A country is indefensible without a constitution. The constitution is a legal body of a country contained a set of rules and regulations, according to these rules and regulations a country should be moved/ ruled. In the Indian constitution, some basic rights are known as fundamental rights. It is important for human existence and human expansion.
In simple words, in the absence of fundamental rights, a person cannot exist with dignity. Fundamental rights are an undivided part of the Indian constitution. It is the basis of the Human rights of the citizen. The Constitution guarantees that all citizens will be equally protected by the law, it means that the state cannot be discriminated against any Citizen based on race, caste, sex, religion, or place of birth. Even the state also cannot be discriminated against anyone in the occurrence of employment.
Fundamental rights are very important because they are the backbone of our country. These are necessary for the protection of human rights. The fundamental rights have been mentioned in part III of the Indian constitution in article 12 – 32. These rights are enforceable by the court subject to certain restrictions. It prohibits the abolition of untouchability and discrimination based on religion, caste, color, sex, or birthplace. Through this, human trafficking and forced labor are banned. It protects the cultural and educational rights of ethnic and religious minorities by allowing them to preserve their language and by establishing and running their educational institution.
Indian Constitution provides six fundamental rights, which are briefly discussed below:
1. Right to equality-
Article14-18 of the constitution of India deals with the right to equality of every citizen of India. Equality is clearly defined under Article 14 of the constitution which ensures that every citizen will be equally protected by the law of the land.
Article 15 prohibits any discrimination on grounds of race, caste, sex, religion or place of birth.
Article 16 provides equal opportunity for all citizens in matter of appointment to any office.
Article 17 abolishes the forms of untouchability and forbids its practice in any form in India.
Article 18 prohibits titles except military and academic and maintain the principle of equal status among all the citizen of India.
2. Right to freedom-
Article 19-22 deals with right to freedom. Article 19 implies that all citizen has the right
(i) to freedom of speech and expression,
(ii) to assemble peacefully without arms,
(iii) to form association or union,
(iv) to move freely under the territory of India,
(v) to resides any part of India,
(vi) to practice any profession, occupation or trade.
Article 20 protects against arbitrary and excessive punishment to an accused person, whether citizen or foreigner.
Article 21 upholds that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal for citizens as well as non-citizens of India. Article 21A stated that the state shall provides free and compulsory education to 6-14 years children of India in such a manner as the state may determine.
Article 22 protects a person against arrest and detention.
3. Right against exploitation-
Article 23 and 24 deal with rights against exploitation. Article 23 prohibits human trafficking and other similar forms of forced labour.
Article 24 prohibits the employment of below 14 years children in any factory or mine.
4. Right to freedom of religion-
Article 25-28 of the Constitution of India deals with the right to freedom of religion. Article 25 states that all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience, occupation, practice and propagation of religion.
Article 26 protects the rights of religious denominations or their sections. It secures collective freedom of religion.
Article 27 upholds that the state should not spend the public money collected by way of tax for the promotion of any religion.
Article 28 lays down that no religious instruction shall be provided to any student in any educational institution maintained out of state funds.
5. Cultural and educational rights-
Article 29 and 30 deals with cultural and educational rights of India. Article 29 protects the language, script and cultural of minorities.
Article 30 grants the equal right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.
Article 32 provides the right to move the Supreme Court for the enforcement of fundamental rights including the writs of
(i) habeas corpus,
(iv) certiorari and
(v) quo warrento.
Are fundamental rights against the state?
Under the Indian Constitution, all fundamental rights against the ‘state’ are available. Article 12 of the Indian Constitution defined the term ‘State’. According to Article 12 state include government and parliament of India, government and legislature of the State of India, local authority.
Article 13 of the Indian Constitution, strengthens the concept of fundamental rights and gives it a real impact.
This article protects the fundamental rights of the individual by interfering with freedom or repealing or repealing any law if it does not in any way conform to the fundamental rights of the individual.
However, four basic rights are available against the state as well as the private sector.
