Part III of Indian Constitution is about Fundamental Rights. It includes articles from 12 – 35.Part III of the Indian Constitution has been described as the “Magna Carta” of India.Fundamental rights are derived from the Constitution of USA.
The Fundamental Rights are guaranteed by the Indian Constitution to all people without any discrimination.Fundamental Rights are fundamental in the sense that they are most essential for the all round development of the individuals.Some of the Fundamental Rights i.e., Article 15,Article 16,Article 19,Article 30 are available only to the citizens.
While rest are available to all persons whether citizens,foreigners or legal persons like corporations or Companies.Originally, the Indian Constitution provided for seven Fundamental Rights.Among them,Rights to Property has been deleted as the Fundamental Right by the 44th Amendment Act,1978,and it is made a legal right under Article 300-A in Part XII of the Constitution.So, at present,there are only following six Fundamental Rights.
RIGHT TO EQUALITY
RIGHT TO EQUALITY
It says that the state shall not deny to any person (these include legal persons i.e., any association,company or individual) equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.This provision confers rights on all persons whether citizen or foreigners.This concept is borrowed from the British Constitution.
EXCEPTIONS OF ARTICLE 14
The President or the Governor is not answerable to any court for the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of his office.
No civil proceedings against them shall be instituted during their term of office.
The foreign sovereigns,ambassadors and diplomats enjoy immunity from criminal and civil proceedings.
The UNO and its agencies enjoy the diplomatic immunity.
It provides that the state shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion,race,caste,sex or place of birth.The word ‘only’ indicates that the discrimination cannot be made merely on the ground that one belongs to a particular caste,religion,sex etc.
EXCEPTIONS OF ARTICLE 15
The Article also empowers the government to make any special provision for women and children.
The state is permitted to make any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
The states is empowered to make any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for SC or ST regarding their admission to educational institutions,whether aided or unaided by the state.This provision was added by the 93rd Amendment Act,2005.
It provides for equality of opportunity for all citizens in matter of public employment.No citizen can be discriminated against or be ineligible for any employment on grounds of only religion,race,caste,sex,descent,place of birth or residence.
EXCEPTIONS OF ARTICLE 16
Residence can be made as a restriction for employment.
Special favours can be given to the backward classes which are not adequately represented.
Religion can be a ground for discrimination in special cases.These are religious institutions taken over by the state.So, the religious posts are reserved for the people of the same religious denomination.
Under this article,”untouchability” is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden.The enforcement of any disability arising out of untouchability shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.
The Parliament enacted the “Untouchability (offences) Act,1955,which prescribes the punishment for the practice of untouchability. It has been comprehensively amended and renamed as the Civil Rights (Protection) Act, 1976. The Act defines civil right as any right accruing to a person by reason of the abolition of untouchability by Article 17 of the Constitution.
The article ensures abolition of titles.It prevents the state from conferring any title.It prohibits a citizen of India from accepting any titles from any foreign state.Thus it is clear that the hereditary titles of nobility like Maharaja, Raj Bahadur, Rai Bahadur, Dewan etc. which were conferred by colonial states,are banned by Article 18 as these are against the equal status of all.
The National Awards i.e., Bharat Ratna, Padma Bhushan etc, which were instituted in January 1954,ruled that this does not amount to ‘titles’ within the meaning of Article 18.However, it is also ruled that they should not be used as suffixes or prefixes to the names of awardees.
RIGHT TO FREEDOM (ARTICLE 19-22)
|RIGHT TO FREEDOM
This Article of the Indian Constitution guarantees to all citizens the six rights
Right to freedom of speech and expressions
It implies that every citizen has the right to express his views,opinions,belief and convictions freely by word of mouth, writing, printing, picturing or in any other manner.The freedom of speech and expressions includes the following.
- Right to propagate one’s views as well as views of others.
- Freedom of press.
- Freedom of commercial advertisements.
- Right against tapping of telephonic conversation.
- Right against bandh (strike) called by a political party.
