Home   »   Fundamental Rights of Constitution of India

Fundamental Rights of Constitution of India

The Consitution of India embodies a list of Fundamental Rights. These Fundamental Rights of constitution of india are contained in Article 12 to 35 in Part III of the Indian Constitution. Fundamental Rights are essential for the proper moral and material upliftment of the people. These are an integral part of the Constitution and hence cannot be altered or taken away by ordinary legislation. If any of the rights are violated the individual affected is entitled to move to the Supreme Court or the High  Court for the protection and enforcement for his rights. The Fundamental Rights cease to exist or are suspended only in case of a national emergency.

Fundamental Rights: Importance

The Fundamental Rights in the Indian Constitution are borrowed from the Constitution of the USA. All people, irrespective of race, religion, caste or sex, have been given the right to move to the Supreme Court and the High Courts for the enforcement of their fundamental rights. The fundamental rights were included in the constitution because they were considered essential for the development of the personality of every individual and to preserve human dignity. There are six ( 6 ) Fundamental Rights in the Indian Constitution.

  1. Right to equality(Articles. 14-18)
  2. Right to Freedom (Articles. 19-22)
  3. Right Against Exploitation (Articles. 23-24)
  4. Right to Freedom of Religion (Articles. 25-28)
  5. Cultural and Educational Rights (Articles. 29-30), and
  6. Right to Constitutional Remedies (Articles. 32-35)

Before 1979, there were seven Fundamental Rights. The 7th Fundamental Rights, “Right to Property” contained in Article 31 of the Indian Constitution. It was abolished by the Consitution through the 44th Amendment Act 1978 with effect from 20th June 1979.

Fundamental Rights

The six Fundamental Rights has been discussed below.

  1. Right to Equality: It secures “equality of status and opportunity” among all sections and status of the society. It is contained in the Article 14-18.
Article Salient Features
Art 14  It is the kingpin of the fundamental right to equality. It proclaims, “The state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.”  The equality before the law is guaranteed to all without regard to race, colour, or nationality.
Art 15 It prohibits the State to discriminate any citizen on grounds only of religion, caste, sex, place of birth. This article further states that no person shall on any ground be denied access to shops, hotels, places of public entertainment, use of wells and tanks, etc. Nothing in this article shall prevent the state from making any special provisions for women and children.
Art 16 It guarantees that the State cannot discriminate against a citizen in the matters of employment. However, the state can make reservations for the SC/ST/OBC category of candidates in public employment.
Art 17 It abolishes the age old practice of Untouchability and forbids its practice in any form. Untouchability refers to a social practice that looks down upon certain oppressed classes solely on account of their birth and makes any discrimination against them on this ground.
Art 18 It prohibits the State from conferring any titles. “Citizens of India cannot accept titles from a foreign State. The British government had created an aristocratic class known as Rai Bahadurs and Khan Bahadurs in India – these titles were also abolished. However, Military and academic distinctions can be conferred on the citizens of India. The awards of Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan cannot be used by the recipient as a title and do not, accordingly, come within the constitutional prohibition“.

2. Right to Freedom: It promotes the idea of liberty conferred upon the citizens of India. It is contained in the  Article 19-22.

Articles Salient Features
Art. 19 The Right to Freedom guarantees to the citizens of India six Fundamental Freedoms: 1) Freedom of Speech and Expression, 2) Freedom of Assembly, 3) Freedom to form associations, 4) Freedom of Movement, 5) Freedom to reside and to settle, and 6) Freedom of profession, occupation, trade, or business.
Art. 20 It gives protection in respect of conviction for offences.
Art. 21 It gives the right to life, personal liberty and the right to die with dignity (passive euthanasia). Thus, Article 21 does not recognise the Right to Life and Personal Liberty as an absolute right but limits the cope of the right itself.
Art. 22 It provides protection against arrest and detention in certain cases. Firstly, it gives the right of every person who is arrested to be informed of the cause of his arrest; secondly, his right to consult and to be defended by a lawyer of his choice. Thirdly, every person arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before the nearest Magistrate within a period of twenty-four hours and shall be kept in continued custody only with his authority.

3. Right Against Exploitation: It aims at preventing exploitation of the weaker sections of the Indian society by unscrupulous individuals or even by the state. It is contained in Articles 23 and 24.

Article Salient Features
Art 23 It prohibits traffic in human beings, women, children, beggars or other forced labor militate against human dignity.
Art 24 It prohibits employing children below the age of 14 years in any hazardous job.

4. Right to Freedom of Religion: Under this fundamental right, any citizen has the right to practice any religion. This is contained in the Articles 25-28.

Article Salient Features
Art 25  It offers freedom of Conscience and Free Profession, Practice and Propagation of Religion
Art 26 It helps to manage religious affairs, which is subject to public order, morality and health, every religious denomination or any section.
Art 27 It provides freedom not to pay taxes for religious expenses on the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion.
Art 28 It prohibits religious instructions in educational institutions wholly maintained by the state.

5. Cultural and Educational Rights: It guarantees every citizen, minorities in particular, cultural and educational rights. This is contained in Articles 29-30.

Articles Salient Features
Art 29  It provides protection of the interests of minorities. A minority community can effectively conserve its language, script, or culture by and through an educational institution.
Art 30 It states the rights of minorities whether based on religion or language to establish and administer educational institutions.

6. Right to Constitutional Remedies: This right is present for enforcement of fundamental rights. It is contained in the Articles 32-35.

Articles Salient Features
Art 32 It provides the right to Constitutional remedies which means that a person has the right to move to the Supreme Court or the high courts to protect his/her fundamental rights. While the Supreme Court has the power to issue writs under Article 32, High Courts have been given same powers under article 226. According to B.R. Ambedkar, it is  “the heart and soul of the Indian constitution.
Art 33 It empowers the Parliament to modify the application of Fundamental Rights to the armed forces or forces charged with the maintenance of public order.
Art 34 Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this Part, Parliament may by law indemnify any person in the service of the Union or of a State or any person in respect of any act done by him in connection with the maintenance or restoration or order in any area within the territory of India where martial law was in force or validate any sentence passed, the punishment inflicted, forfeiture ordered or other act done under martial law in such area.
Art 35 Parliament shall have, and the Legislature of a State shall not have, the power to make laws

The Fundamental Rights in accordance with the Articles form a major part of all the competitive exams ranging from UPSC, SSC, to PSC exams. This article has covered the aspects of questions which are often common for any govt. job aspirant.

Fundamental Rights: FAQ’S

Q 1. How many Fundamental Rights of India are there?
Ans. There are six Fundamental Rights.

Q2. Which Fundamental Right is abolished by the Consitution?
Ans: The 7th Fundamental Rights, ‘Right to Property’ contained in Article 31 of the Indian Constitution is abolished by the Consitution through the 44th Amendment Act 1978 with effect from 20th June 1979.

Q3. When are Fundamental Rights are suspended or cease to exist?
Ans: The Fundamental Rights cease to exist or are suspended only in case of a national emergency.

Q4. Which Article is the ‘Heart and Soul of the Indian constitution?
Ans: According to B.R. Ambedkar, Article 32 is ‘the heart and soul’ of the Indian constitution.