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Chapter 2

Rights in the Indian Constitution

 Rights
 A democracy must ensure that individuals have certain rights and that the
government will always recognise these rights.
 A list of rights mentioned and protected by the constitution is known as the ‘bill
of rights.’
 A bill of rights prohibits government from acting against the rights of the
individuals and ensures a remedial action for violation of these rights.
 Fundamental Rights
 The word ‘fundamental’ suggests that these rights are very important and the
Constitution has separately listed them and made special provisions for their
 The Constitution itself ensures that these rights are not violated by the
 While ordinary legal rights are protected and enforced by ordinary law,
fundamental rights are protected and guaranteed by the constitution of the
 Ordinary rights may be changed by the legislature by ordinary process of law
making, but a fundamental right can be changed only by amending the
Constitution itself.
 Fundamental rights, however, are not absolute or unlimited rights.
 Government can put reasonable restrictions on their exercise.
 Right to Equality
 Right to equality tries to do away discriminations and provides for equal access
to public places.

 There cannot be any discrimination in this on grounds of religion, race, caste,
sex, place of birth etc.
 This right is very important because social practices like untouchability denied
equal access to public places to certain sections of the society in the past.
 Right to equality strives to make India a true democracy by ensuring a sense of
equality of dignity and status among all its citizens.
 Right to Freedom
 Equality and freedom are the two rights that are most important in a democracy.
 Freedom is thus defined in such a manner that every person enjoys his/her
freedom without threatening the freedom of others and without endangering the
situation of law and order.
 Right to Life and Personal Liberty
 The main right among rights to freedom is the right to life and personal liberty.
 Thus, no one can be arrested without being told the grounds on which he/she is
 It is also mandatory for the police to take that person to the nearest magistrate
within 24 hours.
 The magistrate would then decide if the arrest is justified or not.
 Various judgements of Supreme Court have expanded the scope of this right.
 According to the Supreme Court, this right also includes right to live with
dignity as well as freedom from exploitation.
 Preventive Detention
 If the government feels that a person can be a threat to law and order or to the
peace and security of the nation, it can detain or arrest that person.
 This preventive detention can be extended only for three months.
 After three months, such a case is brought before an advisory board for review.
 Rights of Accused
 The Constitution of India ensures that people accused of various offences get
sufficient protection.

 To ensure a fair trial in courts the Constitution has provided following rights:
 No person would be punished for the same offence more than once.
 No law shall declare any action as illegal from backdate.
 No person shall be asked to give evidence against him/herself.
 Right against Exploitation
 Right against exploitation prohibits forced and bonded labour and buying selling
of human beings as slaves.
 The right against exploitation has become more meaningful with child labour
being made illegal and right to education becoming a fundamental right for
 Right to Freedom of Religion
 According to the Constitution of India, every individual enjoys the right to
follow the religion of his or her own choice.
 Democracy has always incorporated the freedom to follow the religion of one’s
choice as one of its basic principles.
 Freedom of Faith and Worship
 In India, every individual is free to choose a religion and practice it.
 Freedom of religion also includes the freedom of conscience. This means that a
person may choose any religion or may choose not to follow any religion.
 The Constitution does not allow forcible conversions, as it only provides the
right to spread information about our religion and attract others to it.
 Equality of all Religions
 India is a diverse country, and thus it’s important to ensure the equality of all
religions by the Constitution.
 It may also mean that government will not favour any specific religion.
 The institutions run by the state would neither give religious instruction nor
would they favour any religious community.
 The objective of these provisions is to sustain and nurture the principle of

 Cultural and Education Rights
 Diversity is the strength of India, and thus provision for cultural and educational
rights is very important.
 All minorities, religious or linguistic groups can set up their own educational
 Right to Constitutional Remedies
 Right to constitutional remedies is the means through which the rights are
 Dr. Ambedkar considered the right to constitutional remedies as ‘heart and soul
of the Constitution’.
 This right gives a citizen the right to approach a High Court or the Supreme
Court to get any of the fundamental rights restored in case of their violation.
 The courts can issue various writs for the protection of rights. These are as
 Habeas Corpus
 Mandamus
 Prohibition
 Quo Warranto
 Certiorari
 Directive Principles
 Directive Principles are the guidelines that were incorporated in the
Constitution but they were not made legally enforceable.
 These are ‘non-justiciable’ and hence cannot be enforced by the judiciary.
 They include uniform civil code, formation of Panchayati Raj institutions and the
mid-day meal scheme, etc.
 Relationship between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles
 Both fundamental rights and directive principles are complementary to each

 Fundamental rights restrain the government from doing certain things while
directive principles exhort the government to do certain things.
 Fundamental rights mainly protect the rights of individuals while directive
principles ensure the well-being of the entire society.