- Right to know about government activities.
- Freedom of silence.
RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT,2005
The RTI Act is to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for every citizen.The act applies to every state and union territory,except Jammu and Kashmir.
Any citizen may request information from a public authority,which is required to reply within thirty days.
RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY
Every citizen has the right to assemble peacefully and without arms.It includes the right to hold public meetings,demonstrations and take out processions.This right does not include the right to strike.
The state can impose reasonable restrictions on the exercise of right of assembly on the grounds of sovereignty and integrity of India and public order including the maintenance of traffic in the area concerned.
RIGHT TO FREEDOM TO FORM ASSOCIATION OR UNION
Every citizen has the right to form association and unions,it includes the right to form political parties,companies,partnership firms,societies,clubs,organisations,trade unions or any body of persons,State can impose reasonable restrictions on grounds of sovereignty and integrity of India,public order and morality.
RIGHT TO FREEDOM MOVEMENT
Every citizen has the right to move freely throughout the territory of the country.
Citizen can move freely from one state to another or from one place to another within a state.
The grounds of imposing reasonable restrictions on this freedom are two,the interest of the general public and the protection of interests of any scheduled tribes.
RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF RESIDENCE
This freedom gives every citizen the right to reside and settle in any part of the territory of the country.
The state can impose reasonable restrictions on two grounds,the interest of the public and the protection of interest of any scheduled tribes.
RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF PROFESSION
Every citizen has the right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation,trade or business.
The state can impose reasonable restrictions on the exercise of this right in the interest of general public.
Originally,Article 19 contained a seventh right,Right to acquire,hold and dispose of property,which has been deleted by the 44th Amendment Act of 1978.
It is now a legal right under Article 300-A in Part XII of the Indian Constitution.
The Article comprises protection in respect of conviction for offences.It grants every citizen or foreigners protection against arbitary and excessive punishment to an accused person.
This protection is available against the three types of conviction-Ex-post-facto law, Double jeopardy, Self incrimination.
The Article declares that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty,but also for the right to dignity and all other attributes of human personality that are essential for the full development of a person.
Article 21 has became the ‘Foundation Stone’ of Part III of the Indian Constitution.The Article has undergone several changes.The Supreme Court declared the following Rights as part of Article 21.
Right to live with human dignity.
Right to livelihood.
Right to privacy.
Right to shelter,health,free legal aid,travel aboard,emergency medical aid, fair trail.
Right to information.
Right to free education upto 14 years of age.
Right against solitary confinement,handcuffing,inhuman treatment,delayed execution,bonded labour, custodial harassment.
EDUCATION NOW A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT (ARTICLE 21A)
|EDUCATION NOW A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT
The Constitutional (86th Amendment) Act,2002 added a new Article 21A in the Part III of the Indian Constitution and it declares that the state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such a manner as the state may determine.Thus, this provision makes only elementary education a Fundamental Right and not to higher or professional education.
The Article grants protection to persons who are arrested or detained.The authority cannot arrest or detain a person without properly informing him/her of the grounds for such arrest/detention.
The detained/arrested person must be produced before the nearest magistrate within 24 hours of arrest.
The preventive detention laws made by the Parliament are
- Preventive Detention Act,1950,expired 1969.
- MISA, 1971, Repealed in 1978.
- COFEPOSA, 1974.
- NASA, 1980.
TADA, 1985 Repealed in 1995.
- POTA, 2002, Repealed in 2004.
RIGHT AGAINST EXPLOITATION (ARTICLE 23 AND 24)
|RIGHT AGAINST EXPLOITATION
Article prohibits traffic in human beings,begging and forced labour. Any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.The right is available for citizens and non-citizens also.
The expression ‘traffic in human beings’ means selling and buying men,women and children like goods and immoral traffic in women and children, including prostitution,devadasis and slavery.
One shall not be forced to provide labour or forced services against his will even if remuneration is paid. If remuneration is less than minimum wages, it amounts to force labour under Article 23.
