through Article 21. It ensures that every citizen has the right to live with dignity and respect and guarantees that no one can deprive them of their life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law.
The interconnection between these three fundamental rights can be seen in the following manner:

Article 14 guarantees the Right to Equality, ensuring that the law treats every citizen equally, without discrimination based on any grounds, including caste, gender, religion, or economic status.

The Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19 ensures that every citizen can express their opinions freely, without fear of discrimination or persecution, and is essential for the promotion of democratic values.

The Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21 ensures that every citizen has the right to live with dignity and respect. No person can be deprived of their life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law.

The Triangle of Articles 14, 19, and 21 is significant because any infringement of one right may lead to violating the other two.

For example, If someone violates a person’s Right to Equality under Article 14, it can result in the violation of their Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19 or their Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21. Likewise, if someone violates a person’s Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21, it can lead to the violation of their Right to Equality under Article 14 or their Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19.

In conclusion, the Triangle of Articles 14, 19, and 21 is a vital concept in the Indian Constitution. These three fundamental rights are interdependent and mutually reinforcing and are essential for the protection and preservation of the rights and liberties of Indian citizens. Any infringement of these rights may lead to a violation of the other two, and it is the responsibility of both the government and the citizens to ensure that these rights are protected and respected.

Impact of Fundamental Rights on Indian Citizen:

These rights have a significant impact on the lives of Indian citizens by ensuring equality before the law, individual freedoms, protection against exploitation, freedom of religion, and access to education and cultural preservation.

The impact of Fundamental Rights can be seen in the various cases where citizens have approached the courts for the enforcement of their rights. These cases have played a critical role in shaping Indian democracy and promoting the rule of law.

Some of the landmark cases in this regard are as follows:
Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (1973)

It is one of the most significant cases in the history of Indian constitutional law as it addressed whether Parliament has unlimited power to amend the Constitution or if there exist some basic features of the Constitution that cannot be amended.d. The Supreme Court held that while Parliament has the power to amend the Constitution, it cannot change its basic structure or essential features.

Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India (1978):

This case dealt with the question of whether the right to travel abroad is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution. The Supreme Court held that the right to travel abroad is a part of personal liberty under Article 21 and cannot be denied except by a procedure established by law.

Minerva Mills Ltd. v. Union of India (1980):

This case dealt with the question of whether the Parliament can curtail or take away the power of judicial review of the Supreme Court and High Courts. The Supreme Court held that judicial review is an essential feature of the Constitution and cannot be taken away.

S.R. Bommai v. Union of India (1994):

This case dealt with the question of whether the President’s power to dismiss a state government under Article 356 is subject to judicial review. The Supreme Court held that the President’s power is subject to judicial review and that the courts have the power to declare the imposition of the President’s rule as unconstitutional.

Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan (1997):

This case dealt with the issue of sexual harassment of women in the workplace. The Supreme Court held that sexual harassment at the workplace violates the fundamental rights of women to equality and dignity. It also laid down guidelines for preventing and redressing sexual harassment at the workplace.

Naz Foundation v. Government of NCT of Delhi (2009):

This case dealt with the question of whether consensual sexual relations between same-sex adults is a criminal offence under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. The Supreme Court held that Section 377 violates the fundamental right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution. It decriminalized consensual sexual relations between same-sex adults.

Puttaswamy v. Union of India (2017):

This case dealt with the question of whether the right to privacy is a fundamental right under the Constitution. The Supreme Court held that the right to privacy is a fundamental right. It hed that it is a part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution.

Recent Case laws or Judgements of the Supreme Court related to fundamental Rights under the Indian Constitution

Aadhaar Case:

In 2018, the Supreme Court of India upheld the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme. This required Indian citizens to link their biometric data and personal information to a unique identification number. The Court, however, struck down several provisions of the scheme, including mandatory linking of Aadhaar to bank accounts and mobile phone numbers, stating that they violated the right to privacy under the Indian Constitution.

Section 377 Case:

In 2018, the Supreme Court of India decriminalized homosexuality by striking down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalized consensual homosexual activities between adults. The Court held that Section 377 violated the right to equality and freedom of expression under the Indian Constitution.

Internet Shutdown Case:

In 2020, the Supreme Court of India held that an indefinite internet shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir, imposed after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, was a violation of the right to freedom of speech and expression and the right to carry on any trade or business through the internet.

Farmers’ Protest Case:

In 2021, the Supreme Court of India passed a series of orders related to the ongoing farmers’ protests against three new agricultural laws. The Court held that the right to protest was a fundamental right under the Indian Constitution, but also emphasized the need to balance the right to protest with the right to free movement and the right to carry out trade and commerce.

Sex worker case

In 2022, The Supreme Court recognised sex work as a “profession” and granted consenting practitioners of sex work the right to dignity and equal protection under the law. The Court also directed UIDAI to issue Adhar Cards to the Sex Workers based on a proforma certificate and, using its inherent powers under Article 142 of the Constitution, issued a few directions for the rehabilitation measures in respect of sex workers.

Right to vote is a Constitutional right:

On March 3 2023, the Constitution bench comprising Justices KM Joseph, Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar was of the view that the right to vote is a Constitutional right. However, Justice Rastogi observed that the right to vote is not merely a constitutional right, but a component of Part III of the Constitution.

