Constitution of India – Fundamental Rights

Rights:

  • Dictionary meaning of word “RIGHTS” is a moral or legal entitlement to have or do something.
  • Rights are the claims to do or have certain things which are essential for complete development of every citizen, Using these rights citizen can live dignified life without any harassment or interference by the state or any other individual.
  • The rights of Indian Citizens are discussed in Part III of Indian constitution.

Fundamental Rights:

  • India is a democratic nation, hence the state guarantees certain basic or fundamental rights to all its citizens.
  • It helps in smooth functioning of the state and therefore the goals of social, economic, political and cultural development of the nation can be achieved.
  • These rights safeguard every citizen against the abuse or misuse of power by the government.
  • At the same time from an individual or a group. It provides protection for religious, cultural, social and political minorities. Indian constitution has given SIX fundamental rights.


Actual Extract of Constitution is as follows

Article 12: Definition:

  • In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires, “the State” includes the Government and Parliament of
    India and the Government and the Legislature of each of the States and all local or other authorities within the
    territory of India or under the control of the Government of India.

Article 13: Laws inconsistent with or in derogation of the fundamental rights:

  1. All laws in force in the territory of India immediately before the commencement of this Constitution, in so far as they are inconsistent with the provisions of this Part, shall, to the extent of such inconsistency, be void.
  2. The State shall not make any law which takes away or abridges the rights conferred by this Part and any law made in contravention of this clause shall, to the extent of the contravention, be void.
  3. In this article, unless the context otherwise requires,—
    (a) “law” includes any Ordinance, order, bye-law, rule, regulation, notification, custom or usage having
    in the territory of India the force of law;
    (b) “laws in force” includes laws passed or made by a Legislature or other competent authority in the
    territory of India before the commencement of this Constitution and not previously repealed, notwithstanding that any such law or any part thereof may not be then in operation either at all or in particular areas.
  4. Nothing in this article shall apply to any amendment of this Constitution made under article 368. ( Added by the Constitution (Twenty-fourth Amendment) Act, November 1971, s.2. by the then Indira Gandhi government)

Analysis:

  • Article 13 that the Constitution prohibits the Parliament and the state legislatures from making laws that “may take away or abridge the fundamental rights” guaranteed to the citizens of the country.
  • The provisions under Article 13 ensure the protection of the fundamental rights and consider any law “inconsistent with or in derogation of the fundamental rights” as void.
  • The Supreme Court has observed that the Article 13 refers to a ‘legislative’ law (made by a legislature) and does not include a ‘constituent’ law (made to amend the Constitution)
  • Using article 13. The Indian judiciary is approached to ensure fairness in administrative action
  • Using article 13. The Indian judiciary is approached to rule on questions of legislative competence, mainly in the context of Center-state relations.
  • Article 13 section 4 was added by the Constitution (Twenty-fourth Amendment) Act, November 1971, s.2. by the then Indira Gandhi government. The objective was to nullify the Supreme Court’s ruling that had left the Parliament with no power to curtail the Fundamental Rights. This provision added more power to the Parliament when it comes to amending the Constitution. It brought Fundamental Rights within the purview of amendment procedure and judicial intervention or review of those amendments was prohibited. The amendment faced criticism from media, the jurists and the members of the Constituent Assembly. This new provision made it obligatory for the President to give his assent when a Constitution Amendment Bill is submitted to him.


Actual Extract of Constitution for Right of Equality is as follows

Right of Equality

Article 14: Equality before law:

  • The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.

Article 15: Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth:

  1. The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.
  2. No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to (a) access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment; or (b) the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of the general public.
  3. Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children.
  4. Nothing in this article or in clause (2) of article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision
    for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes
    and the Scheduled Tribes. (Added by the Constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1951, s. 2.)
  5. Nothing in this article or in sub-clause (g) of clause (1) of article 19 shall prevent the State from making
    any special provision, by law, for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of
    citizens or for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes in so far as such special provisions relate to their
    admission to educational institutions including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by
    the State, other than the minority educational institutions referred to in clause (1) of article 30.

Article 16: Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment:

  • There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.
  • No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them, be ineligible for, or discriminated against in respect of, any employment or office under the State.
  • Nothing in this article shall prevent Parliament from making any law prescribing, in regard to a class or classes of employment or appointment to an office [under the Government of, or any local or other authority within, a State or Union territory, any requirement as to residence within that State or Union territory] prior to such employment or appointment.
  • Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provision for the reservation of appointments
    or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State.
  • Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provision for reservation 3[in matters
    of promotion, with consequential seniority, to any class] or classes of posts in the services under the State in favour of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes which, in the opinion of the State, are not adequately represented in the services under the State.]
  • Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from considering any unfilled vacancies of a year which are reserved for being filled up in that year in accordance with any provision for reservation made under clause (4)
    or clause (4A) as a separate class of vacancies to be filled up in any succeeding year or years and such class of
    vacancies shall not be considered together with the vacancies of the year in which they are being filled up for
    determining the ceiling of fifty percent. reservation on a total number of vacancies of that year.]
  • Nothing in this article shall affect the operation of any law which provides that the incumbent of an office
    in connection with the affairs of any religious or denominational institution or any member of the governing body thereof shall be a person professing a particular religion or belonging to a particular denomination.


Article 17: Abolition of Untouchability:

  • “Untouchability” is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden. The enforcement of any disability arising out of “Untouchability” shall be an offense punishable in accordance with law.

Article 18: Abolition of titles:

  1. No title, not being a military or academic distinction, shall be conferred by the State.
  2. No citizen of India shall accept any title from any foreign State.
  3. No person who is not a citizen of India shall, while he holds any office of profit or trust under the State, accept without the consent of the President any title from any foreign State.
  4. No person holding any office of profit or trust under the State shall, without the consent of the President, accept any present, emolument, or office of any kind from or under any foreign State

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