Fundamental Rights of India

Fundamental Rights of India

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fundamental rights of India

FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS of India

Fundamental rights of India are the basic and essential rights that are codified in the Constitution of India that is the fundamental law of the land. These universally recognized rights are guaranteed to every person without any discrimination. Fundamental Rights can be found in Part III of the constitution from Articles 12 to 35.

Origin

The origin of Fundamental rights can be traced back to the following sources-

  • INTERNATIONAL SOURCES
  • The ‘Magna Carta’- Charter of Rights issued by King John of England in 1215.
  • The Petition of Rights 1628 – England’s constitutional document.
  • Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen- France 1789.
  • Bill of Rights of USA, 1789.
  • DOMESTIC SOURCES
  • Swaraj Bill of Lokmanya Tilak 1895
  • Commonwealth of India bill- Annie Besant 1925
  • Nehru Committee Report 1928
  • Tej Bahadur Sapru Committee Report of 1945

Attributes and Nature

The biggest characteristic of fundamental rights is that they are justiciable, that is, a person can move the court if his fundamental Rights are violated. Article 32 appoints the Supreme Court as the guardian of the Fundamental Rights.

Furthermore, these rights are not absolute and are subject to certain restrictions. They can be suspended by the President during the national emergency.

These rights provide a safeguard against the despotic tendencies of the government. Moreover, they are meant to promote political democracy in the country.

The Six Fundamental Rights

The Fundamental Rights of India provided by the constitution fall into six broad categories, namely:

  1. Right to equality,
  2. Right to freedom,
  3. Right against exploitation,
  4. Right to freedom of religion,
  5. Cultural and educational rights and
  6. Right to constitutional remedies.

Right to equality entails equality before the law and equal protection of laws. It prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. It provides for equality of opportunity in matters of public employment. It further prohibits untouchability and conferring of titles. This right ensures social equality in India.

Right to freedom protects rights regarding freedom of speech and expression, right to assemble peacefully without arms, right to form associations or unions or co-operative societies, right to move freely throughout the territory of India, right to reside in any part of India, and the right to practice any occupation. It also provides protection of life and personal liberty and protection against detention in certain cases.

Right against exploitation prohibits traffic in human beings and forced labour. It also prohibits employment of children in dangerous jobs like factories and mines etc. Under this right, the employment of children under 14 years in factories and mines is a punishable offence.

Right to freedom of religion provides freedom of conscience the freedom to profess, practice and propagate any religion. It allows various religious sects to manage their religious affairs.

The cultural and educational rights provides protection of language, script and culture of minorities. It provides the minorities right to establish their own educational institutions.

The right to constitutional remedy ensures that the Fundamental Rights are effectively enforced by empowering a person to approach the Supreme Court directly in case of their violation. The court can issue various writs like habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari. This right is considered as the cornerstone of the Indian Constitution. It is considered as ‘heart and soul of the constitution’ by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

The right to education at elementary level has been made one of the fundamental rights in 2002. This provision symbolizes a major breakthrough in India’s aim to provide ‘’Education for All’.

Significance

The Fundamental Rights play a very important role in the overall development and well-being of a person. They are essential for preserving the human dignity and liberty. They are essential to safeguard the interests of the people. Over time, Fundamental Rights have come to include various other important rights under it like, the right to livelihood, right to privacy, right to health, right to free education, right to shelter etc. This makes Fundamental Rights indispensable for the all-round development of all individuals.

Difference between Fundamental Rights and other rights

Fundamental Rights are different from other rights available to us. While ordinary legal rights are secured and enforced by ordinary law, Fundamental Rights are protected by the constitution of India. While ordinary rights can be affected or altered by ordinary legislation, the Fundamental Rights can be altered only by amendments to the constitution.            

           Thus, it can be concluded that Fundamental Rights are vital for human existence and for a healthy democracy. The very act of incorporating these rights in separate chapter speaks volumes about their importance and significance. The kind of limitations that these rights provide on the power of the government is necessary for preventing the government from becoming authoritative.

