Fundamental Rights – I



Right to equality

(Articles 14–18)

(a) Equality before law and equal protection of laws (Article 14).

(b) Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth (Article 15).

(c) Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment (Article 16).

(d) Abolition of untouchability and prohibition of its practice (Article 17).

(e) Abolition of titles except military and academic (Article 18).



Right to freedom

(Articles 19–22)

(a)   Protection of six rights regarding freedom of: (i) speech and expression, (ii) assembly, (iii) association,

(iv) movement, (v) residence, and (vi) profession (Article 19).

(b)   Protection in respect of conviction for offences (Article 20).

(c)   Protection of life and personal liberty (Article 21).

(d) Right to elementary education (Article 21A).

(e)   Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases (Article 22).

Right against exploitation

(Articles 23–24)

(a)   Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour (Article 23).

(b)   Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc. (Article 24).



Right to freedom of religion

(Article 25–28)

(a)   Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion (Article 25).

(b)   Freedom to manage religious affairs (Article 26).

(c)   Freedom from payment of taxes for promotion of any religion (Article 27).

(d)   Freedom from attending religious instruction or worship in certain educational institutions (Article 28).

Cultural and educational rights

(Articles 29–30)

(a)   Protection of language, script and culture of minorities (Article 29).

(b) Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions (Article 30).


Right to constitutional remedies (Article 32)

Right to move the Supreme Court for the enforcement of fundamental rights including the writs of (i)

habeas corpus, (ii) mandamus, (iii) prohibition, (iv) certiorari, and (v) quo war-rento (Article 32).

About Fundamental Rights:

The Fundamental Rights are enshrined in Part III of the Constitution from Articles 12 to 35. The Fundamental Rights are guaranteed by the Constitution to all persons without any discrimination.

They uphold the equality of all individuals, the dignity of the individual, the larger public interest and unity of the nation.

The Fundamental Rights are meant for promoting the ideal of political democracy. The Fundamental Rights are named so because they are guaranteed and protected by the Constitution, which is the fundamental law of the land.

They are ‘fundamental’ also in the sense that they are most essential for the all-round development (material, intellectual, moral and spiritual) of the individuals.

Some of them are available only to the citizens while others are available to all persons.

They are not absolute but qualified. The state can impose reasonable restrictions on them. However, whether such res-trictions are reasonable or not is to be decided by the courts. Thus, they strike a balance between the rights of the individual and those of the society as a whole, between individual liberty and social control.

Most of them are available against the arbitrary action of the State, with a few exceptions like those against the State’s action and against the action of private individuals. When the rights that are available against the State’s action only are violated by the private individuals, there are no constitutional remedies but only ordinary legal remedies.

Some of them are negative in character, that is, place limitations on the authority of the State, while others are positive in nature, conferring certain privileges on the persons.

They are justiciable, allowing persons to move the courts for their enforcement, if violated.

They are defended and guaranteed by the Supreme Court. Hence, the aggrieved person can directly go to the Supreme Court, not necessarily by way of appeal against the judgement of the high courts.

They are not permanent. The Parliament can curtail or repeal them but only by a constitutional amendment act and not by an ordinary act.

They can be suspended during the operation of a National Emergency except the rights guaranteed by Articles 20 and 21. Further, the six rights guaranteed by Article 19 can be suspended only when emergency is declared on the grounds of war or external aggression (i.e., external emergency) and not on the ground of armed rebellion (i.e., internal emergency).

Article 13 declares that all laws that are inconsistent with or in derogation of any of the fundamental rights shall be void. In other words, it expressively provides for the doctrine of judicial review. This power has been conferred on the Supreme Court (Article 32) and the high courts (Article 226) that can declare a law unconstitutional and invalid on the ground of contravention of any of the Fundamental Rights.

Significance of Fundamental Rights:

1. They constitute the bedrock of democratic system in the country.

2. They provide necessary conditions for the material and moral protection of man.

3. They serve as a formidable bulwark of individual liberty.

4. They facilitate the establishment of rule of law in the country.

5. They protect the interests of minorities and weaker sections of society.

6. They strengthen the secular fabric of the Indian State.

7. They check the absoluteness of the authority of the government.

8. They lay down the foundation stone of social equality and social justice.

9. They ensure the dignity and respect of individuals.

10. They facilitate the participation of people in the political and administrative process.