You know fundamental rights. The right to equality is our Fundamental Right. As you guys know, Fundamental rights are something known as very basic rights. The Constitution of India is a mother of all laws. Now, these rights, which are called fundamental rights are something which is inalienable rights.
What do you understand by inalienable basic human rights?
Now inalienable rights are those rights, which cannot be alienated, or taken away from a human being, now if those rights are taken away from a human being, A human being physically might remain a human being but cannot be more than an animal? If I take away your right to equality. If I take your fundamental rights to freedom of speech and expression. If I take a person’s right to life.
Will he be considered a human being?
The answer is no. And that’s why the framers, the people who gave our constitution said that the government or the state, it is their incumbent duty to provide certain basic human rights to the people of the country to the citizens of the country. Now,
what is the concept of fundamental rights under our Constitution?
Fundamental rights are those set of rights under part three of our Constitution, given under Part II of our Constitution, which provides, basic human rights to the citizens of the country. Now, these rights are simple, basic human rights. If these rights are taken away from a human being, that man or that woman will not be considered as a human being on earth. For example, if I take a person’s right to life. If I take a person’s right to freedom of speech and expression. If I take a person his right to equality. Of course, he will remain physically, a human being. He will remain physically as a human being but can he be considered as a real human being on Earth?. The answer is no.
So, the fundamental right gives only basic human rights to individuals. Now, these rights that are given are talked about as fundamental rights, they are inalienable. Now, what do you mean by inalienable rights? those rights, which can never be taken away under whatever circumstances exception is during an emergency, some of your fundamental rights are suspended, but not all.
Now, what is the concept of Fundamental Rights? the fundamental rights place constraints and obligations on the action. can a law be passed by the parliament that takes away your fundamental rights?
The answer is no. Now, the parliament is all under its power, has the power to make laws. The Parliament can make laws. That is what the power is given to the Parliament, as per the Constitution. But the question is, Can a person’s fundamental rights be snatched or taken away by a law passed by the parliament? And the answer is simply no. There are a number of judgments of the Honorable Supreme Court, which says that the following cannot make a law that infringes or violates a person’s fundamental rights. Now the fundamental rights are recognized by the state and have been enshrined in part III of the Constitution. Now, these are justiciable.
The concept of justice.
In case of an infringement of your fundamental rights. Suppose your fundamental rights are violated, you can approach the Court of law.
There’s something called the jurisdiction of the High Court and the Supreme Court. There is something called the writ jurisdiction of the High Court 226 writ jurisdiction of the Supreme Court article 32 of the Indian constitution. Now, that means whatever violation of your fundamental rights, a person has a remedy in the court of law. Fundamental Rights are guaranteed by the state. That means, it is the guarantor of your fundamental rights.
So, basically, the concept of the fundamental right is given, in a nutshell, it’s a set of basic human rights. Most of our fundamental rights are a very basic set of human rights. And they are inalienable in nature. It gives a restraint or an obligation on the state, not to make a law, not to make a law that violates a person’s fundamental rights. These rights are enshrined under Part Three of the Constitution. These are justiciable for a violation of your fundamental rights. You have a right to approach the court and claim remedy. And the state is the guarantor of your fundamental rights.
Six Fundamental Rights
- Right to Equality,
- Right to Freedom,
- Right against Exploitation,
- Right to Freedom of Religion,
- Cultural and Educational Rights, and
- Rights to Constitutional Remedies.
So these are the six rights that are provided under the Constitution to India to every citizen concern. Now of course, there are certain rights, certain fundamental rights that are provided exclusively to citizens, and there are also certain fundamental rights that are given to even non citizens. For example right to equality, right to equality is rarely applicable to both citizen as well as a non-citizen.
Now, these are the set of six fundamental rights provided under part three of our Constitution. And today I would like to put your attention on rights and equality.
Article 12 your fundamental rights, starts with article 12, fundamental rights are guaranteed by the state. That means it is the duty of the state to protect your fundamental rights. It is the incumbent duty of the state to protect your fundamental rights.
