Human Rights And Indian Constitution


The Constitution of independent India is federal in nature and is based on the principles of liberty, equality, fraternity and justice. It elaborately sets out Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles and the Duties of citizens. The Fundamental Rights are interpreted as the basic human rights of all citizens. These rights apply to all individuals without bias irrespective of their race, place of birth, religion, caste, creed or sex.

There is an apparent impact of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on drafting part III of the Indian Constitution. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been acceded by India. The notion of human rights is medieval however the expression ‘human rights’ which has evolved through international Charters and Conventions is of a recent origin.  Rights regarding freedom, against exploitation, discrimination, cultural and educational rights, right to constitutional remedies and special provisions relating to certain classes are some of the constitutional provisions ensuring human rights.

The executive under the constitution is obliged to ensure, protect and promote various prerogatives, and to assure every citizen a decent standard of living. Thus, it can be clearly stated that every citizen is guaranteed basic human rights under the Indian Constitution.

Evolution of the Human Rights

Even after the inception of human civilization the primitive societies probably had no conception of human rights. The notion of human right to form the basic natural rights can be traced back to the founder of the natural law theory. The theory of natural law promoted the idea that man is endowed by birth with certain inalienable rights of which right to life, liberty and property are paramount.

Today human right is an evolving concept. The expression human right is the outcome of the Second World War. The movement for securing human rights gained impetus after the second world war as major concerns regarding humanity arose leading to far-reaching developments in the field of human rights. United Nations General Assembly in the year of 1948 adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and subsequently large number of international human right instruments and covenants came into existence. The preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights quotes that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.

Thereafter two international covenants were adopted General Assembly one on Civil and Political Rights and another on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights paving the way to further development in human rights.

Human rights in the Indian Constitution

Human rights are key to the overall development of individuals. Given the size, geography, population, poverty, lack of proper education, cultural and religious diversity in India, human rights become a complicated issue despite its status as the world’s largest sovereign, secular, democratic republic.

The Constitution of India provides for Fundamental rights both for the citizen as well as to the aliens. These are the basic rights that form the core of human beings. These rights enshrined in part III of the Constitution has emerged and evolved by the doctrine of natural rights. Thus, fundamental rights can be very well be quoted as a modern phrase for natural rights. The rights given under the Indian constitution are at par with International Covenant on Civil and Political Right (ICCPR) which applies to the state rather than to the individuals. India also being a signatory to UDHR reflects the impact it has on the framing of these rights.

The courts in India have also through their landmark judgments have paved the way of imbibing human rights into law. The apex court in the case of Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala observed that The Universal Declaration of Human Rights had made India understood the nature of the human rights at the time when the constitution was adopted even though it is not a legally binding document. Similarly, in the infamous case of the Supreme Court,  it was observed that the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution cannot be suspended even during an emergency thus, giving importance to human lives even at the time of crises.


Every Jurisdiction around the world has to give immense importance to the human rights of the individual if it wishes for its development. Individuals are a key component of the state and it is its duty to safeguard their dignity and life through rudimentary rights such as human rights. India has taken the human rights of its citizens very seriously and is constantly improvising its laws and legislations to cater more and more to their basic needs. Human rights being an evolving concept requires the state to undergo constant amendments through legislative acts or judicial pronouncements in order to protect and preserve the basic needs of its subject.

This article has been written by Vidya Shankar, 2nd Year B.A.L.L.B (HONS.) student at Amity Law School, Delhi( Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University)

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