Part-III of the Indian Constitution guarantees six fundamental rights to all the citizens
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), and
6) Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32)
The Fundamental Rights are meant for promoting the idea of political democracy. They operate as limitations on the tyranny of the executive and arbitrary laws of the legislature. They are justiciable in nature, that is, they are enforceable by the courts for their violation. The aggrieved person can directly go to the Supreme Court which can issue the writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, certiorari and quo warranto for the restoration of his rights.
However, the Fundamental Rights are not absolute and subject to reasonable restrictions, Further, they are not sacrosanct and can be curtailed or repealed by the Parliament through a constitutional amendment act. They can also be suspended during the operation of a National Emergency except for the rights guaranteed by Articles 20 and 21.
Directive Principles of State Policy
- According to Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the Directive Principles of State Policy is a novel feature of the Indian Constitution. They are enumerated in Part-IV of the Constitution.
- The Directive Principles are meant for promoting the ideal of social and economic democracy.
- They seek to establish a ‘welfare state’ in India. However, unlike the Fundamental Rights, the directives are non-justiciable in nature, that is, they are not enforceable by the courts for their violation.
- Yet, the Constitution itself declares that ‘these principles are fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the state to apply these principles in making laws.
- Hence, they impose a moral of the state authorities for their application. But, the real force (sanction) behind them is political, that is, public opinion.
- In the Minerva Mills case (1980), the Supreme Court held that ‘the Indian Constitution is founded on the bedrock of the balance between the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles.
The original constitution did not provide for the fundamental duties of the citizens. These were added during the operation of internal emergency (197577) by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976 on the recommendation of the Swaran Singh Committee.
The newly inserted Part IV-A of the Constitution (which consists of only one Article- 51-A). specifies the ten Fundamental Duties viz., to respect the Constitution, national flag and national anthem; to protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of the country; to promote the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people; to preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture and so on. The 86th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2002 added one more fundamental duty.
The fundamental duties serve as a reminder to citizens that while enjoying their rights, they have also to be quite conscious of duties they owe to their country, their society and to their fellow citizens. However, like the Directive Principles, the duties are also non-justiciable in nature.