On one hand, it is often seen that most of us during school days or while preparing for some competitive exams only, tend to pay heed towards the Fundamental Rights & Duties? Simply to score well? Isn’t it? While on the other hand, we don’t even much bother? Am I right? Ah! I’m sure you will agree with me that if a survey is conducted, not many would even know about our Fundamental Rights or Duties, which rather should be on our finger tips as proud citizens and above all, a million dollar question is, if most of us are not aware of our Fundamental Rights & Duties, how could we even follow them? Or even expect others to follow? Or even claim for justice? Thus, this article throws light upon the Fundamental rights of the Indian constitution & the Fundamental Duties which we all should know and also share with others, as one small effort at our end can be a torch- bearer.
At the onset, let us understand what a ‘Preamble’ is?
The Preamble to the Constitution of India is a brief introductory statement that sets out the guiding purpose, principles and philosophy of the constitution. The preamble gives an idea about: (1) the source of the constitution, (2) the nature of the Indian state (3) a statement of its objectives and (4) the date of its adoption.
WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, have solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:
- JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
- LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
- EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all
- FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, DO HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.
The phrase “We the people of India” emphasises that the constitution is made by and for the Indian people and not given to them by any outside power.It also emphasizes the concept of popular sovereignty as laid down by Rousseau: All the power emanates from the people and the political system will be accountable and responsible to the people.
Well, we all are aware that India is a democratic nation and every democratic nation must ensure the rights of its citizens for the proper development and growth of the nation and its people. Democracy itself is a sign of freedom to its people. Every nation provides some rights to its citizens. The judicial system of India protects the fundamental rights of citizens from being violated.
There are six fundamental rights in India enlisted below:
- Right to Equality (Articles 14-18) - It is about rendering equality to all the citizens of India irrespective of their caste, creed, religion, sex, religion, etc and there must be no discrimination on these grounds. It states that every citizen has equality before the law. Equality must be granted in every aspect like employment, living, and opportunities.
- Right to Freedom(Articles 19-22)- The citizens of India are granted freedom of speech and expression, freedom of assembly, freedom to form associations, freedom of movement, freedom of residence, and freedom of practicing any occupation. These rights can be enjoyed by every citizen but have some limits. Freedom must not be misused and restricting other's freedom.
- Right against Exploitation (Articles 23-24) - This right provides the provision of stopping the exploitation of the weaker sections of society especially women and children. It also ensures to stop social evils like human trafficking, child labor, child begging, etc. these are considered to be illegal practices and are punishable.
- Right to Freedom of Religion (Articles 25-28) - This right depicts secularism which is one of the fundamental values of our constitutions. According to this, there is no particular religion of the state or country. This ensures that every citizen of India is free to follow any religion of their choice and belief and is represented in Article 25-28. There must be no discrimination on a religious basis. This also focuses on enabling minorities to practice their culture and traditions and enjoy every opportunity.
- Right to Constitutional Remedies (Articles 29-30) - It is included in Article 32-35. It states that violations of the fundamental rights are subject to remedial action from the court. Any person can appeal in the Supreme Court or High court for protecting their fundamental rights from breaching. Writs like Habeas corpus, mandamus, Certiorari, Quo-Warranto, and Prohibition are issued by Supreme Court and for enforcement of the fundamental rights.
- Cultural and Educational Rights (Articles 32- 35)- The cultural rights included in Article 29-30, ensures the protection of the practicing of a different culture, language, and tradition of the citizens. It is also about providing the freedom to minorities to preserve their culture, language, and Traditions. The educational rights states that the people belonging to minority groups having can set up educational institutions for practicing their own culture and language. However, there was one more fundamental right in the Constitution, i.e., the Right to Property which was removed from the list of fundamental rights by the 44th Constitutional Amendment.
On the other hand, the Fundamental Duties, were incorporated in the Indian Constitution by the 42nd amendment. There are 11 Fundamental Duties for Indian Citizens as follows:
- To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem.
- To cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom.
- To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity, and integrity of India.
- To defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so.
- To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women.
- To value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture.
- To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.
- To develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.
- To safeguard public property and to abjure violence.
- To strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity, so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement.
- Who is a parent or guardian, to provide opportunities for education to his child, or as the case may be, ward between the age of six to fourteen years.
The fundamental Rights are also known to be the soul of the constitution. The key Difference between Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Duties are that Fundamental Rights are justifiable in nature, whereas Fundamental Duties are moral in nature. Fundamental rights can be suspended during a national emergency, whereas Fundamental Duties can be taken away. Fundamental Rights are human rights conferred on the citizens of India whereas, Fundamental Duties were added to the Indian Constitution through the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976.
(The Author is Senior Journalist/ An intl. educationist/Counsellor/ Capacity Building /Research & Development Expert/ Motivational Speaker & Social Reformer)