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Fundamental Rights in the Constitution of India

May 07, 2019
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This article is written by Aditya Dubey, a student of Indore Institute of Law. The author in this article has discussed the concept of Fundamental Rights, features of Fundamental rights, exceptions, along with its origin and significance.

Introduction

Fundamental rights are enshrined under part III of the Indian Constitution which was adopted on 26th November 1949 but was put on use on 26th January 1950. These Fundamental rights guarantee that every citizen of this nation can live a life of peace and harmony throughout the territory of India and these rights were included in the constitution because they were considered to be essential for the development of each and every individual. People of all races, religion, caste, or sex, have been given the right to move to the Supreme Court or the High Court for the enforcement of these rights. These Fundamental rights are Divided into seven categories which are covered from Article 12 till Article 35 of the Indian Constitution.

Origin and development of The Concept of Fundamental rights

The Fundamental rights are considered to be an important part, if not, the most important part of the Constitution of India.fThese rights have originated from France’s Declaration of Bill of Rights of Man, England’s Bill of Rights, Development of the Irish Constitution, as well as, United States of America’s Bill of Rights.

Originally the constitution provided for seven Fundamental rights,

  1. Right to Equality (Article 14 to 18),
  2. Right to Freedom (Article 19 to 22),
  3. Right against exploitation ( Article 23 and 24),
  4. Right to freedom of religion (Article 25 to 28),
  5. Cultural and Educational rights (Article 29 to 30),
  6. Right to property (Article 31),
  7. Right to Constitutional remedies (Article 32).

But later on, the right to property was removed from the list of fundamental rights by the 44th Amendment Act of 1978. So now there are only six fundamental rights in the Constitution of India.

What are the features of Fundamental Rights?

The fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution of India have certain features that establish their uniqueness, these are:

  1. Some of the Fundamental rights are available only to the citizens of India while some are available to everyone such as Indian citizens, foreign citizens, or even companies and corporations.
  2. The state can impose reasonable restrictions on these rights, thus making them qualified and not absolute.
  3. These fundamental rights are defended and guaranteed by the Supreme Court of India, hence the aggrieved party can directly move to the Supreme Court on the infringement of these rights.
  4. These rights can be suspended during the operation of a National Emergency except the rights defined under Article 20 and 21.
  5. The application of these rights can be restricted when a military rule is imposed under abnormal circumstances to restore order (Article 34) and is very different from the imposition of a national emergency.
  6. The application of these rights can be restricted or abrogated by the parliament (Article 33), rights of armed forces, police forces, intelligence agencies, etc. can be restricted by this Article.

What are the various laws that are inconsistent with the Fundamental Rights?

What are the fundamental rights defined under the Constitution of India?

Right to Equality

Right to Freedom

Right to freedom of speech and expression (Article 19(1)(a))

Right to assemble (peacefully and without arms) (Article 19(1)(b)

Right to form associations or co-operative societies (Article 19(1)(c)

Right to freely move throughout the Indian territory (Article 19(1)(d))

Right to reside and settle also in any part of Indian territory (except for the state of Jammu and Kashmir as per Article 35A) (Article 19(1)(e)),

Right to practice any kind of profession or any occupation, trade, or business (Article 19(1)(g)).

Article 20 of the Constitution of India allows protection against unreasonable and excessive punishment to an accused individual, whether a citizen of India or a citizen of any foreign nation or even a legal person like a company or a corporation. This Article further contains three provisions:

No ex-post-facto law

No double jeopardy

No self-incrimination

Article 21 declares one of the most important fundamental right, if not the most important, the right to life. It states that no person will be deprived of his or her life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by the law. This right is available to both Citizens of India and Citizens of foreign nations in India.

Right against exploitation

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Right to freedom of religion

Cultural and Educational rights

Right to Constitutional Remedies.

What are the Writs available under Article 32 and 226?

Habeas corpus

Mandamus

Prohibition

Certiorari

Quo-Warranto

What are the exceptions to Fundamental Rights?

Saving of Laws that provide for Acquisition of Estates

Under Article 31A of the Constitution of India, Five categories of laws have been defined from being challenged on the grounds of violation of Fundamental rights granted by Article 14 and 19 of the Constitution. These categories are related to

Saving of laws that give effect to some Directive Principles

Under Article 31C (which was Inserted by the 25th Amendment Act of 1971), are contained two provisions, these are:

Validation of Some Acts and Regulations

Criticism of Fundamental Rights

The Fundamental rights have been criticised for a number of reasons, some of them are listed below:

Immoderate Limitations

Lack of Social and Economic Rights

Lacks Clarity

No Permanency

Suspended during Emergencies

Preventive Detention

Expensive Remedy

Significance of Fundamental Rights

Conclusion

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