In a democracy, all the powers which the government enjoys are given by people. So, drawing some boundaries on government’s powers becomes necessary. To ensure that the government does not cross the line, citizens are given some rights. In a democracy, the government cannot trespass over these rights. Every citizen gets to live a life of dignity because of these rights. In this lesson, you will learn about the fundamental rights given by the Constitution of India. You will also learn about various conditions associated with these rights.
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Rights are reasonable claims of persons and they are recognized by society and sanctioned by law. This means that an unreasonable claim of a person cannot become a right. Moreover, definition and scope of rights change from one society to another and from a period to different period.
Need of rights in a democracy?
Rights are necessary for the very existence of democracy. Every citizen has the right to participate in the democratic process. Additionally, every citizen has the right to become the part of the democratic government.
Rights protect the rights of the minorities against the majority. Things can go wrong when some citizens try to take away the rights of others.
Rights in the Indian Constitution
Certain rights are fundamental to our life and hence they are given special status in the Constitution. Such rights are called Fundamental Rights. Following are the Fundamental Rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of India:
Right to Equality, Right to Freedom, Right Against Exploitation, Right to Freedom of Religion, Cultural and Educational Right and Right to Constitutional Remedy
Right to Equality:
The government shall not deny the right to equality before the law to any person in India. Every Indian citizen (right from a poor landless labourer to the Prime Minister) is equal in the eyes of the law of the land. The law of the land does not discriminate between two persons on the basis of socio-economic status or power.
Every citizen has equal access to public places and public facilities, like temples, bathing ghats, road, public toilets, community well, etc.
Every person gets the equal opportunity to compete for public jobs, like Civil Services, defence services, etc. However, some provisions have been made to give special preference to people from the SCs, STs, Women and OBCs. Similarly, physically disabled are also given reservation in government jobs. The clause of reservation may appear to be against the idea of equality. But the founders of our constitution were of the opinion that people who had had suffered years of oppression need to be given special facilities in order to improve their socioeconomic condition. Hence, such people are given the facility of reservation so that they can improve their lot.
Untouchability in any form has been banned and has been made a punishable offence. The practice of untouchability is a blot on our society. Even today, people from upper caste maintain a distance even from the shadow of a dalit. Cases of partiality against the dalits can be seen in many villages even in modern times. The situation was very bad during old times.