• The Fundamental Rights are enshrined in Part III of the Constitution from Articles 12 to 35. In this regard, the framers of the Constitution derived inspiration from the Constitution of USA (i.e., Bill of Rights). Part III of the Constitution is rightly described as the Manga Carta of India.
  1. Right to equality (Articles 14-18)
  2. Right to freedom (Articles 19-22)
  3. Right against exploitation (Articles 23-24)
  4. Right to freedom of religion (Articles 25-28)
  5. Cultural and educational rights (Articles 29-30)
  6. Right to property (Article 31)
  7. Right to constitutional remedies (Article 32)


  1. Some of them are available only to the citizens while others are available to all persons whether citizens, foreigners or legal persons like corporations or companies.
  2. They are not absolute but qualified. The state can impose reasonable restrictions on them. However, whether such restrictions are reasonable or not is to be decided by the court.
  3. Most of them are available against the arbitrary action of the State.
  4. Some of them are negative in character.
  5. They are justiciable, allowing persons to move the courts for their enforcement, if and when they are violated.
  6. They are defended and guaranteed by the Supreme Court.
  7. They are not sacrosanct permanent. The Parliament can curtail or repeal them but only by a constitutional amendment act. Moreover, this can be done without affecting the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution.
  8. They can be suspended during the operation of a National Emergency except the rights guaranteed by Articles 20 and 21. Further, the six rights guaranteed by Article 19 can be suspended only when emergency is declared on the grounds of war or external aggression not on the ground of armed rebellion.


  • Article 12 has defined the term for the purposes of Part III.


  • Article 13 declares that all laws that are inconsistent with or in derogation of any of the fundamental rights shall be void. In other words it expressively provides for the doctrine of judicial review. This power has been conferred on the Supreme Court (Article 32) and the high on the Supreme Court (Articles 226) that can declare a law unconstitutional and invalid on the ground of contravention of any of the Fundamental Rights.


1.Equality before Law and Equal Protection of Laws

  • Article 14 says that the State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
  • The concept of ‘equality before law’ is of British origin’ ‘equal protection of laws’ has been taken from the American Constitution.

Rule of Law

  • The Concept of ‘equality before law is an element of the concept of ‘Rule of Law’, propounded by A.V.Dicey, the British jurist.

Exception to Equality

  1. The President or the Governor is not answerable to any court for the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of his office.
  2. No criminal proceeding shall be instituted or continued against the president or the Governor in any court during his term of office.
  3. No civil proceedings against the President or the Governor shall be until the expiration of two months next after notice has been delivered to him.

2 .Prohibition of Discrimination on Certain Grounds

  • Article 15 provides that the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. The two crucial words in this provision are ‘discrimination’ and ‘only’. The word ‘discrimination means’ to make an adverse distinction with regard to ‘or’ to distinguish unfavorably from others.
  • The state is permitted to make any special provision for women and children.

3.Equality of Opportunity in Public Employment

  • Article 16 provides for equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters of employment or appointment to any office under the State. No citizen can be discriminated against or be ineligible for any employment or office under the State on grounds of only religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth or residence.

Mandal Commission and Aftermath

  • In 1979 the Morarji Desai Government appointed the Second Backward Classes Commission under the chairmanship of B.PMandal, a Member of Parliament, in terms of Article 340 of the Constitution to investigate the conditions of the socially and educationally backward classes and suggest measures for their advancement.
  • The commission submitted its report in 1980 and indentified as many as 3743 castes as socially and educationally backward classes. They constitute nearly 52% component of the population, excluding the scheduled castes (SCs) and the scheduled tribes (STs).
  • The commission recommended for reservation of 27% government jobs for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) so that the total reservation for all ((SCs, STs, and OBCs) amounts to 50%. It was after ten years in 1990 that the V.P Singh Government declared reservation of 27% government jobs for the OBCs.
  1. RamNandan Committee was appointed to identify the creamy layer among the OBCs. It submitted its report in 1993, which was accepted.
  2. b)National Commission for Backward Classes was established in 1993.