Difference between Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Duties

Here’s a table outlining the differences between Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Duties:

Fundamental RightsFundamental Duties
MeaningBasic human rights that every citizen is entitled toMoral obligations and responsibilities that every citizen should fulfil
Legal BasisPart III of the Indian Constitution (Articles 12-35)Part IV-A of the Indian Constitution (Article 51-A)
EnforceabilityEnforceable by lawNot enforceable by law
NatureNegative in nature, which means they impose restrictions on the state and its agenciesPositive in nature, which means they require citizens to actively participate in the welfare of society
ExamplesRight to Equality, Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression, Right to Life and Personal Liberty, Right to Education, etc.Duty to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals, Duty to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood, Duty to protect the sovereignty and integrity of India, Duty to protect and preserve the natural environment, etc.
Difference between FR and FD

It’s important to note that while Fundamental Rights are justiciable (enforceable by law), Fundamental Duties are not. However, they play a crucial role in promoting a sense of responsibility and social consciousness among citizens.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, Fundamental Rights are an integral part of the Indian Constitution and play a crucial role in upholding the principles of democracy, justice, equality, and the rule of law. The provisions under Part III of the Constitution ensure that citizens are protected against arbitrary actions by the government and can approach the courts for redressal of their grievances.

The Golden Triangle of Articles 14, 19, and 21 is considered the backbone of Indian democracy and acts as a safeguard against government abuse and oppression.

The impact of Fundamental Rights can be seen in the landmark cases that have shaped the interpretation and enforcement of these rights. Overall, Fundamental Rights are essential for the development and progress of India as a democratic nation that values the principles of justice, equality, and human rights.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Fundamental Rights under the Indian Constitution

Q: What are fundamental rights?

A: Fundamental Rights are a set of basic rights and freedoms that are guaranteed to all citizens of India, without discrimination, by the Indian Constitution. These rights are considered essential for the development and growth of an individual, and for a democratic society.

Q: What are the fundamental rights enshrined in the Indian Constitution?

A: The fundamental rights enshrined in the Indian Constitution are:

  1. Right to Equality
  2. Right to Freedom
  3. Right Against Exploitation
  4. Right to Freedom of Religion
  5. Cultural and Educational Rights
  6. Right to Constitutional Remedies
Q: What is the Right to Equality?

A: The Right to Equality guarantees that every citizen of India is equal before the law and is entitled to equal protection of the law. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.

Q: What is the Right to Freedom?

A: The Right to Freedom includes several freedoms such as the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom of assembly, the freedom to form associations, the freedom of movement, and the freedom to practice any profession, occupation, or trade.

Q: What is the Right Against Exploitation?

A: The Right Against Exploitation prohibits the trafficking of human beings, forced labour, and child labour.

Q: What is the Right to Freedom of Religion?

A: The Right to Freedom of Religion guarantees that every citizen of India has the right to profess, practice, and propagate any religion of their choice.

Q: What are Cultural and Educational Rights?

A: Cultural and Educational Rights protect the rights of minority communities to conserve their language, script, and culture. They also provide for the right of all citizens to have access to education.

Q: What is the Right to Constitutional Remedies?

A: The Right to Constitutional Remedies provides for the right to move the Supreme Court or High Courts for the enforcement of fundamental rights.

Q: Can fundamental rights be restricted?

A: Yes, fundamental rights can be restricted by the government in certain situations such as during a state of emergency, to maintain public order, or for the protection of national security.

Q: Who can enforce fundamental rights?

A: Fundamental rights can be enforced by individuals themselves, by filing a writ petition in the High Courts or the Supreme Court of India. The courts can issue orders and judgments for the protection of fundamental rights

Q: Against whom fundamental rights can be enforced

A: Fundamental rights can be enforced against the actions of the state, including the executive, legislature, and judiciary. This means that if any government authority or agency violates an individual’s fundamental rights, such as by discriminating against them, denying them access to justice, or restricting their freedom, the individual can seek legal recourse and challenge the violation in a court of law.


Also Read: Best Book on Indian Constitution


References:

  • The Constitution of India
  • Sharma, B. K. (2018). Introduction to the Constitution of India. PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd.
  • Basu, D. D. (2015). Introduction to the Constitution of India. LexisNexis.
  • Jain, M. P , Indian Constitutional Law (6th ed.). LexisNexis.
  • S.R. Bommai v. Union of India, (1994) 3 SCC 1
  • Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala, (1973) 4 SCC 225
  • Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, (1978) 1 SCC 248
  • Golaknath v. State of Punjab, (1967) 2 SCR 762
  • Sharma, R. N. (2017). Fundamental Rights and their Enforcement in India. Journal of the Indian Law Institute, 59(3), 364-382.
  • Singh, J. P. (2018). Fundamental Rights and Judicial Review. Constitutional Law of India, 118-147.
  • Jayal, N. G. (2014). Citizenship and its Discontents: An Indian History. Harvard University Press.
  • Dhanda, M. (2018). The Challenges of Protecting the Fundamental Rights of Women in India. Journal of Law and Social Change, 21(1), 55-70.
  • Chakraborty, T. K. (2018). The Role of Judiciary in Protecting the Fundamental Rights of Indian Citizens. Journal of Indian Law Institute, 60(1), 41-57.

Loading

    • 10 months ago (Edit)

    […] Fundamental Rights: […]

    • 11 months ago (Edit)

    […] Also Read: Fundamental Rights Under Indian Constitution. Click Here! […]

    • 11 months ago (Edit)

    […] as Human Rights. These human rights are protected and guaranteed by the Indian Constitution as “Fundamental Rights”. The Right to Freedom is one of the most significant fundamental rights for the citizens of […]

    • 11 months ago (Edit)

    […] Also Read: Fundamental Rights Under Indian Constitution. Click Here! […]

    • 11 months ago (Edit)

    […] one of the most important and significant parts of the Constitution. It is also known as the Fundamental Rights chapter, which lays down the fundamental rights of Indian citizens. It is one of the most extensive parts […]

Leave feedback about this

  • Quality
  • Price
  • Service

PROS

+
Add Field

CONS

+
Add Field
Choose Image
Choose Video