Now suppose the state has failed in its duty to protect your fundamental rights. You have a right to approach the court writ jurisdiction comes into being. So the Constitution provides you with fundamental rights, and it’s very categorically that it is the obligation of the State, To protect every man’s fundamental rights.
What does article 12 say? Article 12 defines what is the state? It says that the State includes the Union government, the Parliament of India, the legislature, the executive, and local government, and other authorities but not the judiciary. That is the executive government is the executive Parliament of India.
Government and the legislature of every state that is the legislature, executive, as well as local as well as other authorities, which come under the control of the government of India.
Article 12 of the Indian Constitution (Definition of State includes)
- The Union Government,
- The Parliament of India,
- The Government and Legislature of each of the States,
- All local or other authorities under the control of the Government of India.
So, in case any of these bodies. If the Union government. If the parliament, if the state legislature, or any other authority violates your fundamental rights, you have a right to approach the court under the jurisdiction.
Now my question is, can private individuals violate your fundamental rights?
The answer is yes. The government of India cannot violate your fundamental rights, but a person, a private individual can definitely violate your fundamental rights because fundamental rights are guaranteed by the government, and not by a private individual like me.
Now let’s move to article 13 And let’s see what is given under Article 13. Article 13 talks about the fact that the Parliament cannot make a law that takes away, or abridges your fundamental rights. Let’s understand what it is. It simply says that the parliament, when it makes a law cannot make a law that violates a person’s fundamental rights. Since India became independent. There were certain laws, like your Indian Contract Act 1872. There is an Indian Contract Act of, 1872 much before the Constitution came into being. Now it article 13 says any pre-constitutional law, in so far that if they are inconsistent with your fundamental rights. They shall be held in a void.
For example, do you have an Indian contract that you have an Indian Contract Act of 1872 No? If any provision of that Indian Contract Act is violated, is violative of your Part V lives that is your fundamental rights, then in so far as those inconsistency is concerned, it will be declared as void. Article 13 talks about pre-constitutional law, and it also talks about post-constitutional law. It says that states shall not make the government of India, the parliament, local authorities cannot make a law that abridges your fundamental rights.
Now, I’ll give you a small example. Suppose, tomorrow the DMRC the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation comes out with an advertisement and says, that there is a vacancy for Safai Karma Chari. We are going to recruit people only if they are born in Delhi. If you are not born in Delhi, we are not going to recruit you. Now, Can a person be discriminated against can a law be made that violates your fundamental rights? Now here comes the application of article 14. Now please understand what is article 14? Article 14 of our Constitution, talks about the concept of the right to equality. What do you mean by equality, equality means equality before the law and equal protection of the law. Now let me give you an example.
What do you mean by equality before the law?
Every man, every woman should be treated equally under the law. For example, suppose a commits a murder, and a Muslim commits the murder is a lot different for Hindus is a lot different for Muslims? NO. A man commits murder, a woman commits murder. The same law that is applicable. A Brahman commits murder and a Shubra commits murder is the law Equal? Yes. A person from West Bengal commits murder, a person from Kerala commits murder is the law, equal to both of them. Yes, and that is what we called equality before the law.
Yes, the law for all the people. When a judge seeing you, when he sees a case, when he’s sitting and deciding a case, he does not see whether before the aim is Amitabh Bachchan, or before him, is a poor laborer. (Only Personal law is different). Insofar as personal law is concerned, it does not operate on the principle of equality.
Now, let’s understand equal protection of the law.
But before that, let me explain to you what is equal protection. Equal protection of law means equals to be treated equally, and unequal to be treated unequally. I’ll give you a small example, I just give you a small example. Now, suppose Mr. Here is a person, Mr. A, who earns one lakh rupee per month. So, he is earning a twelve lakh rupee per annum. Suppose a man earns 12 lakh rupee per year. And the government of India says, if a person earns 12 lakh rupee, a year, he has to pay ten percent. Suppose Mr. B’s is Mr. B earns one crore, a year, he has to pay 30% of tax. So how much is Mr. He giving us that’s 10% of twelve lakhs? i.e., One lakh 20,000 rupees.
