Fundamental Rights of the Indian Constitution

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Fundamental Rights of the Indian Constitution – Page 1

Article 20 : Protection in respect of conviction for offences.

No person shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of the law in force at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence, nor be subjected to a penalty greater than that which might have been inflicted under the law in force at the time of the commission of the offence.

Thus the legislature is prohibited to make criminal laws having retrospective effects.

  1. No person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once (double jeopardy).
  2. No person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.

Under the frame of criminal jurisprudence, a person is presumed to be innocent and it is for the prosecution to establish his guilt.

Again, a person accused of an offence need not make any statement against his will.

Article 21 : Protection of life and personal liberty.

No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.

  1. Personal freedom is secured by the Constitution by the judicial writ of Habeas Corpus (Article 32 and 226).
  2. The 86th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2002, has inserted in the Constitution a new article 21-A. It states that the State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine.

3. Inferred Rights : They are the rights of the citizens which are not explicitly provided by the Constitution but have been derived by liberal interpretation of the various provisions of the Constitution.

Some of the Inferred rights from Article 21 are :General Studies Question Bank CD

  • Right to health of the workers.
  • Right to privacy (i.e. to be left alone).
  • Right to live with dignity.
  • Right against denial of wages and arbitrary dismissal of workers.
  • Right to speedy trial for under-trials.
  • Right against cruel punishment.
  • Right to shelter.
  • Right to free legal aid.

Article 22 : Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases.

It states that :

  1. No person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed of the grounds for such arrest nor shall he be denied the right to consult, and to be defended by, a legal practitioner of his choice;
  2. Every person who is arrested and detained shall be produced before the nearest magistrate within a period of twenty-four hours of such arrest excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the magistrate and no such person shall be detained in custody beyond the said period without the authority of a magistrate.
  • The above safeguards are not, however, available to an enemy alien and a person arrested or detained under a law providing for Preventive Detention.
  • Preventive Detention means ‘Detention of a person without trial’. Its objective is not to punish a man for having done something but to intercept him before he does it and to prevent him from doing it. The government is entitled to detain an individual under Preventive Detention only for two months. If it seeks to detain the arrested person for more than two months, it must obtain a report from an Advisory Board.
  • Parliament is empowered to prescribe, by law, the maximum period for which a person may be detained under a law of Preventive Detention.

Right Against Exploitation

Article 23 : Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour – Traffic in human beings and ‘begar’ (involuntary work without payment) and other similar forms of forced labour are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.

Article 24 : Prohibition of employment of children in factories etc – No child below the age of 14 can be employed in any factory or mine or any other hazardous employment.

Right to Freedom of Religion

Article 25 : Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion.

This right is, however,

  1. Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of Part III of the Constitution.
  2. Further, the State is empowered by law to regulate or restrict any economic, financial, political or other secular activity which may be associated with religious practice.

Article 26 : Freedom to manage religious affairs. Subject to public order, morality and health, every religion shall have the right,

  • To establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes;
  • To manage its own affairs in matters of religion;
  • To own and acquire movable and immovable property;
  • To administer such property in accordance with law.

Article 27 : Freedom as to payment of taxes for promotion of any particular religion – It provides that ‘no person shall be compelled to pay any tax for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion or religious denomination’.

Article 28 : Freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in certain educational institutions.

  • Clause (1) says that no religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of State funds.
  • Clause (2) says that Clause (1) shall not apply to an educational institution which is administered by the State but has been established under any endowment or trust which requires that religious instruction shall be imparted in such institution.
  • Clause (3) says that no person attending any educational institution recognized by die State or receiving aid out of State funds shall be required to take part in any religious instruction that may be imparted in such institution or to attend any religious worship that may be conducted in such institution or in any premises attached thereto unless such person or, if such person is a minor, his guardian has given his consent thereto.

Cultural and Educational Rights

Article 29 : Protection of interests of minorities.

  1. Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or in any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.
  2. No citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.

Article 30 : Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.

  1. All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
  2. The State shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language.

Article 31 : Omitted by the 44th Amendment Act, 1978.

Right to Constitutional Remedies

Article 32: The right to move the Supreme Court in case of the violation of Fundamental Rights (called Soul and heart of the Constitution by Dr. B.R Ambedkar).

To enforce the Fundamental Rights, the Supreme Court is empowered, under Article 32, to issue writs of various forms.

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