4.Abolition of Untouchability

  • Article 17 abolishes ‘untouchability’ and for-bids its practice in any form. The enforcement of any disability arising out of untouchability shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law. In 1976, the Untouchability (Offences) Act, 1955. Protection of Civil Rights Act. The term ‘untouchability’ has not been defined either in the Constitution.

1.Protection of six Rights

Article 19

  • It is the ‘key article’ in connection with the fundamental rights and guarantees ‘six freedoms’. The freedoms are

(i) Freedom of speech and expression

(ii)Freedom of assembly peacefully and without-arms

(iii) Freedom to form associations and unions

(iv) Freedom to move freely throughout  India

(v) Freedom to reside and settle in any part of India

(vi) Freedom to reside any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.

  • The six freedoms are essential for the successful working of democracy.
  • Originally Art 19 contains seven rights but in 44th amendment 1978 Right to Property was been removed and added to Art 300a as a legal right.
  • Reasonable restrictions are Unity, Integrity, Sovereignity, Peace – RR decided by SC
  1. Freedom of Speech and Expression
  • The State can impose restrictions on the exercise of the freedom of speech and expression on the grounds of sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality, contempt of court, defamation, and incitement to an offence.
  1. Protection in Respect of Conviction for Offences
  • No ex-post-fact to law: No person shall be (i) convicted of any offence expect for violation of a law in force at the time of the commission of the act.
  • No double jeopardy: No person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once.
  • No self-incrimination: No person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.
  1. Protection of Life and Personal Liberty
  • Article 21 declares that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. Gopalan case, Supreme Court. Article 21 is available only against arbitrary executive action and not from arbitrary legislative action.
  • But in Menaka case the Supreme Court overruled its judgement in the Gopalan case, it ruled that the right to life and personal liberty of a person can be deprived by Article 21 should be available not only against arbitrary executive action but also against arbitrary legislative action.
  1. Right to live with human dignity.
  2. Right to decent environment including pollution free water and air and protection against hazardous industries.
  3. Right to livelihood
  4. Right to privacy
  5. Right to shelter
  6. Right to health
  7. Right to free education up to 14 years of age.
  8. Right to free legal aid
  9. Right against solitary confinement
  10. Right to speedy trail
  11. Right against
  12. Right against in human treatment
  13. Right against delayed execution
  14. Right to travel abroad
  15. Right against bonded labour
  16. Right against custodial harassment
  17. Right to emergency medical aid
  18. Right to emergency medical treatment in government HOSPITAL
  19. Right not to be driven out of a state
  20. Tight to fair trail
  21. Right of prisoner to have necessities of life.
  22. Right of women to be treated with decency and dignity
  23. Right against public hanging.
  24. Right to hearing
  25. Right to information
  26. Right to reputation

4.Right to Education

  • Article 21 A. This provision was added by the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2002.
  • Article 21. It held that every child or citizen of this country has a right to free education until he completes the age of 14 years.

5.Protection Against Arrest and Detention

  • The Article 22 has two parts- the first part deals with the cases of ordinary law and the second part deals with the cases of preventive detention law.

a)The first part of Article 22 confers the following rights on a person who is arrested or detained under an ordinary law:

  1. Right to be informed of the grounds of arrest.
  2. Right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner.
  • Right to be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, excluding the journey time.
  1. Right to be released after 24 hours unless the magistrate authorizes further detension.

b)The second part of Article 22 grants protection to persons who are arrested or detained under a preventive detention law.

            i)The detention of a person cannot exceed three months unless an advisory board reports sufficient cause for extended detention.

  • Preventive Detention Act, 1950. Expired in 1969.
  • Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA), 1971. Repealed in 1978.
  • Conservation of Foreign Exchange and prevention of Smuggling Activities Act (COFEPOSA), 1974
  • National Security Act (NASA), 1980
  • Prevention of Black marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act (PBMSECA), 1980.
  • Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), 1985. Repealed in 1995
  • Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (PITNDPSA), 1988
  • Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), 2002, Repealed in 2004.