Mr. A is being taxed one lakh 20,000 rupees 10% of his salary. And the government says, if your income is one Crore, you have to pay, how much taxes B has to pay? i.e., 30 lakhs. Mr. B goes to the High Court, and says, Judge, I am paying 30% as tax. And here is Mr. A was paying 10% as tax Is that is that equality? what should be your answer? Is that that law that difference differentiates man on the basis of his earning is it, equality, or is it inequality?
Absolutely. There is a difference between the earning of A and the arming of bees. Can you compare apples with oranges? No
equal should be treated equally, any unequal should be treated equally. This means a person who is, any person who is earning 12 lakhs per annum, can he be compared with someone who is earning one crore annum?- No. And that is the concept of equal protection of the law. The law protects. This concept is called equal protection of the law.
Now let’s come to article 15 Article.
No person shall be discriminated. Article 15 says that, the state shall not discriminate on the grounds of his religion, race, caste, sex, people, whether a person is a Hindu, a Muslim, or a Christian. The state should not discriminate. Whether he comes from the forward race or backward race, whatever it is. He should not be discriminated against on the basis of his race. Whether a person is a Brahmin, or sudra, a type, whatever. There are so many castes in India.
A person comes from a high caste, low caste, whichever caste, he should not be discriminated against on the basis of his caste. Whether a person is a man or a woman, whatever he or she is. He will not be discriminated. Whether a person is born in West Bengal, or in Kerala, or in Maharashtra, he will not be discriminated.
Under Article 15, there is a fundamental right that says that a person shall not discriminate, a person on the basis of religion, race, sex, or place of birth.
The article says that the state can make special provisions for the advancement of the socially, educationally backward Class of citizens. That is scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. The first part of Article 15 says that the state shall not discriminate. The very next provision of article 15 says that the state can make special provisions for the advancement of the socially, educationally Backward Classes are scheduled class and schedule for their admission to an educational institution, including private institution.
This provision has been incorporated giving powers to the state to make special provisions for the socially and educationally backward classes of people. And this gives rise to the concept of reservation in India. But the reservation in India cannot exceed 50% of the reservation as a judgment of the Supreme Court, called Indra Sawhney case.
In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court, Indra Sawhney case said that the reservation. The reservation cannot exceed this limit. (reservation in India cannot exceed 50% of the reservation)
Let’s understand what Article 16
Article 16 says, equality of opportunity, relating to employment. So, the state should treat everyone equally, insofar as employment and appointments to an office, under the state is concerned., It means. Just because a person is Hindu, he will get employment. And just because a person is Muslim. He will not be allowed employment in a particular state organization, it cannot happen. Article 16 talks about equality of opportunity. Everyone should be treated equally in so far as public employment is concerned, but it also makes an exception to the rule, wherein it says that speed can be expression provision for reservation on appointment relating to Backward Class of citizens. That means, on one hand, Article 16 says that there should be equality of opportunity, again, on the other hand, article 16 says that the state can provide make special laws, states can make special laws for the appointment of backward classes.
Article 17 talks about the abolition of untouchability, which we are discussing right now, equality. if a person called someone untouchable. Is he holding that man in equal terms?
Article 18 talks about the abolition of Titles.
Understand this article 17 talks about the abolition of untouchability. And article 18 talks about abolishing titles. Now, if I call someone untouchable as article 17 and as article 18 I call someone Maharani. Now please understand these two concepts, if I call someone untouchable. I am putting that man on a lower pedestal. And when I call someoner Maharani. I am putting that man, on a higher pedestal. This is violative of the right to equality. So equality means you cannot call someone untouchable. Neither can you call someone Maharani. So all titles or titles like a share Babu on Mahalo, all these titles that all been abolished after the Constitution came into being.