The Constitution of India embodies an impressive list of Fundamental Rights and thus offers to all citizens individually and collectively those basic freedoms and conditions of life which alone can make life significant and democracy fruitful. Such rights are considered to be essential for the proper, moral and material upliftment of people. These rights are an integral part of the Constitution and hence cannot be altered or taken away by ordinary legislation. These rights are fundamental in the sense that any law passed by any legislature in the country would be declared as null and void if it is derogatory to the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. If any of these rights is violated, the individual affected is entitled to move the Supreme Court or High Court for the protection and enforcement of his rights. However, during operation of emergency, the President may suspend all the Fundamental Rights and may also suspend the right of the people to move the High Courts and Supreme Court for the enforcement of these rights. Any such order may extend to the whole or any part of India.Originally Constitution provided for seven Fundamental Rights But Right to property was removed from the list of the Fundamental Rights by the 44th Constitution Amendment Act, 1978 and after amendment, it was made legal right under Article 300-A in part-12 of the constitution.
(1) Right to Equality (Articles 14-18)
It guarantees to all persons (citizens as well as others) equality before the law and equal protection of law. It prohibits discrimination between citizens on ground only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, or any of them. All citizens have equal access to shops, public entertainments and places of public resort, which are maintained wholly or partly by the State. However, special provisions may be made in respect of women, children, socially and educationally backward classes, and scheduled castes and tribes. The Constitution guarantees equal opportunities relating to public employment to all citizens, but some posts may be reserved for backward classes. It abolishes untouchability and also abolishes the system of conferring titles by the State, except military and academic distinctions.
(2) Right to Freedom (Articles 19-22)
(i) freedom of speech and expression;
(ii) freedom to assemble peaceably and without arms;
(iii) freedom to form associations or unions;
(iv) freedom of movement throughout India;
(v) freedom to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India; and
(vi) freedom to practise any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.
These freedoms are subject to reasonable restrictions that may be imposed by the State in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or any other restrictions in the interests of the general public.
(3) Right against Exploitation (Articles 23-24)The right seeks to ban traffic in human beings, begar or any other form of forced labour. Employment of children below 14 years of age in any factory or mine or other risky occupations is also prohibited by law.
(4) Right to Freedom of Religion (Articles 25-28)
All citizens have been guaranteed freedom to profess, practise and propagate any religion. Every religious group has been given the freedom to manage its religious affairs and to own, acquire and administer property for religious or charitable purposes.
(5) Cultural and Educational Rights (Articles 29-30)
This right guarantees to the minorities the right of conserving their language, script and culture, to receive education and administer educational institutions of their choice.
(6) Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32)
It guarantees the right to move the Supreme Court for the enforcement of Fundamental Rights. This right can, however, be suspended during the operation of a proclamation of emergency by the President.
Right to Education has been granted by the 86th Constitutional Amendment carried out in 2002. The Amendment stipulates that the “government shall provide free and compulsory education to all children from the age of 6 to 14 in such a manner as the State may by law determine.” The Act also enjoins upon the parents to send their children to school by including it as a Fundamental Duty under Article 51 A. Further, it enjoins on the State to endeavour to provide early childhood care and education to all children until they complete six years of age. It may be noted that if a child is denied this right he can take the State to court.