Fundamental rights are a group of rights that have been recognized by the Supreme Court requiring a high degree of protection from government encroachment. These rights are specifically identified in the Constitution (especially in the Bill of rights), or have been found under due process.
DEFINITION: The Fundamental Rights are defined as basic human freedoms that every Indian citizen has the right to enjoy for a proper and harmonious development of personality. These rights universally apply to all citizens, irrespective of race, place of birth, religion, caste or gender. These rights are enforceable by courts, subject to specific restrictions. These Rights are defined in PART III of the CONSTITUTION. Fundamental rights for Indians have also been aimed at overturning the inequalities of pre-independence social practices. Specifically, they have also been used to abolish untouchability and thus prohibit discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. They also forbid trafficking of human beings and forced labour (a crime). They also protect cultural and educational rights of ethnic and religious minorities by allowing them to preserve their languages and also establish and administer their own education institutions. There are six fundamental rights in total. Below discussed are the fundamental rights:
- RIGHT TO EQUALITY: Which includes equality before law, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, gender or place of birth, and equality of opportunity in matters of employment, abolition of untouchability and abolition of titles. Right to equality is provided from Article 14 to Article 18 of Indian constitution.
- RIGHT TO FREEDOM: Which includes freedom of speech and expression, assembly, association or union or cooperatives, movement, residence, and right to practice any profession or occupation, right to life and liberty, protection in respect to conviction in offences and protection against arrest and detention in certain cases. Right to freedom is provided from Article 19 to 22 of constitution.
- RIGHT AGAINST EXPLOITATAION: Which prohibits all forms of forced labour, child labour and traffic of human beings. It is provided under Articles 23 and 24 of Indian constitution.
- RIGHT TO FREEDOM AND RELIGION: Which includes freedom of conscience and free profession, practice, and propagation of religion, freedom to manage religious affairs, freedom from certain taxes and freedom from religious instructions in certain educational institutes. Article 25 to 28 enumerates the right to freedom of religion.
- RIGHT TO CULTURE AND EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS: Preserve the 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. Article 29 and Article 30 of Indian constitution provides for cultural and educational rights.
- RIGHT TO CONSTITUTINAL REMEDIES: Which is present for enforcement of Fundamental Rights. It is provided under Article 32 of Indian constitution.
AUTHORITIES WHO HANDLE CASES OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS:
- NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION: NHRC is an autonomous public body which was constituted on 12th October 1993. If the alleged act is of national importance then it takes suo moto action on its own.
- STATE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION: Every state in India has its own state human rights commission. If a person who wants to file any human rights violation case then he/ she can visit their respective state commission who handles such cases in that particular area.
- COURTS OF LAW: A person can file a case in higher civil courts if in case his/ her fundamental rights are violated by a public authority or a public figure.
ESSENTIAL NUMBERS TO CONTACT:
- NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION NUMBER: 24651330, 24663333
- STATE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION: Every state has its own state human rights commission based out at a communicable location.
- COURTS: A person can approach any higher court in case of fundamental violation through his/ her lawyer. Also a person who is unable or don’t have sufficient finance to hire a lawyer can take help of human rights commission which is non chargeable.
As Fundamental rights are part of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) an individual can easily approach the Human Rights Commission and follow the below guidelines for filing a violence case or any sort of immediate action that needs to be taken by a complainant.
IMMEDIATE ACTION TO TAKEN BY A VICTIM WHOSE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS HAS BEEN VIOLATED:
- Complaint may be made to the commission either by the victim or by any other person on his behalf.
- Complaint should be in a written format either in English, Hindi or any other language with which the victim is comfortable. Only one set of complaint is to be submitted to the commission.
- Complaint can be sent either by main, fax or even by post.
- No fees is chargeable on this complaints so if in case a victim is a person who has poor financial condition should not worry about finances and all.
- If any documents are there with the victim which can support the violence of the human rights then it should be enclosed along with the complaint.
- Name of the victim, his/ her age, sex, religion/ caste, State and District to which the incident relates, incident date etc. should invariably be mentioned in the complaint.
- If possible one should submit the complaint in the format given down by the national or state human rights commission. He/ she can also take help of a learned person.
- One should submit any human rights violation complaint within one month of the incident occurred.
- The complaint should include all the details regarding the violence, abetment of human rights violence if any etc.
PROCEDURE TO FILE A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS CASE:
- A person can file a case in civil courts depending on the grievance of the violence and also based on the particular right which has been violated.
- A person can also go through human rights commission if a fundamental right is violated, or through any other form of arbitration.
PUNISHMENTS FOR VIOLATING HUMAN RIGHTS: The punishments for violation of fundamental rights are decided by the court of law based on the grievance and on the rights. Sometimes monetary compensation is also provided to the complainant. As fundamental rights are part of Indian Constitution and are enforceable by law so the courts has the sole rights to decide any form of punishment or compensation that is to be provided to the complainant.
MOHINI JAIN Vs. STATE OF KARNATAKA: Here in this case Miss Mohini Jain, a resident of Meerut (in the State of UP), applied for admission to the MBBS course in the session commencing February/March, 1991, to a private medical college located in the State of Karnataka. The college management asked her to deposit a sum of Rs.60, 000/- as the tuition fee for the first year and also to show a bank guarantee of the amount equal to the fee for the remaining years. When Miss Jain’s father intimated the management that the asked amount was beyond his reach, the management denied Ms. Jain’s admission to the medical college. Miss Jain informed the court that the management demanded an additional amount of Rs. four and a half lakhs, however, the management denied the allegation. As per the notification, the denial of admission of Miss Jain due to her failure to submit the yearly tuition fee of Rs. 60,000/- was a valid step taken by the college management. In this situation, Miss Jain filed a petition (Writ petition (Civil) No. 456 of 1991) under Article 32 (1) of the constitution. The court gave a notable judgment which was its insistence that the right to education be read as an integral part of the right to life guaranteed under Article 21, Part III. The decision of the Court that the fulfillment of the right to life requires a life of dignity and therefore, must be interpreted to include both the economic and social rights. Education is as basic as to ensure rights to food, water, and health. So it was concluded that here in this case fundamental rights were violated and hence forth the case became a notable case which went in favor of the student.
BAN ON WOMEN ON ENTERING THE PREMISES OF “SHANI SIGNAPUR”: Shani Signapur is a temple of the Hindu Deity Lord Shani which is located in Ahmednagar District of Maharashtra. The temple allowed only male devotees inside the premises of the temple and the women devotees were not allowed inside due to all forms of taboos and baseless reasons. Such kind of rules were set up by the temple authorities and as this temple is located in a remote area so the rules set up for women were admitted and followed by each one of them. Based on this incidents a PIL was filed by some local residents in the court against this decision that women can’t enter the temple premises. After proper course of the court work, it ended up by disposing the PIL saying that it can only give general direction the government and cannot enter the any personal or individual premises. The decision was not appreciated and again a case was files against the decision. With all the investigation and facts of the case finally court came up with under the Maharashtra Hindu Place of Worship (Entry Authorization) Act, 1956 that if any temple prohibits any person entering a temple he/ she will be punished with Six months of imprisonment. The case was an utter violence of basic fundamental right which discriminated on the basis of gender in order to enter the temple premises. A human being has the right to choose his or her religion and worship as well as to move or loco mote according to their will.