Fundamental Rights are an integral part of the Indian Constitution. The basic human rights of all the citizens are defined as Fundamental Rights. In part III of the Constitution, it is stated that these rights are given irrespective of a person’s gender, caste, religion, race, creed, or place of birth. These are enforceable by the courts, subject to precise restrictions. These are guaranteed by the Constitution of India as civil liberties according to which all the Indians can lead their lives in harmony and peace as citizens.
Long and Short Essay on Fundamental Rights in India
Essay 1 (250 words)
The need to provide fundamental rights to the citizens was felt after the French Revolution and the US freedom struggle. It was then that the nations around the world thought of giving some essential rights to their citizens.
Historical Background of the Fundamental Rights
‘The Declaration of Rights of Man was adopted in 1789 by the French National Assembly. The USA Constitution also included a section on Fundamental Rights. The General Assembly of UNO adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was made in December 1948. This included social, economic, political and cultural rights of the people.
In India, the suggestion of including religious and cultural rights as the basic rights of the citizens was made by the Nehru Committee Report of 1928. However, the Simon Commission did not favor this idea of inclusion of Fundamental Rights in the Constitution. At Karachi session in 1931, The Indian National Congress again demanded a written assurance for Fundamental Rights in any future constitutional setup in India. At the round table conference held in London, the demand for fundamental rights was emphasized. Later at the 2nd round table conference, a memo was circulated by Mahatma Gandhi demanding a guarantee of including – Protection of their culture, language, script, profession, education, and religious practice and to protect the rights of minorities.
In 1947, after the independence, the constituent assembly pledged for future governance. It demanded a Constitution that guaranteed all the people of India – justice, social, economic and political equality, equal opportunity, freedom of thought, expression, faith, worship, belief, association, vocation and action subject to the law and public morality. It also guaranteed special facilities for the minorities, backward classes, and scheduled caste people.
The right to equality personified within the Constitution will doubtless be thought of as a firm step towards the institution of democracy in the Republic of India. Indian nationals are being assured through these Fundamental rights that they can lead their life in harmony as long as they live in Indian democracy.
Essay 2 (400 words)
The Fundamental Rights included in the Indian constitution are a way to ensure that people get to lead a decent life in the country. These rights, however, have some peculiar features which are usually not found in the constitution of other countries.
Peculiar Features of the Fundamental Rights
Fundamental Rights are not absolute. They are subject to reasonable limitations. They strike a stability between a person’s freedom and social safety. But the reasonable restrictions are subject to legal review. Here is a look at some such peculiar features of these rights:
- All Fundamental Rights can be suspended. The right to freedom is automatically suspended during Emergency in the interest of the safety and integrity of the country.
- A number of Fundamental rights are for the Indian Citizens only, but few of the Fundamental Rights can be enjoyed by both citizens and non-citizens.
- Fundamental Rights can be amended but they cannot be abolished. The abrogation of Fundamental rights will breach the basic formation of the Constitution.
- Fundamental Rights are both positive and negative. The negative rights prevent the state from doing certain things. It prevents the state from making discrimination.
- Some Rights are available against the state. Some rights are available against individuals.
- The Fundamental Rights are justifiable. A citizen may approach the court of law when his fundamental rights are violated.
- Some Fundamental Rights may not be available to a person working in Defense services as they are restricted from some of the rights.
- The Fundamental Rights are political and social in nature. No economic rights have been guaranteed to the Citizens of India although without them the other rights are of slight or of no importance.
- Each Right is conditioned by certain duties.
- Fundamental rights have a comprehensive approach and they tend to safeguard our social, economic, cultural and religious interests.
- These are an integral part of the Constitution cannot be altered or taken away by ordinary legislation.
- Fundamental Rights are an indispensable part of our Constitution.
- Twenty-four articles are enjoined with these Fundamental Rights.
- Parliament can amend Fundamental Rights by a special procedure.
- Fundamental Rights aim at restoring collective interest along with individual interest.
There is no right that has no corresponding obligations. It is, however, worth remembering that the Constitution has very extensively elaborated rights and the courts of law have very little to twist these to suit their convenience or take shelter of duties.
Essay 3 (500 words)
The Constitution of India guarantees the Fundamental rights to its citizen and the citizens can have the right to speech and expression yet there are some restrictions and exceptions attached to these rights.
Restrictions on Fundamental Rights
A citizen cannot relish Fundamental Rights completely or at will. Within some Constitutional restriction, a citizen can enjoy their rights. The Constitution of India imposes some rational limitations upon the enjoyment of these Rights so, that public order, morality, and health remain intact.
The Constitution always aims at re-establishment of communal concerns along with individual interest. For example, the right to religion is subjected to limitations forced by the state in the interest of public order, ethics, and health so that the freedom of religion may not be ill-treated to commit crimes or anti-social activities.
Similarly, rights guaranteed by article-19 do not mean absolute freedom. Complete individual rights cannot be assured by any current state. Therefore, our Constitution also empowered the state to impose reasonable limitations as may be necessary for the larger interest of the community.