The essence of Article 24 is the prohibition of employment of children below 14 years of age, in hazardous activities like factory,mine,construction, work or railway.
The child labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 has been passed in this regard.
RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF RELIGION (ARTICLE 25 TO 28)
The Article says that all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess,practice and propagate religion.
The rights in Article 25 are available for citizens and non-citizens also. However, these rights are subject to public order, morality,health and other provisions relating to Fundamental Rights.
The state is permitted to regulate or restrict any economic,financial,political or other secular activity associated with religious practice.
The Article says that every religious denomination or any section shall have the following rights
- To establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes.
- To manage its own affairs in the matters of religion.
- To own and acquire movable and immovable property and
- To administer such property in accordance with law.
The Article lays down that no person shall be compelled to pay any taxes for the promotion or maintenance of any prohibits the state from favouring, patronizing and supporting one religion over other.
According to the Article, no religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of state funds.However, this provision shall not apply to an educational institution which is administered by the state,but has been established under any endowment or trust which requires that religious instructions shall be imparted in such an institution.
CULTURE AND EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS (ARTICLE 29 TO 31)
The Article provides that any section of the citizens residing in any part of India having a distinct language,script or culture of its own,shall have the right to conserve the same.Article 29 grants protection to both religious minorities as well as linguistic minorities.
According to Article 30, all minorities, whether based on religion or language,shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their own.Thus,the protection under Article 30 is confined only to minorities and does not extend to any section of citizens,as under Article 29.
Right to Property,omitted by the 44th Amendment Act, 1976.
RIGHT TO CONSTITUTIONAL REMEDIES (ARTICLE 32)
Provides the right to remedies for the enforcement of the Fundamental Rights of an aggrieved citizen.
Dr BR Ambedkar called this Article ‘the heart and soul of the Indian Constitution’ and said that without this Article the Indian Constitution would be nullity.
Thus,the Article 32 provides a guaranteed,effective,expeditious, inexpensive and summary remedy for the protection of the Fundamental Rights,and not any rights,like non-fundamental constitutional rights statutory rights,customary rights etc.
To enforce the Fundamental Rights, the Supreme Court is empowered,under Article 32, to issue writs of various forms.
The Supreme Court (under Article 32) and the High Courts (under Article 226) can issue the writs of habeas corpus,mandamus,prohibition,certioran and quo-warranto. Thes writs are borrowed from British Constitution.
- Habeas Corpus It literally means to have a body i.e., to produce before the court.This kind of writ is issued to protect personal liberty of an individual against the arbitrary action of both the state and private individuals.
- Mandamus It literally means ‘command’. This kind of writ is issued against a public authority or an officer and inferior courts for purpose of enforcing legal rights only.
- Prohibition It literally means ‘to restrain’ or ‘forbid’.This kind of writs issued by the higher courts to the lower courts or the quasi-judicial bodies when the latter exceed their judicial authority.
- Certiorari It literally means ‘to be certified’ or ‘to be informed’.It is similar to Prohibition.This writ is issued to quash the order of a lower court or the decision of a tribunal in excess of its jurisdiction.
- Quo Warranto It literally means ‘what is your authority’.This kind of writ is issued to ensure that the person holding a public office is qualified to hold the office.
It gives power to the Parliament to modify the Fundamental Rights in their application to enforce.
Restriction on rights conferred by this part while martial law is in force in any area.
Legislation to given effect to the provision of this part.
RIGHTS OUTSIDE PART III
Besides the Fundamental Rights included in Part III,there are certain other rights know as Constitutional Rights or Legal Rights or non-Fundamental Rights.
Contained in other parts of the Indian Constitution .They are
- Article 265,Part XII–No tax shall be levied or collected expect by authority of law.
- Article 300 A,Part XII–No person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law.
- Article 301 in Part XIII–Trade,commerce and intercourse throughout the territory of India shall be free.
- Article 326 in Part XV –The elections to the Lok Sabha and the State Legislative Assemblies shall be on the basis of adult suffrage.