Introduction to Fundamental Rights

Introduction to Fundamental Rights

This article deals with ‘Introduction to Fundamental Rights .’ This is part of our series on ‘Polity’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here


Constitution and Fundamental Rights

  • Article 12-35 of Part III deals with Fundamental Rights

Why are Fundamental Rights fundamental

  • Protected and guaranteed by Constitution which is fundamental law of land
  • Most essential for all round development of individual

Fali S Nariman : Individuals possess basic human rights independently of any Constitution by reason of the fact that they are members of the human family. A Constitution does not “confer” Fundamental Rights. It confirms their existence and accords them protection.

Present Status of Fundamental Rights

Originally 7 now 6 only (Right to Property conferred by Article 31 was removed by 44th Amendment and now it is legal right under Article 300-A Part XII)

1 . Right To Equality(14-18)

Article 14 Equality before law & Equal protection of law
Article 15 Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion ,race, caste,  place of birth or sex only
Article 16 Equality of opportunity in matter of public employment
Article 17 Abolition of Untouchability
Article 18 Abolition of titles except military and academic

2. Right to Freedom (19-22)

Article 19 Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of
1. Speech
2. Assembly
3. Association
4. Movement
5. Residence
6. Profession
Article 20 Protection wrt conviction of offences
Article 21 Protection of life & personal liberty
Article 21A Right to elementary education
Article 22 Protection against arrest & detention

Features of Fundamental Rights

  • Some are available to citizens only &  others to all persons
  • They are qualified & not absolute  ie state can impose reasonable restrictions on them but whether it is reasonable or not is decided by court
  • Most of them against arbitrary action of state with few against action of private individual. If rights that are protected against states action is violated by person only legal remedy and not constitutional remedy is available
  • Most of them negative in character but some are positive in character too conferring certain privileges
  • Not sacrosanct and can be repealed or modified but only by Constitutional Amendment (but in such a way that they don’t affect Basic Structure )
  • Can be suspended during national emergency except Article 20 & 21 and Article 19 can be suspended only in External emergency & not internal
  • Most of them are directly enforceable while others can be enforced by law. But such laws can be made by Parliament to ensure uniformity in whole country( Article 35)

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