  1. Prohibition of Traffic in Human Beings and Forced labour
  • Article 23 prohibits traffic in human beings, beggar (forced labour) and other similar forms of forced labour. Any contravention of this provision  shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.
  • The expression ‘traffic in human beings’

                        a)Selling and buying of men, women and children like goods.

                        b)Immortal traffic in women and children, including prostitution



  • To punish these acts, the Parliament has made the Immoral Traffic (Prevention)Act,1956. The term ‘begar’ means compulsory work without remuneration.
  1. Prohibition of Employment of Children in Factories, etc.
  • Article 24 prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 years in any factory, mine of other hazardous activities like construction work or railway.

The Child Labour Act, 1986.

  • The Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 was enacted to provide for the establishment of a National Commission and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights.
  • In 2006, the government banned the employment of children as domestic servants or worker in business establishments like hotels.


1 .Freedom of Conscience and Free Profession, Practise and Propogation of  Religion

Article 25

  • It gives all people the freedom of conscience, and the right to profess practice and propagate any religion
  1. Freedomto Manage Religious Affairs
  • Article 26, every religious denomination

a)Right to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes

b)Right to manage its own affairs in matters of religion

c)Right to own and acquire movable and immovable property

d)Right to administer such property in accordance with law.

  • Article 25 guarantees rights of individuals while Article 26 guarantees rights of religious denominations or their sections.

3 .Freedom from Taxation for Promotion of a Religion

  • Article 27 lays down that no person shall be compelled to pay any taxes for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion or religious denomination.

4 .Freedom from Attending Religious Instruction

  • Under Article 28, no religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of State funds. How-ever, this provision shall not apply to an educational institution administered by the State but established under any endowment or trust, requiring imparting of religious instruction in such institution.


  1. Protection of Interests of Minorities
  • Article 29 provides that any section of the citizens residing in any part of India having a citizens residing in any part of India having a distinct language, script or culture of its own, shall have the right to conserve the same. Further, 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, or language.
  • Article 29 grants protection to both religious minorities as well as linguistic minorities.

2.Right of Minorities to Establish and Administer Educational Institutions

  • Article 30 grants the following rights to minorities, whether religious or linguistics:

a)All minorities shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.

b)In granting aid, the State shall not discriminate against any educational institution managed by a minority.


Article 32

  • The Constitution of India has not only listed fundamental rights, but has also prescribed remedies against their violation. Article 32 of the Constitution has guaranteed the people the right to move the High Courts and the Supreme Court for the enforcement of the fundamental rights, the writs of Habeas corpus, Mandamus Prohibition, Quo Warranto, and Certiorari. A citizen who feels that any of his rights has been violated by an executive order may request the Supreme Court to issue the appropriate Writ for the restoration of his right.

Habeas Corpus

  • It is a Latin term which literary means ‘to have the body of’. It is an order issued by the court to a person who has detained another person, to produce the body of the latter before it.


  • It literally means ‘we command’. It is a command issued by the court to a public official asking him to perform his official duties that he has failed or refused to perform.


  • Literally, it means ‘to forbid’. It is issued by a higher court to a lower court or tribunal to prevent the latter from exceeding its jurisdiction or usurping a jurisdiction that it does not possess.


  • It is issued by a higher court to a lower court or tribunal either to transfer a case pending with the latter to itself or to squash the order of the latter in a case. Thus, unlike prohibition, which is only preventive, certiorari is both preventive as well as curative.


  • In the literal sense, it means ‘by what authority or warrant’. It is issued by the court to enquire into the legality of claim of a person to a public office.

Suspension of Fundamental Rights:

  • Therefore, the 44th Amendment Act of 1978 abolished the right to property as a Fundamental Right by repealing Article 19(1)(1) and Article 31 from part III. Instead, the Act in serted a new Article 300A.


  1. No tax shall be levied or collected except by authority of law (Article 265 in part XII)
  2. No person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law (Article 300- A in Part XII)
  3. Trade, commerce and intercourse through out the territory of India shall be free (Article 301 in Part XIII)
  4. The elections to the Lok Sabha and the State Legislative Assembly shall be on the basis of adult suffrage (Article 326 in Part XV)
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