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Brief Notes on Fundamental Rights

The Indian Constitution mentions some of the most important rights of the citizens. These are called fundamental rights. These rights are fundamental in two different ways.

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First, the Constitution gives us these rights, and guarantees them because it believes that the rights are necessary if citizens are to act properly and live democratically. Secondly, effective procedures for the enforcement of these Fundamental Rights have been guaranteed in the Constitution itself.

A citizen has the right to go to the court of law if he/she is denied these rights. The Constitution is their guarantee.

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This Constitution guarantees to six fundamental rights. Apart from these rights, the constitution also mentions some ‘Directive Principles of State Policy’, and a list of fundamental duties of Indian citizens

To understand the fundamental rights it is necessary to know about the directive principles and the fundamental duties.

Indian Constitution guarantees to Indian citizens six fundamental rights. These are:

(i) Right to equality;

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(ii) Right to freedom;

(iii) Right against exploitation;

(iv) Right to freedom of religion;

(v) Cultural and educational rights; and

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(vi) Right to Constitutional remedies. Directive Principles of State Policy

The name Directive Principles of State Policy shows that these are actually directions given by the Constitution of the state to adopt policies, which would help to establish a just society in India.

The aim of these instructions is to create proper economic and social conditions in which citizens of India can lead a good life. The idea of democracy need not be only a political idea.

It can also be expended to the social and economic life of the people. Some of the principles are in the form of social and economic rights, for example, the right to work, the right to free and compulsory education of children up to the age of 14, right to equal wages for equal work; or the right to an adequate livelihood. These rights are not fully enjoyed by all Indian citizens today.

The government has to try to provide conditions under which these can become legal rights of citizens. Unlike fundamental rights the rights mentioned in this part are not justifiable.

The Constitution, however, tells the state, i.e., whoever runs the government that it must not forget these long term aims, and it should try to achieve them in reality. If the government makes a law to enforce any of these principles it cannot be questioned in a court of law on the grounds that it violates any of the guaranteed fundamental rights.

Indian Constitution mentions that the state should strive to give the right of work, right to education, right to assistance from the government in case a citizen is unemployed, sick, retired, or disabled. It should try to give free legal aid to poor people; so that poor people, who suffer greater injustices in society, can also go to courts and defend their rights.

All the Directive Principles, however, are not concerning social and political rights. Some of them are instructions to government in other matters. For instance, the constitution says that state should try to prevent concentration of wealth; it should ensure that workers in factories can have a share in decision-making.

It instructs the state to promote and look after the interests of scheduled castes and tribes. The state is asked to promote cottage industries. It is instructed to protect forests, the wild life of the country and ancient moments.

Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles

Fundamental Rights are justifiable. They can be enforced by courts. The government cannot take away these rights. But the provisions of Directive Principles are not ineffaceable by courts of law.

If a citizen is out of work, he cannot get a writ from the courts of law. If a citizen is out of work, he cannot get a writ from the courts of law. If a citizen is out of work, he cannot get a writ from the courts

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