Article 15 states that no citizen shall be subjected to any form of discrimination based on caste, religion, place of birth, or caste. It is available against every person which means that anyone who discriminates in any way for any of the reasons mentioned will be liable for punishment.
Article 17 – It about the abolition of untouchability. It gives the impression that anyone who practices untouchability will be punished.
Article 23 – talks about Prohibits human trafficking and forced labor.
Article 24 prohibits the employment of children in factories at risky places.
If any of the fundamental rights are violated a person can easily approach the high court under article 226 or the supreme court under 32 for the enforcement of fundamental rights.
The right to a constitutional remedy under Part III of the Constitution is Article 32. Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar considered this right as the heart and soul of the Constitution. Article 32 establishes the Supreme Court as the protector and guarantor of fundamental rights.
Article 226 gives the High Court discretionary power to issue directions, orders, writs by the nature of the High Court’s corpus, mandamus, prohibitions, quota warrants, and certificates. Article 226 calls for violations not only of fundamental rights but also of other rights.
Filing the fundamental case
- A person living in India can file case agents the violation of fundamental rights in high court or supreme court depending on the offense of the violence.
- A person also files a case against the violation of fundamental rights in state or national human rights commission.
The fundamental rights are also known as Human Rights, so a person can easily approach the National or State Human Rights Commission in order to get justice.
If the violation of a fundamental right occurs with a person then he follows the below guidelines for filing a violent case –
- The victim or any other person on his behalf can complain of the commission made a complaint to the commission.
- Complete should be in a written format in English, Hindi, or another language by which the victim is comfortable. So the victim should submit only one set of complaints to the commission.
- No fees can be charged for the complaint. So there is no reason to worry about the fee if the victim belongs from a poor financial condition.
- If the victim has a document that could support Human Rights/ fundamental rights violence, then it should be a touch to the complaint.
- The victim should mention his age, gender, state or religion, cast, and district with which the incident is related including his date, etc.
- If possible he/she should also file a complaint in the format provided by the national or State Human Rights Commission.
- Any human rights violation must be reported within one month of the incident
- The complaint should include all details related to the violence.
Human Rights Violation Claims
The Court of Law has ruled based on allegations and rights of punishment for violation of fundamental rights. Sometimes financial compensation is also provided to the complainant. Since fundamental rights are a part of the Indian Constitution and are enforced by law, the court has the sole right to decide whether to grant any punishment or compensation to the complainant.
Some orders from the apex court against the violation of fundamental rights are:
1. M.C Mehta v. Union of India (1987 SCR (1)819) in this case the Supreme Court of India state that the right to claim pollution-free air, water and environment are the fundamental rights under the right to life Art. 21 of the constitution.
2. In the case of Sukant Singh V. the State of Punjab (2009 (7) Sec 559) the supreme court observed that the right to reputation is a personal asset under Art 21 of the Constitution of India.
3. Sanjit Roy V. the State of Rajasthan (1983 AIR 328, SCR (2) in this Landmark case the supreme court said that the violation of the provisions of act 23 of Constitution of India is a serious offense and in the state has no right to take advantage of financially weakness people in the name of the helping them.
4. Mohini Jain V. the State of Karnataka & Ors (1992 AIR SCR (3) 658) also known as “captivation free case.” the petitioner Mohini Jain was denied the administration as she was unable to pay the tuition fee. The apex court stated that the right to education is a fundamental right under Article 21A of the Indian constitution and charging the captivation fee is illegal.
The fundamental rights stand among the most important rights in the Constitution of India. In today’s era, we are not able to say that fundamental rights are not violated. Citizens face a violation of equality, liberty and choice a profession. A violence-free society is still a dream for many. The fundamental rights, not just some right, it is human rights as well as the legal rights of citizens of India. It protects the citizen’s rights.
In the wake of changing society, it is important to stand against the violation of fundamental rights. It is only possible when the citizens of India will give importance to the violence of fundamental rights.
This article has been written by Moumita Muhuri, Shyambazar Law College, University of Calcutta.