INTRODUCTION TO FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES OF INDIAN CITIZENS


 

UNIT STRUCTURE

1. Learning Objectives
2. Introduction
3. Meaning of Fundamental Rights

1. Features of Fundamental Rights
2. Types of Fundamental Rights
3. Restrictions on Fundamental Rights

4. Fundamental Duties
6. Let Us sum Up
7. Further Readings
8. Answers To Check Your Progress
9. Possible Questions

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

 
After going through this unit, you will be able to:
describe the meaning of Fundamental Rights incorporated in the Indian Constitution
discuss the types and features of Fundamental Rights
explain the restrictions of Fundamental Rights
describe the Fundamental Duties incorporated in the Indian Constitution

INTRODUCTION


This unit introduces you about Fundamental Rights of Indian citizens. There are six Fundamental Rights of Indian citizens. These rights are peculiar in the sense that without these, no one can live in a democratic manner. Therefore framers of the Indian Constitution provide some Fundamental Rights for Indian citizens. Democracy can not work if the people do not have rights. Inclusion of Fundamental Rights prevents the government. from becoming despotic. Fundamental Rights are essential for moral and material development of the people also. People can develop their best self and personality through these rights. Though these rights are some guaranteed by the Constitution, yet the state can take back these rights temporarily during proclamation of emergency to maintain public order, security and so on. At the same time these rights are justifiable also. The courts can protect and safeguard them, if someone’s rights are violated. After all, Fundamental Rights are indispensable for good life and for the full development of human personality. Besides, this unit introduces you to Fundamental Duties of Indian citizens. These duties are enshrined in Part IV of the Constitution. These are some responsibilities or obligations of the citizens to perform for peace and prosperity of our country.


MEANING OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS


Fundamental Rights fulfil some basic and essential conditions of good life for human progress. These are fundamental in the sense that in the absence of these rights citizens cannot develop their personality and their own self. These rights are not the same as ordinary rights of citizen. Fundamental Rights are enshrined in the Constitution. These are Constitutionally protected and guaranteed to the citizens while ordinary rights are protected by the ordinary law of the country. Fundamental Rights are inviolable in ordinary situation. Only under reasonable circumstances, these rights are suspended temporarily. Right to Life, Freedom of Speech and Expression, Right to Equality, Right to Religion, Right to Personal Liberty, Right to Education are some important Fundamental Rights of Indian citizen .Every state incorporates these Fundamental Rights in their own Constitution and citizens can enjoy them . If anybody’s Fundamental Rights are violated by force he or she can go to the court seeking legal assistance. Democratic countries like India, Japan, France, Switzerland and many other countries individuals without which democracy becomes meaningless. The Constitution of India has embodied a number of Fundamental Rights in Part III. Citizens can enjoy these rights within some definite limitations.


Features of Fundamental Rights


 

  • Necessary features of Fundamental Rights are as follows:

  • Fundamental Rights are an indispensable part of our Constitution. Twenty-four articles are enjoined with these Fundamental Rights. Parliament can amend Fundamental Rights by a special procedure.

  • Fundamental Rights are only for Indian citizens. No alien is permitted to enjoy these rights except right to life, liberty and personal property.

  • Fundamental Rights are not absolute. Therefore within some reasonable restrictions citizens can enjoy them. Fundamental Rights without prescribed conditions may disrupt public order.

  • Fundamental Rights are suspend able during the time of emergency and rights of the citizen are curtailed temporarily except right to life and personal liberty (article-20-21)

  • Fundamental Rights are justifiable also. A citizen can go to the court for enforcement of his Fundamental Rights if some one violates them. Under Article 32 and Article 226 of the Indian Constitution, a citizen can approach the Supreme Court and High Court respectively in this regard.
  • Fundamental Rights are amendable also. Parliament can amend these rights by a special procedure.

  • Some Fundamental Rights are positive while some others are negative in nature.

  • Fundamental Rights aim at restoring collective interest along with individual interest.

  • Fundamental Rights are superior to ordinary law of the land. They are conferred a special sanctity.

  • Some Fundamental Rights are limited to citizens only, such as freedom of speech, assembly, and cultural and educational rights, but other rights like equality before the law, religious freedom etc are available to both citizens and aliens

  • Some provisions of Chapter-III of the Indian Constitution are of the nature of prohibitions and place Constitutional limitations on the authority of the state. For instance, no authority of the state can deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws.


