Importance of Fundamental Rights in India.
The vitality of fundamental rights is stated in our constitution. Part III of the constitution covers all the traditional civil and political rights enumerated in the universal declaration of human rights. Dr Ambedkar described them as the most citizen part of the constitution. They were considered essential to protect the liberties and rights of the people against the infringement of the power delegated by them to their government. These rights embody the basic values cherished by the people of this country since the Vedic times.
Fundamental rights are always planned to protect the dignity of the individual and create situations that can help every human being to develop his personality to the fullest extent. They interlace a guaranteed pattern on the basic structure of human rights. It imposes negative obligations on the state, not on encroaching on individual liberty in its various dimensions. They are most essential for the attainment by the individual of his full intellectual, moral and spiritual status.
The object of the inclusion of them in the constitution is to establish a government of law and not of man. Fundamental Rights protect the liberties and freedom of the citizens against any invasion by the state, and prevent the establishment of authoritarian and dictatorial rule in the country. They are very essential for the all-around development of individuals and the country.
Fundamental rights are essentially human rights but are regulated by the Constitution in India. They integrate him with the society and at the same time as they incorporate educational value also, a citizen is able to understand the importance of all the members of the society. The Constitution also provides for enforcement of these rights hence they have legal value also which empower a citizen to protect, respect and fulfil the rule of law. They uphold the equality of all individuals, the dignity of the individual and the nation’s unity.
It can be very clear from the points below: -
1. Rule of Law: These rights are a protection for the citizens against the government and are necessary for having the rule of law and not of a government or a person. Since it is explicitly given by the constitution to the people, these rights dare not be transgressed by the authority. The govt. is fully answerable to the courts and is fully required to uphold these rights.
2. First fruits of the freedom struggle: After living in subjugation for such a long time, people had forgotten what freedom meant by freedom. These rights give people hope and belief that there is no stopping their growth. They are free from the whims of the rulers. In that sense, they are first fruits of the long freedom struggle and bring a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment.
3. Quantification of Freedom: Every Indian citizen is free to practice a religion of his choice, but that is not so in the Gulf countries. Our right to speech and expression allows us to freely criticize the govt. but this is not so in China.
The fundamental rights were included in the constitution because they were considered essential for the development of the personality of every individual and to preserve human dignity. The writers of the constitution regarded democracy of no avail if civil liberties, like freedom of speech and religion, were not recognised and protected by the State. According to them, democracy is, in essence, a government by opinion and therefore, the means of formulating public opinion should be secured to the people of a democratic nation. For this purpose, the constitution guaranteed to all the citizens of India the freedom of speech and expression and various other freedoms in the form of the fundamental rights.
All people, irrespective of race, religion, caste or gender, have been given the right to petition directly the Supreme Court or the High Courts for the enforcement of their fundamental rights. It is not necessary that the aggrieved party has to be the one to do so. Poverty-stricken people may not have the means to do so and therefore, in the public interest, anyone can commence litigation in the court on their behalf. This is known as "public interest litigation". In some cases, High Court judges have acted Suo moto on their own on the basis of newspaper reports.
These fundamental rights help not only in protection but also the prevention of gross violations of human rights. They emphasise on the fundamental unity of India by guaranteeing to all citizens the access and use of the same facilities, irrespective of background. Some fundamental rights apply for persons of any nationality whereas others are available only to the citizens of India. The right to life and personal liberty is available to all people and so is the right to freedom of religion. On the other hand, freedoms of speech and expression and freedom to reside and settle in any part of the country are reserved for citizens alone, including non-resident Indian citizens. The right to equality in matters of public employment cannot be conferred to overseas citizens of India.
Fundamental rights primarily protect individuals from any arbitrary state actions, but some rights are enforceable against individuals. For instance, the Constitution abolishes untouchability and also prohibits beggar. These provisions act as a check both on state action as well as the action of private individuals. However, these rights are not absolute or uncontrolled and are subject to reasonable restrictions as necessary for the protection of general welfare. They can also be selectively curtailed. The Supreme Court has ruled that all provisions of the Constitution, including fundamental rights, can be amended, but that Parliament cannot alter the basic structure of the constitution. Since the fundamental rights can be altered only by a constitutional amendment, their inclusion is a check not only on the executive branch but also on the Parliament and state legislatures.
A state of national emergency has an adverse effect on these rights. Under such a state, the rights conferred by Article 19 (freedoms of speech, assembly and movement, etc.) remain suspended. Hence, in such a situation, the legislature may make laws that go against the rights given in Article 19. The President may by order suspend the right to move the court for the enforcement of other rights as well.