The Fundamental Rights are enshrined in Part III of the Constitution from Article 12 to 35. The concept of incorporating Fundamental Rights is taken from the Constitution of USA (Bill of Rights).
Originally, the constitution provided for seven Fundamental Rights. Right to property was deleted by the 44th Amendment Act 1978 and was made a legal right under Article 300-A in Part XII of the Constitution.
- Some of the Rights are available only to the citizen while others are available to all persons.
- They are not absolute but qualified. The state can impose reasonable restrictions on them.
- Most of them are available against the arbitrary action of the State.
- Some of them are negative in character, that is, place limitation on the authority of the State, while others are positive in nature, conferring certain privileges on the persons.
- They are justiciable which means a person can move the courts for their enforcement, if and when they are violated.
- They are defended and guaranteed by the Supreme court.
- They are not sacrosanct or permanent. The Parliament can curtail or repeal them by a Constitutional Amendment Act.
- They can be suspended during the operation of a National Emergency except the rights guaranteed by Article 20 and 21.
- Their application to the members of armed forces, para-military forces, police forces, intelligence agencies and analogous services can be restricted or abrogated by the Parliament (Article 33)
- Their application can be restricted while martial law is in force in any area.
- Most of them are directly enforceable while a few of them can be enforced on the basis of a law made for giving effect to them.
Right to Equality:
- Article 14 says that the State shall not deny any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territories of India.
- Article 15 provides that the state shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. The second provision of Article 15 says that no citizen shall be subjected to any disability, liability, restriction or condition on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth with regard to (a) access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment; or (b) the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, road and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly by State funds or dedicated to the use of general public.
- Article 16 provides for equality of opportunity for all citizens in matter of employment or appointment to any office under the State.
- Article 17 abolishes untouchability and forbids its practice in any form.
- Article 18 abolishes titles.
Right to Freedom:
- Article 19 guarantees six rights:
- Right to freedom of speech and expression.
- Right to assemble peacefully and without arms.
- Right to form associations or unions or co-operative societies.
- Right to move freely throughout the territory of India.
- Right to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India.
- Right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.
- Article 20 grants protection against arbitrary and excessive punishment to an accused person.
- Article 21 declares that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law
- Article 21 A declares that the State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age six to fourteen years in such a manner as the State may determine. (This provision was added by the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2002. Earlier this provision was contained under Article 45 in Part IV.
- Article 22 grants protection to persons who are arrested or detained.
Right Against Exploitation:
- Article 23 prohibits traffic in human beings, begar and other similar forms of forced labour.
- Article 24 prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 years in any factory, mine or other hazardous activities like construction work or railway.
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