 
 

Types of Fundamental Rights


There are six types of Fundamental Rights in our Constitution
I. Right to Equality (Article 14 – Article 18)
II Right to Freedom (Articles 19 – Article 22)
III Right against Exploitation (Articles 23 – Article 24)
IV Right to Religion (Articles 25 – Article 28)
V Right to Culture and Education (Articles 29 – Article 30)
VI Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32)

LET US KNOW

Right to Property, which was a fundamental right has been eliminated from the list of Fundamental Rights by the Forty-Fourth Constitution Amendment Act, 1978, and abolished it as the country intends to promote the socialistic objectives. So, now it is an ordinary legal right.


The six categories of Fundamental Rights are discussed below:

I. RIGHT TO EQUALITY ((Article 14 – Article 18): It implies equality before the law and equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. No man is above the law of the land. Every person is subject to the ordinary law and amendable to the jurisdiction of the ordinary tribunals. Any discrimination is prohibited and equality of opportunity in matters of public employment under the state is ensured. There is no distinction between officials and private citizen and no discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, religion, sex etc . But right to equality does not mean absolute equality or universal application . Some exceptions are allowed by the Indian Constitution and these limitations are as follows :
· the President or the Governor of a state shall not be answerable to any court for the power exercised or act done by him .
· no criminal proceeding shall be instituted against the President or the Governor during term of office
· exemption from taxes to certain classes of property
· imposition of taxes upon different trades and professions
· making special provisions for women and child
· making special provisions for advancement of any socially, economically and educationally backward classes like SCs and STs including special employment opportunities, which is called protective discrimination.


II. RIGHT TO FREEDOM (Article 19 – Article 22): This right is the most significant and important for the citizens. This right confers some positive rights to promote the ideal of liberty .Article-19 is the most important which guaranteed six freedom to all citizens .
These are – 19 (1) All citizens shall have the right-
(a) to freedom of speech and expression ;
(b) to assemble peacefully and without arms ;
(c) to form associations or unions ;
(d) to move freely throughout the territory of India ;
(e) to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India ; and
(g) to practice any profession , or to carry on any occupation, trade or business
Article 20 and 21 guarantee the right to life, dignity and status. Under Article 20, no person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. Similarly, under Article 21, no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law. Article 22 provides some safeguards against arbitrary arrest and detention.
Like the Right to Equality, Right to Freedom is not absolute. The state can impose reasonable restrictions upon these rights incorporated in Article-19 to maintain a balance between individual liberty and social control. When a proclamation of emergency is made under Article 352, provisions of Article-19 itself remain suspended (Art. 358)
III. RIGHT AGAINST EXPLOITATION (Article 23 – Article 24): Indian Constitution recognizes dignity of the individual against any form of exploitation either by the state or by the privileged section of the society. Therefore, Right against exploitation prohibited traffic in human beings and forced labour and employment of child in factories, mines or in any other ‘hazardous employment’. No child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any factory or minds or engaged in any other hazardous employment (Artcle 24)
The provisions of Article 23 and Article 24 absolute and the state is firm on restoration of dignity and status of the individual against any immoral purposes.

IV. RIGHT TO RELIGION (Article 25- Article 28): Indian Constitution has adopted secular ideology and declared India as a secular state, which observes and attitude of neutrality and impartiality towards all religion . There is no state religion in India. The state will neither establish a religion of its own nor confer any special patronage upon any particular religion . Every person is guaranteed the freedom of conscience and freedom to profess, practice and propagate his own religion subject to public order, morality and health . Every religious group has been given the freedom to manage religious affairs, own and acquire movable and immovable property and administer such property in accordance with law. Right to religion is also subject to certain limitations. The state has the right and duty to intervene if any religious activity creates public disorder, immorality and so on.

V. RIGHT TO CULTURE AND EDUCATION (Article 29 – Article 30):
The Constitution of India guarantees cultural and educational rights for all section of people irrespective of their religious, racial and cultural diversities. These rights are non-political in real sense. To reserve religious and cultural interest of each community, the Constitution of India incorporated these cultural and educational rights under Article 29 and Article 30. Article 29 guarantees to every minority or section of the people to preserve its language, script and culture notwithstanding the provisions of Article-343 under which the official language of the union shall Hindi in Devanagari script. The state shall not impose upon any minority group any culture other than the community’s own culture Article 29(1). Clause (2) of Article 29 provides that no citizen may be denied admission to State and State aided educational institutions on the grounds only of religion, race, caste or language. Article 30 provides that all communities shall have the right to establish and administer educational Institutions of its choice and the state shall not discriminate against them in making grants on grounds of religion, race or language. There is implicit in the right conferred by Article 30 (1), the right to impart instruction in their own institutions to the children of their own community in their own language.

This right has also some limitations. The State can regulate its affairs in the interest of efficiency of instruction, discipline, morality and public order.

