The Fundamental Rights are defined as the basic human rights of all citizens. These rights, defined in Part III of the Constitution, apply irrespective of race, place of birth, religion, caste, creed or sex.
Fundamental Rights may well be called the soul of our Constitution. These are the very basic rights that are universally recognized as fundamental to human existence and indispensable for human development. It guarantees civil liberties such that all Indians can lead their lives in peace and harmony as citizens of India. They include individual rights common to most liberal democracies, such as equality before the law, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, freedom of religion, and the right to constitutional remedies for the protection of civil right.
The Constitution guarantees six fundamental rights to Indian citizens as follows:
1. Right to Equality (Articles 14 - 18):
Equality implies provision for equal opportunities persons for their self-development without any distinction of religion, caste, sex, wealth or status. The Right to Equality has been guaranteed by the Indian Constitution in Articles 14-18.
- Article 14 - Art. 14 of the Indian Constitution say, “The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or equal protection of the laws within the territory of India”. All are equal before the law. That means, no one can claim any special privilege. Nobody is above the law of the land.
- Article 15 - Prohibition of discrimination on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
- Article 16 - Article 16 of Indian Constitution ensures equality of opportunity for all citizens in public employment. It is further provided that in case of public employment the State cannot make any discrimination on grounds only of religion, race, sex, descent, place of birth or residence
- Article 17- Article 17 of Indian Constitution declares the abolition of untouchability and prohibit its practice in any form. The enforcement men disability arising out of ‘Untouchability’ shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law .
- Article 18 - Article 18 of Constitution of India prevents the State from conferring of title. Besides, no Indian citizen shall accept any title from any foreign state. This is considered to be an important step towards the establishment of social equality in India.
2. Right to Freedom(Articles 19 - 22): There are six rights under this category:-
- Right to freedom of Speech and Expression.
- Right to freedom of peaceful Assembly with out arms.
- Right to form associations or Unions.
- Right to Move freely throughout the territory of India.
- Right to Residence and settle in any part of the Country.
- Right to practice any Profession or carry any Trade, occupations.
3. Right against Exploitation(Articles 23 - 24):
- Article 23 - Article 23 of Indian Constitution declares Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labor.
- Article 24 - Article 24 of Indian Constitution states that the employment of children under 14 years in factories or mines, are punishable offences.
4. Rights to freedom of Religion (Articles 25 - 28):
- Article 25 - Article 25 of Indian Constitution clearly enumerates Particulars of freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion.
- Article 26 - Article 26 of Indian Constitution specifies the freedom to manage religious affairs.
- Article 27 - Article 27 of Indian Constitution states the Freedom as to payment of taxes for promotion of any particular religion.
- Article 28 - Article 28 of Indian Constitution includes freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in certain education institutions.
Exception - Except when it is in the interest of public order, morality, health or other conditions, everybody has the right to profess, practice and propogate his religion freely.
5. Cultural and Educational Rights (Articles 29 - 30):
The Constitution provides that every community can run its own institutions to preserve its own culture and language. The minorities are also given the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their own.
- Article 29 - Protection of interests of minorities.
- Article 30 - Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions
Article 31 - Omitted by the 44th Amendment Act.
6. Right to constitutional Remedies (Articles 32 - 35):
Article 32 - When a citizen finds that any of his fundamental rights has been encroached upon, he can move the supreme court, which has been empowered to safeguard the fundamental rights of a citizen. This right has been called Soul and heart of the Constitution by BR Ambedkar.
Forms of Writ check -
The Supreme Court under article 32 and the High Court 226 can issue the writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, and quo-warranto.
Habeas Corpus- It is a Latin word means “To have a body of”. It is an order issued by the Court to a person who has detained another person to produce the body of the latter before it.
Mandamus - It literally means “We Command.” A mandamus is an order from a court to an inferior government official ordering the government official to properly fulfill their official duties or correct an abuse of discretion.
Prohibition - Means “to forbid.” It is issued by the higher court to lower court to prevent the latter exceeding its jurisdiction or usurping a jurisdiction that it does not posses.
Quo- Warranto - It means “By What Authority.” It is issued by the court to enquire into the legality of claim of a person to a public office.
What are we having this liberty for? We are having this liberty in order to reform our social system, which is full of inequality, discrimination and other things, which conflict with our fundamental rights.
- B. R. Ambedkar
In Swarajya based on Ahimsa people need not know their rights, but it is necessary for them to know their duties.
- Mahatma Gandhi (Harijan, March 25, 1939)