Only a free society wherein all the individuals enjoy basic rights can guarantee the overall progress of the entire nation.

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Mahatma Gandhi

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Mahatma Gandhi

“In a gentle way you can shake the world”- MAHATMA GANDHI

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2nd of October in 1869 at Porbandar, Gujarat, India. He is also famous in India as ‘Bapu’ or Rashtrapita’ for his contributions towards the independence of our country. He is known as ‘Mahatma’ because of the great deeds done by him throughout his life. He was a great freedom fighter and a noble activist. He followed as well as advocated nonviolence throughout his life.

Born to a Hindu merchant class family, he completed his schooling in India and went to England for further study of law. After studying law, he went to South Africa where he raised his voice against the discrimination against Indians and other dark people. While doing so he always adopted peaceful means. He supported a large number of Indians in South Africa and started his agitation for racial equality. In course of this struggle, he evolved his own form of struggle known as Non-Cooperation whereby, masses were asked not to cooperate with exploitative authority to get demands accepted. This form of struggle was further developed as Civil Disobedience whereby, masses were asked not to obey with established system and practices to achieve their objective.

Mahatma Gandhi was a moral revolutionary. He kept morality in actions as to be the expression of truth. He believed that truth never damages a cause that is just.  

Mahatma Gandhi also evolved his own technique of struggle known as Satyagraha that was based on two important principles of truth and nonviolence (ahimsa). He used these techniques in the Indian Independence movement and also in South Africa for rights of Indians there.

Mahatma Gandhi arrived in India in 1915 and since then began his struggle for independence of our nation. He assisted farmers of Champaran, Kheda, and Ahmedabad in their crisis and advocated the principles of arbitration and trusteeship for the same. It is due to his support and effective leadership in these instances that he began to be followed by masses readily.

He has been an integral part of several national movements during India’s freedom struggle like the Non-cooperation Movement (1920), Civil Disobedience Movement, Quit India Movement in 1942 etc. As a great freedom fighter, he had to face prison from time to time. These agitations by Gandhi saw a widespread participation of women because of his huge influence on the common masses.

The tragedy of the Jallianwala Bagh urged him to start the Non-cooperation Movement. It was Mahatma Gandhi’s first mass movement whereby he urged the masses to boycott British made goods and institutions established by the British.

In 1930, Gandhi led the second and most organized mass movement that took the form the Salt Satyagraha or Dandi March. Along with his followers, Mahatma Gandhi started this historic march from his ashram to the coast of Dandi where he declared submission before British authority as crime.

In 1942, Mahatma Gandhi started the Quit India Movement whereby Mahatma Gandhi asked the British to leave India. It was during this struggle that he gave the slogan ‘Do or Die’. He believed that in this movement the masses would either liberate India or die peacefully.

After his long struggle along with other Indians, he finally succeeded in making India an independent nation. Unfortunately, this great personality was assassinated by Nathuram Godse on 30th of January in 1948. Mahatma Gandhi has been given the name of “Martyr of the Nation” by Rabindranath Tagore.

Mahatma Gandhi was always concerned for the oppressed and untouchable people. He wanted to free India from untouchability and unjust society and bring about social justice. He gave untouchables a new name, Harijan. Moreover, he traveled across India agitating for their cause and for the upliftment of the distressed and backward classes in our country.

Gandhi launched Swadeshi movement to get over poverty and unemployment in India. He promoted village industries and khadi. He advocated that industrialism should be replaced by small-scale production and indigenous industry.

Mahatma Gandhi was a notable and an exceptional personality who is still inspiring the people of his country and even worldwide. He was the man who became “one with the people”. He rightly understood the power of unity in people irrespective of their religion, castes, gender, community, age or race. He was both a preacher and a follower. He fought for the country and at the same time tried his best to encourage and support the distressed sections of the society. He is rightly called ‘The Father of Our Nation’. His struggle shows that anything can be achieved with unity and nonviolence. A leader like him will always be revered and admired even by the generations to come.