Adblocker detected! Please consider reading this notice.

We've detected that you are using AdBlock Plus or some other adblocking software which is preventing the page from fully loading.

We need money to operate the site, and almost all of it comes from our online advertising.

Please add lawcorner.in to your ad blocking whitelist or disable your adblocking software.

×

Human Rights And Indian Constitution

Concept of Human Rights

Human Rights are universal. They are the birth right of every member of Human family and are necessary in order for us to live as Human beings.

They are the rights inherent to all Human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, language, religion or any other status.

Definitions of Human Rights

Justice M.H Beg “Human rights imply Justice, equality and freedom from arbitrary and discriminatory treatment”.

Justice Durga Das “Human rights are those minimal rights, which every individual must have against the state, or other public Authority by virtue of his being a member of family, irrespective of caste, colour, creed, place of birth, sex, cultural differences, or any other consideration.”

Evolution of Human Rights and its place in Indian Constitution

The emergence of Human Rights started after the second world war as the outcome of the second world war had given rise to serious concerns towards humanity because humanity suffered lot in this era, and as a consequence tremendous developments have been made in this field of human rights.

In 1948, the General Assembly of United Nations adopted UDHR, by resolution and proclaimed that Human Rights are common standard of achievement for all persons and Nations. Since, UDHR was only a declaration and not treaty, state had to take steps to commit themselves to Human beings in accordance with the obligations of the UN charter.

The UDHR didn’t contain its enforcement machineries and as a result the international covenant on civil and political rights, 1966 and the international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights, 1966 came into existence.

Our county was one of the signatories to the international covenant on civil and political rights and therefore the framers of the Indian constitution recognised as well as guaranteed most of Human rights which were subsequently embodied in the International convenant 1966.

Many of the human rights and freedoms in the Universal Declaration of human Rights, 1948 and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 are guaranteed in Part III of the Indian Constitution as fundamental rights. Part Ill embodies and sanctifies certain fundamental, individual, justifiable rights, which are primarily meant to protect and promote the basic human rights of the people and protect the individual against the state action by imposing negative obligations. They are limitations upon all the powers of the government, legislative as well executive and they are essential for the preservation of human right.

1. Right to Equality

The right to equality is the faith and creed of our democratic republic; it forms the foundation of socio-economic justice. Article 14 embodies the idea of equality as expressed in the preamble. Article 14 provides: “The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or equal protection of the laws within the territory of India”. The provision of Right to Equality is based on the provisions of articles I and 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948. Articles 2(2) and 3 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966 also talk about equality among men and women. Articles 3 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights also mention about the equal rights of men and women and equality before law and equal protection of laws respectively.

2. Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth

Article 15 of the Indian Constitution specifically prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. The corresponding provision to Article 15(1) of the Indian Constitution can be found in Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948; Article 2(l) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 and article 2(2) of the International Covenant on Economic; Social and Cultural Rights, 1966.

3. Equality of opportunity in matters of employment

Article 16 of the Indian Constitution aims at providing equality of opportunity to all citizens in matters of public employment. This provisions is like the provisions of Article 21(2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 which states that “everyone has the right to equal access to public services in this country”.

4. Abolition of untouchability

Article 17 of the Constitution abolishes untouchability and forbids its practice in any form. Article 17 of the Constitution is on the lines of the provision of Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Parliament of India, in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 35(ii) has enacted the untouchability (Offences) Act, 1955. The basic Object of this enactment is to ban the practice of untouchahility in any form.

5. Right to Freedom

Personal liberty is one of the most important of all human rights. Articles 19 to 22 of the Indian Constitution deal with different aspects of this basic right. The principle that “all human beings are born free” is found in articles l and 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of the Indian Constitution provides six basic fundamental freedoms to all its citizens. It provides:

Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech etc.

All citizens shall have the right-

(a) to freedom of speech and expression;

(b) to assemble peaceably and without arms;

(c) to form associations or unions;

(d) to move freely throughout the territory of India;

(e) to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India;

Article 19(l)(b) of the Constitution guarantees all citizens freedom of peaceful assembly without arms. The corresponding provision is found in article 20(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948. The right of peaceful assembly is also recognized in article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966. The right of peaceful assembly is also implied in the very idea of the democratic government.

Article 19(1)(e) of the Constitution guarantees to all citizens right to form associations or unions. This right corresponds to article 23(4) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948. Such a provision has also been incorporated in Article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 and article 8 of the International Covenant on Economic. Social and Cultural Rights, 1966.

6. Protection in respect of Conviction of Offences

Article 20 of the Indian Constitution contain certain safeguards to persons accused of crimes. It provides: Protection in respect of conviction for offences-

(1) No person shall he convicted of any offence except for violation n of a law in force at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence nor he subjected to penalty greater than that which might have been inflicted under the law in force at the time of the commission of the offence.

(2) No person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once.

(3) No person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.

The Article 20 of the Indian Constitution has its roots in Article 11(2) of the Universal declaration of Human Rights. It provides protection against ex post facto law and thus prohibits the legislature to make retrospective criminal law. This clause protects the basic human right of the people that no person can be punished for an act which was not an offence at the date of its commission. It further protects the person by providing that no person could be subjected to a penalty greater than that which [might have been inflicted under the law in force at the time of the commission of the offence.

7. Right to life and Personal Liberty

Article 21 of the Constitution secures this right to all persons. It provides:

”No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law”.

This article advances the Object of article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Similar provision is also found in article 6 of the International Covenant on CiviL and Political Rights.

The expression personal liberty has been interpreted in various judgments starting from Kharak Singh case to Navtej Singh Johar case:

In Kharak Singh Case, The Hon’ble Supreme Court that “personal liberty meant much more than mere animal existence” and held that continuous visits by police authorities to monitor the doings of Kharak Singh were violative of his right to Personal liberty.

In Vellore Citizens’ Welfare Forum V. UOI, it was held that article 21 includes “Right to live life of dignity in healthy environment with proper sanitation system and free of pollution”.

8. Right to Education

In a significant development, the Right to Education was made a fundamental Right under Article 21A of the constitution by the Eighty-Sixth constitutional Amendment Act,2002, same was based on Article 26 of the UDHR.

9. Right to Adequate Housing and Land

The human right to adequate housing and land is guaranteed in International law and in the Directive principles provided under the Indian Constitution. It has also been upheld by the Supreme Court, in various Judgments, as an integral part of the Right to life.

This Article Written by Liza Arora, Student of JIMS Engineering Management Technical Campus, School of Law, Greater Noida, Affiliated to GGSIPU.

Also Read – Human Rights and Fundamental Rights

Note – The information contained in this post is for general information purposes only. We try our level best to avoid any misinformation or abusive content. If you found any of such content on this website, please report us at info@lawcorner.in

Interested to publish your article on our website? Click Here to submit your article.

Law Corner

Leave a Comment