A right is the sovereignty of an individual to act without the permission of others. Rights may also be defined as claims of an individual against fellow-beings, society or State. Since rights are essential for the development or growth of an individual, so rights are indispensable in every society. Every State confers some rights on its citizens. Rights are essential to upkeep the dignity of an individual, for the open contribution of an individual in societal process. Rights are essential to win the loyalty of individual to the State. Moreover, rights are the pillars of democracy. Without rights democracy has no meaning. Democracy is based on right to vote, right to be elected, right to express your ideas, right to form associations and political parties.
Whereas all these are recognized by the society, some of the most important rights are recognized by the State and enshrined in the Constitution. Such rights are called fundamental rights. These rights are fundamental because of two reasons. First, these are mentioned in the Constitution which guarantees them and the second, these are justiciable, i.e. enforceable through courts. Being justiciable means that in case of their violation, the individual can approach courts for their protection. If a government enacts a law that restricts any of these rights, it will be declared invalid by courts. Such rights are provided in Part III of the Indian Constitution. The Constitution guarantees six fundamental rights to Indian citizens as follows: (i) right to equality, (ii) right to freedom, (iii) right against exploitation, (iv) right to freedom of religion, (v) cultural and educational rights, and (vi) right to constitutional remedies. While these fundamental rights are universal, the Constitution provides for some exceptions and restrictions.
Fundamental Rights are not absolute rights, but are restrictive rights. There are many grounds on which these rights can be restricted
? Maintenance of integrity and sovereignty of the country
? Maintenance of friendly relations with the foreign States
? Maintenance of public order, morality and decency
? Promotion of the interest of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or the Schedules Castes and the Scheduled Tribes
? Promotion of interest of women and children
These rights can be restricted by the State only by means of law. It is for the Supreme Court and High Courts to decide whether the restrictions so imposed are reasonable or not. During emergency all Fundamental Right except those in Article 20 and 21 can be suspended.
All laws that are inconsistent with or in derogation of any of the fundamental rights shall be void. It clearly provides to the courts the power of Judicial Review. According to the Doctrine of Judicial Review, the Supreme Court and the High Courts have been conferred on the powers under Article 32 and Article 226 to declare a law unconstitutional or invalid on the ground of contravention of any of the fundamental rights. So, all laws enacted by the Parliament, ordinances issued by the President or Governors of States, statutory instruments in the nature of delegated legislation etc. can be challenged in the courts as violating a Fundamental Right and hence, can be declared void.
Article 12: Definition of State
Article 13:Laws inconsistent with or in derogation of the fundamental rights
Article 14:Equality before law
Article 15:Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth
Article 16:Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment
Article 17:Abolition of untouchability
Article 18:Abolition of titles
Article 19:Protection of certain rights like
a) Right to freedom of speech and expression
b) Right to assemble peacefully and without arms th
c) Right to form associations or unions or cooperative societies (added by 97 Amendment in 2012)
d) Right to move freely throughout the territory of India
e) Right to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India
f) Right to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business
Article 20:Protection in respect of conviction for offences
a) No ex-post-facto law
b) No double jeopardy
c) No self-incrimination
Article 21:Protection of life and personal liberty
Article 21A:Right to elementary education
Article 22:Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases
Article 23:Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour
Article 24:Prohibition of employment of children in factories etc.
Article 25:Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion
Article 26:Freedom to manage religious affairs
Article 27:Freedom as to payment of taxes for promotion of any particular religion
Article 28:Freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in certain educational institutions
Article 29:Prtotection of interest of minorities
Article 30:Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions
Article 31:Compulsory of acquisition of property (Repealed by 44 th Constitutional Amendment Act in 1978)
Article 32:Remedies for enforcements of Fundamental Rights including writs
Article 33:Power of Parliament to modify the fundamental rights in their application to Forces etc.
Article 34:Restriction on fundamental rights while martial law is in force in any area
Article 35: Legislation to give effect to some of the provisions of fundamental rights
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