Right to Equality: This right is guaranteed under Articles 14 to 18 of the Indian Constitution and includes equality before the law, prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, sex, caste, or place of birth, and equal access to public places and facilities.
Right to Freedom: This right is guaranteed under Articles 19 to 22 of the Indian Constitution and includes freedom of speech and expression, assembly, association, religion, and movement. However, these freedoms are subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by the state in the interest of the sovereignty, security, and public order.
Right against Exploitation: This right is guaranteed under Articles 23 and 24 of the Indian Constitution and includes provisions against the trafficking of human beings, forced labor, and child labor.
Right to Freedom of Religion: This right is guaranteed under Articles 25 to 28 of the Indian Constitution and includes freedom of conscience and the right to freely practice, profess, and propagate one’s religion.
Cultural and Educational Rights: This right is guaranteed under Articles 29 and 30 of the Indian Constitution and includes the protection of the rights of minorities to conserve their culture, language, and script, and to set up educational institutions of their choice.
Right to Constitutional Remedies: This right is guaranteed under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution and gives citizens the right to move the Supreme Court for the enforcement of their fundamental rights.
It’s important to note that while these rights are considered sacrosanct, they are not absolute and can be restricted or regulated by the state in the larger interest of society. Additionally, some of the rights, such as the right to property, have been deleted from the list of Fundamental Rights and have been made into a legal right instead.
Why are fundamental rights in India important?
Fundamental Rights are essential for ensuring the basic freedom and dignity of individuals in a society. They serve as a guarantee against arbitrary state action and protect the citizens from state tyranny and oppression. The following are some of the reasons why we need Fundamental Rights:
Protection of Individual Liberties: Fundamental Rights protect the individual liberties of citizens, such as the freedom of speech, expression, religion, and movement, and ensure that the state does not infringe upon these liberties.
Promoting Equality: Fundamental Rights ensure that all citizens are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection and equal benefits of the law, without any discrimination on the basis of religion, race, caste, gender, or place of birth.
Ensuring Human Dignity: Fundamental Rights guarantee the dignity and worth of every individual, by prohibiting practices such as human trafficking, forced labor, and child labor.
Strengthening Democracy: Fundamental Rights form the cornerstone of a democratic society, as they provide citizens with the means to hold the state accountable and to express dissent.
Protecting Minorities: Fundamental Rights protect the rights of minorities, by ensuring that they have the freedom to conserve their culture, language, and script, and to set up educational institutions of their choice.
In short, Fundamental Rights play a critical role in ensuring that individuals have the freedom and autonomy to lead a life of dignity and in promoting a just and equal society.
While the Fundamental Rights are enshrined in the Indian Constitution and are legally binding, the extent to which they are followed by people varies. In many cases, these rights are violated or disregarded, particularly in instances of discrimination, oppression, or marginalization.
For example, despite the constitutional guarantee of equality before the law, instances of discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, and gender continue to occur in India. Similarly, the freedom of speech and expression, which is a fundamental right, is often curtailed by the state or by non-state actors, through censorship, intimidation, or violence.
On the other hand, there have also been instances where Fundamental Rights have been upheld and protected by the courts, civil society organizations, and the public at large. This highlights the importance of continued efforts to promote and protect these rights and to hold those who violate them accountable.
Conclusion: While Fundamental Rights are guaranteed by the Constitution, their realization in practice is dependent on the actions of individuals, the state, and civil society, and there is still much work to be done to ensure that they are respected and upheld by all.