The Constitution of India is the longest written constitution that enlists the various powers, duties, rights vested in the Government of India and citizens of the nation. The Fundamental Rights are envisaged in Part III of the Constitution which is the foundation and mark the structure of the legal framework in India. The Constitution is considered as the supreme law of the nation. Fundamental rights provide the citizens with basic human rights which is enforceable in the Courts of Law. Fundamental rights are pivotal because they serve as the country's backbone. They are essential in protecting the interests of the people. Article 13 affirms that all laws that violate fundamental rights are null and void. There is a specific provision for judicial review here. The Supreme Court and the High Courts have the power to declare any law unconstitutional if it infringes fundamental rights. Fundamental rights are always intended to protect the dignity of the individual and to create situations that allow every human being to fully develop his or her personality. They weave a consistent pattern into the fundamental structure of human rights. It imposes negative obligations on the state, not obligations to encroach on individual liberty in all of its dimensions. They are absolutely necessary for an individual to achieve his or her full intellectual, moral, and spiritual status.
The goal of including them in the constitution is to establish a government of law rather than of man. Fundamental Rights safeguard citizens' liberties and freedoms against state intrusion and prevent the establishment of authoritarian and dictatorial rule in the country. They are critical for the overall development of individuals and the country. Fundamental rights are essentially human rights, but in India they are governed by the Constitution. They integrate him into society while also providing educational value, allowing a citizen to understand the importance of all members of society. The Constitution also provides for the enforcement of these rights, so they have legal value as well as the ability to protect, respect, and uphold the rule of law. They uphold the equality of all people, the dignity of the individual, and the unity of the nation. People had forgotten what it meant to be free after living in slavery for so long. These rights gave the hope that the citizens needed and the belief that they will continue to grow. They are not subject to the whims of the rulers. In that sense, they are the first fruits of the long liberation struggle, bringing a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction. The freedom that the fundamental rights provide us with is like a shower of blessing to the people of India. There are 6 fundamental rights mentioned in the Constitution of India. Right to equality is enshrined as a fundamental right under Article 14-18. Equality before law and equal protection of the laws in the territory of India is guaranteed to every Indian Citizen. The prospective of equality irrespective of one’s gender, caste, race, colour or creed is highlighted in these articles. Any discrimination against a citizen based on the grounds of religion, caste, gender, colour, creed cannot be done so by the State. It ensures equal employment opportunities in the government and protects against discrimination in employment by the state on the basis of caste, religion, and so on. This right includes the abolition of titles as well as the right to be untouchable.
Right of Freedom (Article 19-22) Freedom is one of the most important ideals that any democratic society cherishes. Citizens in India have the right to freedom under the Indian Constitution. Many rights are included in the freedom right, including:
· Freedom of expression
· Expression freedom
· The right to assemble peacefully without the use of force.
· Associational liberty
· Unrestricted practise of any profession
· The right to live in any part of the country.
Right against Exploitation (Articles 23–24) – This right implies a prohibition on human trafficking, beggaring, and other forms of forced labour. It also implies a ban on children working in factories, among other things. The employment of children under the age of 14 in hazardous conditions is prohibited by the Constitution.
Right to Religious Freedom (Articles 25–28) - This demonstrates the Indian polity's secular nature. All religions are treated with equal respect. There is religious freedom, including the freedom to profess, practice, and spread one's faith. There is no official religion in the state. Every individual has the right to freely practice his or her faith, as well as to establish and maintain religious and charitable institutions.
Cultural and Educational Rights (Articles 29–30)- These rights protect the rights of religious, cultural, and linguistic minorities by making it easier for them to preserve their heritage and culture. Educational rights are aimed at ensuring equal access to education for all.
Right to Constitutional Remedies (32–35) – If citizens' fundamental rights are violated, the Constitution guarantees remedies. The government cannot violate or limit anyone's rights. When these rights are violated, the aggrieved party may seek redress through the courts. Citizens can even go directly to the Supreme Court, which has the authority to issue writs to enforce fundamental rights.
As a result, Fundamental Rights play an important role because they are most necessary for an individual to achieve full intellectual, moral, and spiritual status. As a result, the goal of including Fundamental Rights in the Constitution was to establish a government of law in order to preserve individual liberty, build an equitable society, and establish a welfare state.
This article is written by Anuprita Mohanty of Symbiosis Law School Pune.