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What Are Fundamental Rights Of Indian Constitution ?

Part III of the Indian Constitution is described as the Magna Carta Of India. Article 14 to 35 deals with the fundamental rights of Indian Constitution. Originally the concept of fundamental rights is borrowed from the constitution of the U.S.A where it is originally known as the "Bill Of Rights".

 Fundamental Rights Of Indian Constitution
Overview Of Fundamental Rights Of Indian Constitution

Let's start with a brief overview of Indian Constitution before heading towards the fundamental rights of Indian Constitution. Well, everyone is aware of the constitution but even after that people are hardly able to describe 'What is Constitution ?'. So, let's understand 'what is constitution'. The constitution is a set of fundamental principles according to which a state (Whole Country) or other organizations of the state are governed.

When all the principles are noted down into a set of legal documents, It constitutes a Constitution.

Now, since the constitution is enacted and enforced, It will definitely give birth to some rights and liabilities. As we all know whenever society is organized, people set up rules, and making such rules gives rise to duties towards society to follow those rules. Breaking such rules gives rise to liabilities as well, which can be even considered as wrong. Therefore, the Indian Constitution opted for the concept of Fundamental Rights.

Fundamental rights of Indian Constitution are basically inherent human rights. They are guaranteed by the Constitution itself and this is the reason because of which they are also called Guaranteed Rights in layman language as it is guaranteed by the Indian Constitution Itself. These rights can't be violated by anyone either it is a person, state government, or the Union itself.

According to Article 13 Of the Indian Constitution which states - "Laws inconsistent with or in derogation of the fundamental rights"

(1) All laws in force in the territory of India immediately before the commencement of this constitution, in so far as they are inconsistent with the provisions of this part, shall to the extent of such inconsistency, be void.

(2) The state shall not make any law which takes away or abridges the rights conferred by this Part and any law made in contravention of this clause shall, to the extent of the contravention, be void.

Source: Bare Act, The Constitution Of India

In simple words, The government cannot make any laws that interrupt or overlaps the fundamental rights of Indian Constitution. Making such a law would be considered void. Fundamental Rights cannot be waived off in any situation whatever it may be, because these rights are in the constitution for the public at large (whole society) and not for an individual person. So, whenever we talk about the public at large or society, then it is not merely for the interest of an individual and so anything which is related in this context is considered keeping in mind for benefit of all.

Fundamental rights protect the liberties and freedoms of the people against violation by the state (Government). We can say that the fundamental rights aim at establishing "A government of laws and not of men".

Fundamental rights of Indian Constitution are not absolute. It means that the Government can impose reasonable restrictions on fundamental rights. Like during an emergency some fundamental rights are suspended except Article 20 (Protection in respect of conviction for offenses) and Article 21 (Protection of life and personal liberty).

According to Article 358, when a proclamation of National Emergency is made, the six fundamental rights under article 19 are automatically suspended. Article 19 is automatically revived after the expiry of the emergency. The 44th Amendment Act laid out that Article 19 can only be suspended when the National Emergency is laid on the grounds of war or external aggression and not in the case of armed rebellion.

All the fundamental rights mentioned in the Indian constitution are in some relation with each other. So, none of the article distinct, separate in terms of relation with each other, and hence any of the Articles is not be read in isolation.

Originally, there were seven Fundamental Rights of Indian Constitution provided to every citizen of India :

  • Right To Equality (Article 14-18)

  • Right To Freedom (Article 19-22)

  • Right Against Exploitation (Article 23-24)

  • Right To Freedom Of Religion (Article 25-28)

  • Cultural And Educational Rights (Article 29-30)

  • Right To Constitutional Remedies (Article 32)

  • Right To Property (Article 31)

However, Right To Property (Article 31) was deleted from fundamental rights after the 44th amendment Act, 1978. So, now there are only six fundamental rights provided by the constitution. At present, the Right to property is made legal under Article 300 'A' in part XII of the constitution.

For violation of Fundamental Rights, the aggrieved person can directly move to the Supreme Court with his plea. The Parliament can curtail or repeal the Fundamental Rights of Indian Constitution, but only through a constitutional amendment and not by an ordinary act.

Vocab Check:

  • Enacted - To pass a law

  • Enforced - Execution of anything

  • Contravention - Coming into conflict with

  • Void - Not valid

  • Conviction - A final judgment of guilty in a criminal case and the punishment that is imposed

  • Proclamation - Official declaration issued by a person of authority

  • Curtail - Reduce or shorten

  • Repeal - Officially making a law no longer valid

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