Fundamental rights are different rights that have been recognized by high authorities and are under protection from encroachment. These rights are specifically identified by our Indian Constitution.
These include individual rights common in most countries, such as equality before the law, freedom of speech and freedom of expression, religious and cultural freedom, freedom of assembly (peaceful assembly), freedom of religion (freedom to practice religion) and right to constitutional remedies for the protection of civil rights.
Fundamental rights apply every citizen of India, irrespective of race, birthplace, religion, caste, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity.
If these rights are taken away from any individual, then our constitution prescribes punishments for the violation, subject to the discretion of the judiciary. The rights given by the constitution other than fundamental rights are also important rights protected by the higher authorities. But in case of fundamental rights violations, the Supreme Court of India can be approached directly for ultimate justice as per Article 32.
Fundamental Rights in India
1. Right to equality (Articles. 14-18)
2. Right to Freedom (Articles. 19-22)
3. Right Against Exploitation (Articles. 23-24)
4. Right to Freedom of Religion (Articles. 25-28)
5. Cultural and Educational Rights (Articles. 29-30), and
6. Right to Constitutional remedies (Articles. 32)
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Right to Freedom
The Right to Freedom includes the freedom of speech and expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of association, freedom of movement throughout the territory of our country, freedom to reside and settle in any part of India and the freedom to practice any profession. All these freedoms are subject to reasonable restrictions that may be imposed on them by the State, listed under Article 19 itself. The State is also empowered, in the interests of the general public to nationalize any trade, industry or service to the exclusion of the citizens.
Right to Equality
Article 14 guarantees equality before the law as well as equal protection of the law to all people within the territory of India. This includes the equal subjection of all persons to the authority of law, as well as equal treatment of persons in similar circumstances. Article 15 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, or any of them.
This right can be enforced against the State as well as private individuals, about free access to places of public entertainment or places of public resort maintained partly or wholly out of State funds. However, the State is not precluded from making special provisions for women and children or any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens, including the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. This exception has been provided since the classes of people mentioned therein are considered deprived and in need of special protection.
Right Against Exploitation
Article 23 prohibits human trafficking, making it an offence punishable by law, and also prohibits forced labour or any act of compelling a person to work without wages where he was legally entitled not to work or to receive remuneration for it. However, it permits the State to impose compulsory service for public purposes, including conscription and community service. Article 24 prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 years in factories, mines and other hazardous jobs. Parliament has enacted the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, providing regulations for the abolition of, and penalties for employing, child labour, as well as provisions for rehabilitation of former child labourers.
Right to Freedom of Religion
The Right to Freedom of Religion, covered in Articles 25–28, provides religious freedom to all citizens and ensures a secular state in India. According to the Constitution, there is no official State religion, and the State is required to treat all religions impartially and neutrally.
Cultural and Educational Rights
Article 29 grants any section of citizens having a distinct language, script culture of its own, the right to conserve and develop the same, and thus safeguards the rights of minorities by preventing the State from imposing any external culture on them. It also prohibits discrimination against any citizen for admission into any educational institutions maintained or aided by the State, on the grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.
Article 30 confers upon all religious and linguistic minorities the right to set up and administer educational institutions of their choice in order to preserve and develop their own culture, and prohibits the State, while granting aid, from discriminating against any institution on the basis of the fact that it is administered by a religious or cultural minority.
Right to Constitutional remedies
The Right to Constitutional Remedies empowers citizens to approach the Supreme Court of India to seek enforcement, or protection against infringement, of their Fundamental Rights.
Article 32 provides a guaranteed remedy, in the form of a Fundamental Right itself, for enforcement of all the other Fundamental Rights, and the Supreme Court is designated as the protector of these rights by the Constitution. The Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to enforce the Fundamental Rights even against private bodies, and in case of any violation, award compensation as well to the affected individual. This right cannot be suspended, except under the provisions of Article 359 when a state of emergency is declared.
The Importance of Fundamental Rights: Conclusion
The fundamental rights are basic rights important for every person. This has highlighted the importance of fundamental rights. Our lives would not have been same without the fundamental rights.