VI. RIGHT TO CONSTITUTIONAL REMEDIES (Article 32): A right without remedy is a meaningless formality. Indian Constitution enumerates various rights to its citizen and in order to make these rights effective, it includes some means or remedies in the form of the Right to Constitutional Remedies under Article 32. Article 32 guarantees to every citizen the right to move the Supreme Court or High Courts for enforcement of Fundamental Rights by Constitutional means. Both the Supreme Court under Article 32 and the High Courts under Article 226 can issue necessary writs for the purpose. When a citizen feels that his Fundamental Rights have been violated, he can move the court for redressal. The Supreme Court under Article 32, Section 2) and High court under Article 226 may issue to safeguard the Fundamental Rights in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo-warranto and certiorari. These are some instruments and means to make Fundamental Rights more effective. The courts have the power to enforce Fundamental Rights by issuing these writs against any authority of the State. The Indian Constitution lays down that any act of the executive or of the legislature which violates Fundamental Rights shall be void and the courts are empowered to declare it as void (Art. 13). Thus, the Constitution of India has made the judiciary as “the protector and guarantor of Fundamental Rights”. On the other hand, this Constitutional right is the “heart and soul” of the Constitution as it can only make Fundamental Rights effective.
However the right to move the court for protection of Fundamental Rights may be suspended during an emergency except those rights provided by Article 20 and Article 21.

LET US KNOW

Though the Right to Property was a Fundamental Right, by the Forty Fourth Amendment to the Constitution in 1978 it was deleted from the list of Fundamental Right. By the said amendment, Art-19 (1)-(f) has been repealed and Art-31(1)has been taken out of part –III and made a separate Article, viz . 300 A Chapter IV in part –XII which mentions “No person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law”. So Right to property is only a legal and ordinary right and now if an individual’s right to property is violated, he can not move to the Supreme Court under Art-32. Such rights are protected by the ordinary law of the land. If an individual’s property is taken away by a public official without legal notice or in excess of the power conferred by law in this behalf, he can approach the concerned High Court under Art-226 or by an ordinary legal process.


Restrictions on Fundamental Rights


Though the Constitution of India guarantees all these Fundamental rights for the citizen, yet there are some limitation and exceptions of these rights also. A citizen can not enjoy Fundamental Rights absolutely or at will. Within some Constitutional limitation citizen can enjoy their Rights. The Constitution of India imposes some reasonable restrictions upon enjoyment of these Rights so, that public order, morality and health remain intact . The Constitution always aims at restoration of collective interest along with individual interest .For example, right to religion is subject to restrictions imposed by the state in the interest of public order, morality and health so, that the freedom of religion may not be abused to committee crimes or anti-social activities . Similarly Rights guaranteed by article-19 does not mean absolute liberty . Absolute individual rights can not be guaranteed by any modern state . There fore our Constitution also empowered the state to impose reasonable restrictions as may be necessary in the larger interest of the community . our Constitution always attempts “ to strike a balance between individual liberty and social control .” and to establish a welfare state where collective interest got prominence over individual interest .Freedom of speech and expression (Art.19-1-A) is also subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by the state relating to defamation, contempt of court, decency or morality, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states , incitement to an offence, public order, maintenance of the sovereignty and integrity of India . Freedom of assembly (Art.19-1-B) is also subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by the state that the assembly must be peaceful and without arms in the interest of public order. Freedom of press which is included in the wider freedom of expression is also subject to reasonable limitations and the state can impose restriction upon freedom of press in the larger interest of the state or for the prevention of contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence

CHECK YOUR PROGRESS


1. Fundamental Rights are mentioned in which part of Indian Constitution?
....................................……………………………………………………………………
2. Fundamental Rights are justifiable. (True/False)
.....................................……………………………………………………………………
3. Fundamental Rights are amendable. (True/False)
.....................................……………………………………………………………………
4. Fundamental Rights are absolute. (True/False)
.....................................……………………………………………………………………
5. In which Article of the Indian Constitution, the Right to life and personal liberty is mentioned ?
.....................................……………………………………………………………………
6. Describe the Right to Constitutional Remedies.(within 50 words)


FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES


When the Constitution came into force in 1950, no Fundamental Duties were enshrined in the Constitution of India. By the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution of India in 1976, ten Fundamental Duties have been added to our Constitution. These duties are important and necessary for the vital interest of our country. These Fundamental Duties are covered by Article 51 A incorporated in a new chapter, Part IV-A of the Constitution. Under this Article, it shall be the duty of every citizen of India –

(i) to abide by the Constitution and respect the National Flag and the National Anthem;
(ii) to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;
(iii) to protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India ;
(iv) to defend the country ;
(v) to promote the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India ;
(vi) to preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture ;
(vii) to protect and improve the natural environment ;
(viii) to develop the scientific temper and spirit of inquiry ;
(ix) to safeguard public property ;
(x) to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity

Fundamental Duties are like some noble advice of which some are civic duties and others are moral duties. They are not legally binding upon the citizens and even the courts can not enforce them. So, Fundamental Duties are not enforceable by the courts of our country. No one can be punished if he/she does not perform his/her duties. Though there is no legal force behind these duties, yet they are integral part to the Constitution of India. These duties have moral impact and educative value upon the citizens. Therefore people obey these duties on moral obligation for welfare of the people. After all inclusion of Fundamental Duties in the Constitution is considered necessary towards progress, peace and prosperity of the country.

