Indian Citizens: Understanding your Fundamentals Right

Indian family chatting on phone at home

It is our essential right as Indian citizens to know and comprehend our rights as citizens. These rights enable us to protect ourselves from abuses of power and to be treated fairly and equitably under the law.

Several articles of the Indian Constitution guarantee various rights, such as the right to life, freedom from discrimination, equality before the law, and the right to perform any profession or occupation. Furthermore, Indian people have certain political rights, such as the right to vote, freedom of expression and assembly, freedom of religion, and freedom of cultural activities.

Moreover, Indians enjoy economic and social rights such as access to health care and education, protection against workplace exploitation, social security benefits, and much more. Understanding all of these rights is critical for all Indian people who want to safeguard their personal and the nation’s interests.

Overview of Human Rights in the Indian Constitution

The Indian Constitution guarantees Indian citizens six fundamental rights: equality, freedom, life and personal liberty, religious freedom, freedom of speech and expression, and the right to an education. These rights are the foundation of India’s commitment to human rights protection and ensuring everyone is treated equally and with respect.

The Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA), 1993 was enacted to ensure that human rights are protected in India. The Act calls for the formation of State Human Rights Commissions at both the Central and State levels to improve human rights protection. It also provides channels for both civil and criminal justice in cases involving abuses of human rights, with courts awarding civil remedies and criminal penalties.

Per these laws, it is critical to realize that human rights are justifiable in Indian courts. This means that any infringement of fundamental human rights can be taken before a court to seek justice. This should give citizens confidence that their fundamental freedoms are being meaningfully maintained.

Fundamental Rights for Indian Citizens

India is a union of states in which residents have certain fundamental rights as specified by the Indian Constitution. These rights are safeguarded from discrimination and violation to maintain the safety and security of all citizens.

The following are the most important of these essential rights:

  • Right to Education: The 86th Amendment Act of 2002 placed this right in the Fundamental Rights, stating that all children between the ages of 6 and 14 are entitled to free education in government schools.
  • Right to Freedom of Religion: Everyone has the right to practice and spread their faith. The state is forbidden from interfering with religious practices as long as they do not jeopardize public order or morals.
  • Right to Equality: The Constitution’s Right to Equality section guarantees freedom from discrimination based on religion, race, caste, gender, or place of birth. It also ensures that men and women are paid equally for equal work.

In essence, Indian citizens have various fundamental rights that contribute to India becoming one of the world’s most democratic countries.

How are Fundamental Rights Enforced in India?

To comprehend how Indian citizens’ Fundamental Rights are enforced, it is necessary to comprehend the roles of the Supreme Court, High Courts, and private individuals in this process.

  • Supreme Court
    • Article 32 of the Indian Constitution grants the Supreme Court jurisdiction to enforce Fundamental Rights against private organizations. This means that if a private body breaches a person’s Fundamental Right, the citizen has the right to seek justice before the Supreme Court.
  • High Courts
    • Similarly, High Courts can be petitioned for Fundamental Rights enforcement in circumstances where state legislatures or governments may be held liable for wrongdoing or carelessness.
  • Private Individuals
    • Fundamental Rights can also be enforced against private individuals who purposefully or inadvertently breach these rights. In such circumstances, the Supreme Court or High Courts must determine whether the violation was intentional and was carried out with due care and attention. If proven guilty, the individuals may face punishment under Indian criminal laws.

Understanding the Right to Freedom of Expression

According to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 19 of the Indian Constitution, the right to free expression is a fundamental human right. Indian citizens have the right to freely express themselves, although this is not an absolute right and can be subject to reasonable limitations.

These prohibitions may include laws protecting India’s sovereignty and integrity, the state’s security, cordial relations with foreign nations, public order, decency or morality, contempt of court, defamation, incitement to an offense, or matters relating to professional privilege. Indian citizens must comprehend the breadth and limitations of this fundamental right.

If any of these restrictions are violated, the penalties may include fines or jail. The goal of these laws is to ensure that speech does not jeopardize anyone’s reputation or safety and does not disrupt public order.

What are the Duties of Indian Citizens?

Indian people must follow and uphold a variety of responsibilities to protect the rights provided to them by the Constitution. They have a specific obligation:

  • To Abide by the Constitution
    • Indian citizens must respect and adhere to the constitutional framework, which establishes fundamental rights and liberties for all. They must also follow the country’s parliamentary laws, which are based on the Indian Constitution.
  • To Cherish and Follow the Ideals of Freedom Struggle
    • Indian citizens must work hard to safeguard the values entrenched in India’s liberation movement, such as equality and justice for everyone. They can ensure that India remains an inclusive and fair nation by upholding these ideals.
  • To Protect and Improve the Natural Environment
    • Indian residents must also take responsibility for the environment, from respecting public areas to incorporating sustainable practices into their daily lives. This is critical for future generations to enjoy India’s biodiversity and natural beauty.

Protecting and Seeking Redress for Human Rights in India

Indian people have the right to seek remedy and protection for any abuses of their human rights. In India, the Domestic Legal Framework for Protecting Human Rights comprises several State-based judicial/quasi-judicial systems and locations where individuals can register complaints if their rights are violated.

Simultaneously, the rule of law provides an effective mechanism for obtaining justice when human rights violations occur. This protection is provided by statutes such as the Protection of Human Rights Act of 1993, as well as different judgments issued by higher courts to enforce the provisions of the Constitution.

India has also ratified many international human rights treaties, including the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which provides remedies for victims of human rights breaches committed by government employees. Individuals have the right under these instruments to make a complaint with international institutions such as the United Nations Human Rights Committee or the European Commission on Human Rights when local remedies have been exhausted or are unavailable.

Key Amendments to India’s Constitution

Since 1950, India’s Constitution has undergone 105 revisions, each of which has aided the country’s prosperity. Three of these amendments are particularly significant.

  • The Constitution (Forty-Second Amendment) Act 1976
    • This historic amendment served as a watershed moment in Indian politics. It made significant revisions to India’s fundamental rights and guiding principles, emphasizing equality and social justice as national guiding principles.
  • The Constitution (Seventy-Fourth Amendment) Act 1992
    • The Seventy-fourth Amendment considerably enlarged the Forty-second Amendment by establishing provisions for local self-government in India’s cities and villages. This considerable shift toward decentralization has enabled greater grassroots participation in problems that directly affect citizens, such as water and sanitation.
  • The Constitution (Eighty-Ninth Amendment) Act 2003
    • The Eighty-ninth Amendment was crucial in safeguarding citizens from legal religious discrimination. It allowed all religions to be treated equally under the Indian Constitution, so ensuring religious freedom for all citizens regardless of creed or origin.

Even though India’s Constitution guarantees its citizens a wide range of fundamental rights, many questions remain unsolved. Indian people must understand their rights and duties, as well as when and where they can exercise their rights. This article has presented a brief review of the fundamental rights guaranteed to Indian people by their Constitution, as well as a discussion of the Supreme Court’s role in upholding those rights. Indian citizens may ensure that their rights are respected and that their opinions are heard if they have a better grasp of these rights and the role of the Court in preserving them.