Fundamental Rights (Paper 2, Section 3, Unit 1)

The Fundamental Rights embodied in the Indian constitution acts as a guarante that all Indian citizens can and will lead their lifes in peace as long as they live in Indian democracy. These civil liberties take precedence over any other law of the land. They include individual rights common to most liberal democracies, such as equality before the law, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, freedom of religion, and the right to constitutional remedies for the protection of civil rights such as habeas corpus.

In addition, the Fundamental Rights for Indians are aimed at overturning the inequities of past social practices. They have also been used to in sucessfully abolishing the "untouchability"; prohibit discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth; and forbid trafficking in human beings and also the forced labor. They go beyond conventional civil liberties in protecting cultural and educational rights of minorities by ensuring that minorities may preserve their distinctive languages and establish and administer their own education institutions.

Originally, the right to property was also included in the Fundamental Rights; however, the Forty-fourth Amendment, passed in 1978, revised the status of property rights by stating that "No person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law." Freedom of speech and expression, generally interpreted to include freedom of the press, can be limited "in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence" 

The Constitution offers all citizens, individually and collectively, some basic freedoms. These are guaranteed in the Constitution in the form of six broad categories of Fundamental Rights, which are justiciable. Article 12 to 35 contained in Part III of the Constitution deal with Fundamental Rights. These are:
  1. right to equality, including equality before law, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, and equality of opportunity in matters of employment;
  2. right to freedom of speech and expression, assembly, association or union, movement, residence, and right to practice any profession or occupation (some of these rights are subject to security of the State, friendly relations with foreign countries, public order, decency or morality);
  3. right against exploitation, prohibiting all forms of forced labour, child labour and traffic in human beings;
  4. right to freedom of conscience and free profession, practice, and propagation of religion;
  5. right of any section of citizens to conserve their culture, language or script, and right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice; and
  6. right to constitutional remedies for enforcement of Fundamental Rights.

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