A country’s citizens have certain ‘claims’ or ‘entitlements’ for their individual development. The Constitution of India underlines such principles and guarantees them through a set of Fundamental Rights. These rights are enforceable through the court of law and the judiciary can step in if a law seems to restrict these rights.
The Fundamental Rights are:
Right to Equality:
Towards this end, the Constitution also abolished Untouchability and Titles.
Right to Freedom:
The Constitution lays down that all citizens shall have the right to –
- freedom of speech and expression;
- assemble peaceably and without arms;
- form associations or unions;
- move freely throughout the territory of India;
- reside and settle in any part of the territory of India; and
- practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business (this was not part of the original Right to Freedom and was inserted through the Forty-second Constitution Amendment in 1978)
Right against Exploitation:
This right prohibits traffic in human beings and forced labour. It also lays down that no child below the age of 14 years will be employed in factories, mines or other hazardous sectors.
Right to Freedom of Religion:
This right lays down that all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, propagate and propagate religion. This is, however, subject to public order, morality and health and to other relevant provisions laid down in the Constitution. This Fundamental Right gives every religious denomination the freedom to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes and to manage their religious affairs.
Cultural and Educational Rights:
This right protects the interests of the minorities. It says,” 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.” It prohibits any educational institution maintained by or aided/funded by the State from denying admission to any citizen only on the basis of religion, race, caste or language. The right also gives the minorities the freedom to establish and administer educational institutions.
Right to Constitutional Remedies:
This provides for remedies for the enforcement of the Fundamental Rights provided by the Constitution, including the right to move the Supreme Court of India.
Right to Education:
Incorporated through the the Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002, it says that the state shall provide free and compulsory education between the age of six and 14 years “in such manner as the State may, by law, determine”.
One of the Fundamental Rights originally included in the Constitution, the Right to Property, was omitted through the Forty-fourth Constitutional Amendment in 1978. It was instead recognized as a “legal right”.