Our Constitution attempts to strike an equilibrium between individual liberty and social control and to set up a welfare state where communal interest gets importance over individual interest. Freedom of speech and expression is also subjected to logical restrictions forced by the state linking to insult, contempt of court, decency or morality, the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, stimulation to an offense, public order and maintenance of the sovereignty and integrity of India.
Freedom of assembly is also subject to reasonable limitations imposed by the state. The assembly must be non-violent and without arms and weapons and should be in the interest of public order. Freedom of the press which is included in the wider liberty of expression is also subjected to reasonable limitations and the state can inflict restriction on freedom of the press in the superior interest of the state or for the avoidance of contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offense.
It is apparent for the Indian government to preserve peace and harmony in a multi-religious, multicultural and multi-lingual nation. One can understand this concern taking into consideration the socio-political circumstances which existed in 1972 – The Bangladesh war had just ended, and the nation was yet to recover from the huge refugee incursion. It was also during that phase that local & regional parties such as Shiv Sena and Asom Gana Parishad were becoming more discordant, and religious-cultural organizations like the RSS and Jamat-e-Islami had turned out to be violent in their tone and acts. Still, it cannot be denied that the Indian government over-reacted in enacting the draconian IPC sections referred to above and, later, in striking the emergency.
No freedom can be unconditional or totally unrestricted. While it is essential to sustain and protect freedom of speech and expression in a democracy, so also it is required to put a few curbs on this freedom for the maintenance of social order. Accordingly, under Article 19 (2), the state may make a law striking practical restrictions on the exercise of the right to freedom of speech and expression in the interest of the security of the State, public order, sovereignty, and integrity of India or in relation to contempt of Court.
Essay 4 (600 words)
There are some basic rights that are well-known as fundamental to human existence and crucial for human expansion. In the absence of these rights, a man’s existence would be worthless. Thus when the political institutions were made, their role and responsibility mainly focused on empowering the people especially the minorities to live in dignity with rights of equality, dignity and religious freedom.
Classification of Fundamental Rights
Fundamental Rights have been classified into 6 categories. These are:
- Right to Equality
- Right to Freedom
- Right against Exploitation
- Right to Freedom of Religion
- Cultural and Educational Rights
- Right to Constitutional Remedy
Now let us know about these 6 Fundamental Rights in brief:
Right to Equality
It includes equality before the Law which means prohibition of discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, color or sex, Equal protection of the law, equal opportunity in public employment and abolition of untouchability and titles. This states that all the citizens are equal before the law and there can be no discrimination of any manner. This right also states that everyone shall have equal access to all public places.
To provide equal opportunities, there will be no reservation in government services except in the case of scheduled caste, scheduled tribes, and other backward classes, for war widows and physically handicapped persons.
This right was mainly introduced to abolish untouchability, which was practiced in India for decades.
Right to Freedom
It includes the freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom to form unions and associates and freedom to travel anywhere in India, freedom to live & settle in any part of India and the freedom to choose any profession.
It also states that any citizen of India has the full right to purchase, sell and hold property in any part of the country. People will have the liberty to indulge in any trade or business. This right also defines that a person cannot be convicted twice for the same offense and also cannot be compelled to stand as a witness against oneself.
Right against Exploitation
This includes the prohibition of any form of forced labor. Children, below the age of 14 years are not allowed to work in mines or factories where the risk of life is involved. According to this, no person has the right to exploit the other person in any way. Thus, human trafficking & begging have been made legal offenses and those found involved are to be penalized. Likewise, slavery and traffic among women and children for dishonest purposes has been declared an offense. Payment of minimum wage against the labor is defined and no compromise is allowed in this regard.
Right to Freedom of Religion
It states that there will be full freedom of conscience for all citizens of India. All shall have the right to freely adopt, practice and spread the religion of their choice and that the state shall not hinder any religious affairs of any individual in any manner. All religions shall have a right to establish and uphold institutions for religious and charitable purposes and will be free to manage their own affairs with respect to these.
Cultural and Educational Right
This is one of the most important rights, as education is considered to be the primary right of each child. Cultural right states that every nation wants to preserve its cultural heritage. According to this right, all are free to develop the culture of their choice and free to get any type of education they want. No individual will be denied admission in any of the educational institutes on the basis of their culture, caste or religion. All minorities have the right to establish their own educational institutes.
Right to Constitutional Remedy
This is a very special right given to the citizens. According to this right, a citizen has the power to go to the court in case any of the above mentioned fundamental rights are denied to him/her. The court stands as a guard against the breach of these rights. If in any case the government forcefully or intentionally does injustice to any individual or if a person is imprisoned without any reason or by the unlawful act then Right to Constitutional Remedy allows the person to go to the court and get justice against the actions of the government.
Fundamental rights play a very significant role in the life of a citizen. These rights can defend during the time of complexity & difficulty and help us grow into a good human being.