Though there is no provision in the Constitution for direct enforcement of any of these duties nor for any sanction to prevent their violation, yet some Fundamental Duties are enforceable by the courts of the country. Duties like abide by the Constitution, respect the National Flag and the National Anthem, to defend the country and render National service when called upon to do so and safeguard public property etc. fall in this category and the courts can enforce them if it find reasonable relation with laws of the country. But there are some inherent draw backs of these Fundamental Duties. Actually Fundamental Duties are not binding upon the citizen. Duties inscribed in the Constitution are not exhaustive, while some duties are ambiguous. So, common people could not understand them. Yet these duties are important for National interest of our country. These duties have sanctity of its own. Besides these duties have moral and educative value upon citizen of our country. People fells that for proper enjoyment of rights, duties must be performed in a well manner. Because rights and duties are related to each other. Every right implies a corresponding duty towards individual and social welfare. Rights can not be separated from duties and vice-versa . Therefore, both rights and duties are important for the prosperity of the country in a similar manner.

CHECK YOUR PROGRESS



1. Fundamental Duties are inscribed in:
(a) Part III (b) Part IV-A (c) Part V of the Constitution
…………………………………………………………………………………

2. By which constitutional amendment, Fundamental Duties are incorpo rated in the Indian Constitution.

(a) 42nd amendment (b) 44th amendment (c) 73rd amendment
…..…………………………………………………………………………………
3. How many Fundamental Duties are incorporated in the Indian Constitution?


4. Mention any two Fundamental Duties?



 

LET US SUM UP



In this unit you have read about Fundamental Rights and duties of Indian Citizen . Both these rights and duties are closely connected to one-another. Every right implies a corresponding duty . So, when citizen enjoy their rights they should perform their corresponding duty towards other . For example , when you are going to walk in a public road you should not disturb the similar right of others . Because, others also have same right to walk in a public road and therefore, it is your duty to respect right of other so that they can walk freely like you .

FURTHER READING


1. Select Constitutions – Anup Chand Kapur and K.K.Misra
2. Indian Government and Politics – K.K.Ghai
3. Constitutional Government in India – M.V.Pylee
4. Indian Government and Politics – Prakash Chander


ANSWERS TO CHECK YOUR PROGRESS



CHECK YOUR PROGRESS 1

Q. no. 1. Part-III, Art. 12-35
Q. no. 2. True
Q. no. 3. True
Q. no. 4. False
Q. no. 5. Article 21
Q. no. 6. Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32): Article 32 guarantees to every citizen the right to move the Supreme court or High court for enforcement of Fundamental Rights by Constitutional means. Both the Supreme Court under Article 32 and the High Courts under Article 226 can issue necessary writs for the purpose in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo-warranto and certiorari. These are some instruments and means to make Fundamental Rights more effective. This Constitutional right is the “heart and soul” of the Constitution as it can only make Fundamental Rights effective. However the right to move the court for protection of Fundamental Rights may be suspended during an emergency except those rights provided by Article 20 and Article 21.

CHECK YOUR PROGRESS 2
Q. no. 1. Part-IV.A
Q. no. 2. 42nd amendment
Q. no. 3. ten
Q. no. 4. (i) to abide by the Constitution and respect the National Flag and the National Anthem;

(ii) to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national
struggle for freedom;


POSSIBLE QUESTIONS



1. What do you mean by Fundamental Rights ?
2. Do you think that Fundamental Rights are absolute ?
3. What are the six freedoms inserted in Art.-19 of the Indian Constitution?
4. Are Fundamental Rights enforceable ?
5. What are the various types of Fundamental Rights included in the Indian Constitution?
6. “India is a secular state” Explain the statement.
7. Under what circumstances can Fundamental Rights be suspended?
8. Write five Fundamental Duties of an Indian citizen.
9. Are Fundamental Duties enforceable ?
10. Explain the main features of Fundamental Rights ?
11. How can Fundamental Rights of Indian citizens be enforced ?
12. What are the provisions of making Fundamental Rights more effective?
13. Write a short note on the Right to Property .
14. Discuss the limitations of Fundamental Rights .
15. Write a brief note on the importance of Fundamental Rights.