Fundamental Rights

Introduction

  • Fundamental Rights in India are the basic rights and freedoms guaranteed to all citizens by the Constitution.
  • These rights protect individuals from any arbitrary action by the State and ensure their well-being and dignity.

Enshrinement and Significance

1. Part III of the Constitution

  • Fundamental Rights are enshrined in Part III (Articles 12 to 35) of the Constitution.
  • Considered the cornerstone of Indian democracy, providing citizens with essential protections and freedoms.

2. Judicial Protection

  • The judiciary can enforce these rights and can declare any law or action violating them as unconstitutional.

Key Fundamental Rights

1. Right to Equality (Articles 14-18)

  • Equal Protection of Laws (Article 14):

    • All individuals are equal before the law and have equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
  • Prohibition of Discrimination (Article 15):

    • Prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.

2. Right to Freedom (Articles 19-22)

  • Freedom of Speech and Expression (Article 19(1)(a)):

    • Guarantees the right to express one's thoughts, opinions, beliefs, and convictions freely.
  • Freedom of Movement (Article 19(1)(d)):

    • Allows citizens to move freely within the territory of India.

3. Right against Exploitation (Articles 23-24)

  • Prohibition of Traffic in Human Beings and Forced Labor (Article 23):

    • Bans trafficking and forced labor.
  • Prohibition of Employment of Children (Article 24):

    • Prohibits the employment of children in factories, mines, or hazardous work.

4. Right to Freedom of Religion (Articles 25-28)

  • Freedom of Religion (Article 25):

    • Provides individuals with the right to practice, profess, and propagate any religion.
  • Freedom to Manage Religious Affairs (Article 26):

    • Allows religious denominations to manage their own religious affairs.

5. Cultural and Educational Rights (Articles 29-30)

  • Right to Conserve Culture (Article 29):

    • Protects the interests of minorities by allowing them to conserve their distinct language, script, or culture.
  • Right of Minorities to Establish and Administer Educational Institutions (Article 30):

    • Provides minorities the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.

6. Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32)

  • Right to Move the Supreme Court for Enforcement of Rights (Article 32):
    • Allows individuals to approach the Supreme Court directly if their fundamental rights are violated.

Restrictions on Fundamental Rights

  • Fundamental rights are not absolute and can be restricted by the State under specific circumstances such as public order, security, morality, etc.
  • These restrictions must be reasonable and in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India.