Know your Rights
Punjab School of Law
Rights are available to any human being by virtue of his birth in the human race. It is inherent in all human beings irrespective of their nationality, religion, language, sex, color, or any other consideration. The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 defines Human Rights as: “human rights” which means the rights relating to life, liberty, equality, and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by courts in India”.
Protection of rights is essential for the development of the people of the country, which ultimately leads to the development of the nation as a whole. The Constitution of India guarantees basic human rights to each and every citizen of the country. The framers of the Constitution have put their best efforts into putting down the necessary provisions. However, with continuous developments taking place, the horizon of human rights has also expanded. The parliamentarians are now playing a great role in recognizing the rights of people and passing statutes, amending provisions, etc. as and when required.
Fundamental rights are one which is given to each and every human being.
In India, there are some basic rights that are very well-known as fundamental to human existence and crucial for human expansion. In the absence of fundamental rights, a man’s existence would be worthless. So, the political institution’s role and responsibility mainly emphasized empowering the people, especially the minorities to live in dignity with rights of equality, dignity, and religious freedom. Fundamental Rights have been classified into 6 categories are Right to Equality, Right to Freedom, Right against Exploitation, Right to Freedom of Religion, Right to Cultural and Educational, Right to Constitutional Remedy.
Where these Rights mentioned?
The Constitution of India, the longest written constitution of any country, is considered the supreme law of the nation, demarcates the structure, framework, powers, and duties of government institutions, and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles, and duties of citizens.
The Fundamental Rights are defined in Part III of the Indian Constitution from articles 12 to 35 and applied irrespective of race, place of birth, religion, caste, creed, gender, and equality of opportunity in matters of employment. They are enforceable by the courts, subject to specific restrictions.
As per law, there are basically 6 major fundamental rights given to each citizen and also some to aliens as well.
Right To Equality
Right to equality refers to the equal treatment of all individuals in matters of opportunity, employment, promotion etc, irrespective of their caste, race, religion, sex, or place of birth. Article 14 to 18 in the Indian Constitution deals with the right to equality.
- Article 14: The State should not deny any person (Indians as well as Foreigners) equality before law and equal protection of the laws within the territory of India
- Article 15: The State cannot discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth
- Article 16: Equality of opportunity in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.
- Article 17: Abolition of untouchability and prohibition of its practise in any form. According to this article, untouchability is a punishable offence.
- Article 18: Person holding office of profit or trust under the state cannot accept titles, presents, emoluments, or office of any kind from any state without the prior consent of the President.
Right To Freedom
The Right to freedom is a positive right (i.e. the right which confers privileges). In order to promote the ideal of liberty, the Constitution framers conferred these rights to the Indian citizens. Article 19, 20, 21 and 22 of our Constitution comes under the Right to freedom.
- Article 19: Under this article, 6 rights related to freedom are guaranteedto the citizens of India. They are,
19 (i) Freedom of speech and expression.
19 (ii) Freedom to assemble peacefully without any arms
19 (iii) Freedom to form associations or unions or cooperatives.
19 (iv) Freedom to move freely throughout the territory of India
19 (v) Freedom to reside and settle in any part of the Indian territory
19(vi) Freedom to practise any profession of choice.
- Article 20: This article provides necessary protection to a convicted person against ex-post-facto law, double jeopardy and self-incrimination. This is applicable to citizens as well as foreigners.
- Article 21: According to this article, no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law. Post the judgement of the Maneka Gandhi case, theSupreme Court declared several rights under this article.
- Article 21(A): It provides the right to education. According to this article, the state must provide free and compulsory education to all the children in the age between six and fourteen year
- Article 22: This article provides protection to the people who are either arrested or detained
Right against exploitation
- Article 23: Prohibition of traffic in Human beings and Forced Labour
Protection against private actions as well
Compulsion arising from economic reasons are also included
Exception: compulsory military service
Article 24: Prohibition of employment of children in factories etc
Does not prohibit employment in harmless activities
Commission for Protection of Child rights act, 2005 was enacted to provide for a national commission and state commission for child rights.
- Article 25 -28 right to religion
the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion to all persons in India. It provides that all persons in India, subject to public order, morality, health, and other provisions:
Are equally entitled to freedom of conscience, and
Have the right to freely profess, practice and propagate religion.
It further provides that this article shall not affect any existing law and shall not prevent the state from making any law relating to-
Regulation or restriction of any economic, financial, political, or any secular activity associated with religious practice.
Providing social welfare and reform.
Opening of Hindu religious institutions of public character for all the classes and sections of the Hindus.
Burning issue related to the right to religious freedom… . . … .
Hijab vs saffron in Karnataka
A controversy over the hijab or headscarf worn by Muslim girls has escalated in coastal Karnataka
Echoes of the controversy are being heard in other parts of Karnataka too, even as a political slugfest is unfolding on the communally sensitive issue.
How did it start?
Six female students belonging to the Government PU College for Girls in Udupi were not allowed to attend classes wearing hijabs.
The students protested on December 31, 2021, claiming the college was not allowing them to attend classes for the past 15 days.
Udupi BJP MLA Raghupathi Bhat, who heads the college’s development committee, held a meeting with parents and other stakeholders.
He told students to follow the college’s dress code in the classroom. The six students chose to stay away from the classroom.
The students filed a writ petition in the Karnataka High Court, and also approached the National Human Rights Commission.
What has the government said?
The Karnataka Government issued an order stating that students have to comply with the uniform/dress code prescribed by College Development Committees.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister B.C. Nagesh said rules framed under the Karnataka Educational Act 2013 and 2018 have empowered educational institutions to prescribe uniforms for school/PU college students.
The department has issued a circular based on these rules and appealed to students to follow uniform rules prescribed by colleges till the High Court pronounced its verdict on the matter.
Though uniform is not mandatory in colleges, College Development Committees, often headed by local MLAs, have been insisting on a dress code, including banning hijabs, in Udupi and other districts.
In this case in nutshell it is a case related to religious freedom..
- . Cultural and Educational Rights 29-30.:Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script, or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.
All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
The State shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language.
- Right to constitutional remedies: Article 32 provides a guaranteed remedy, in the form of a fundamental right itself, for enforcement of all the other fundamental rights, and the Supreme Court is designated as the protector of these rights by the Constitution.
The Supreme Court has been empowered to issue writs, namely habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, and quo warranto, for the enforcement of fundamental rights.
Conclusion – fundamental rights are the basic Necessity of humans it is the way to express and succeed without rights a country will merely be a dead body without a soul.
Fundamental rights are even called the heart of any democratic country, especially for a country like India where freedom is of topmost priority for everyone.
Freedom to each and every citizen is given through fundamental rights.
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