FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS IN THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION (ARTICLE 12 – 32)

by | Sep 6, 2023

In the tapestry of India’s democracy, fundamental rights enshrined within Articles 12 to 35 of the Indian Constitution, are the vibrant threads that ensure equality, freedom, and justice for its citizens. As India grapples with contemporary issues and societal shifts, the relevance of these rights remains ever-essential.

Right to Equality (Articles 14-18):

  • Article 14: Establishes the principle of equal treatment before the law and ensures that all individuals are equally protected by the law.
  • Article 15: Forbids discrimination based on factors such as religion, race, caste, gender, or place of birth, promoting equal rights for all.
  • Article 16: Ensures that all citizens have an equal opportunity for public employment, eliminating biases and fostering a level playing field.
  • Article 17: Abolishes “untouchability.”
  • Article 18: Abolishes titles and distinctions.

Examples that rightly defines Right to equality: 

  • Recent Scenario: Government initiatives like “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” promote gender equality.
  • Update: The Supreme Court has intervened to abolish “triple talaq” among Muslim communities.

Freedom of Speech and Expression (Article 19):

  • Article 19: Protects the right to freedom of speech and expression, subject to reasonable restrictions.

Examples that rightly defines Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression:

  • Recent Scenario: Debates over online censorship and social media regulations have surged.
  • Update: Government scrutiny of social media platforms has sparked discussions on balancing free speech and tackling misinformation.

Right to Privacy (Article 21):

  • Article 21: Safeguards the fundamental right to life and personal liberty, ensuring protection against unlawful deprivation.

Examples that rightly define Right to Privacy:

  • Recent Scenario: Concerns arose over the privacy of personal data with the “Aadhaar” biometric ID system.
  • Update: In 2017, the Supreme Court affirmed that privacy is a fundamental right, setting a crucial precedent for data protection.

Right to Freedom of Religion (Articles 25-28):

  • Article 25: Secures the right to follow one’s beliefs, practice, and propagate religion freely, respecting freedom of conscience.
  • Article 26: Grants religious denominations the right to manage their religious affairs.
  • Article 27: Restricts the utilisation of public funds for religious objectives or activities.
  • Article 28: Prevents religious instruction in educational institutions funded by the state.

Examples that rightly define Right to Freedom of Religion:

  • Recent Scenario: The construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya marked a significant religious and legal development.
  • Update: The Supreme Court’s 2019 verdict paved the way for the temple’s construction, resolving a long-standing dispute.

Article 29: Protection of Interests of Minorities

  • Article 29: This article safeguards the educational and cultural rights of minorities by allowing them to conserve their distinct language, script, or culture.
  • Recent Scenario: In recent times, linguistic and cultural diversity has been emphasised as an essential aspect of India’s heritage and identity. Initiatives to promote regional languages and cultures have gained momentum.
  • Recent Update: Various state governments have introduced policies to preserve and promote regional languages and cultures, including the teaching of regional languages in schools and the celebration of cultural festivals.

Article 30: Grants minority communities the privilege to establish and manage their educational institutions.

  • Recent Scenario: Discussions around educational autonomy and the rights of minority educational institutions have emerged in the context of government regulations and funding for such institutions.
  • Recent Update: The Supreme Court of India has been hearing cases related to the autonomy of minority educational institutions, balancing their rights with government regulations to ensure quality education and inclusivity.

Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32):

  • Article 32: Empowers citizens to seek remedies for the enforcement of fundamental rights directly from the Supreme Court.

Example that rightly define Right to Constitutional Remedies:

  • Recent Scenario: The Supreme Court played a crucial role in safeguarding the right to protest during the farmers’ protests in 2020-2021.
  • Update: Courts continue to uphold citizens’ rights and provide legal remedies, particularly in matters of public interest.

In the context of Indian society, it’s important to understand that fundamental rights are not absolute and may be subject to reasonable limitations in the interest of public order, morality, health, or the rights of others. These restrictions are put in place to maintain a delicate balance between individual rights and the broader welfare of society. It’s worth noting that the specific fundamental rights and the extent of these restrictions can vary considerably from one country to another, shaped by the unique legal and cultural landscape of each nation.

 

Written By Vishakha Khatri

My name is Vishakha Khatri. I am an engineering graduate and a civil service aspirant with a passion for spreading knowledge about Indian polity. I believe that understanding our political system is crucial for every citizen, and I am committed to making this information accessible to everyone in my own easy way. Through my experiences in civil service preparation and my unique perspective as an engineering graduate, I hope to inspire and educate others on the importance of Indian polity.

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