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Indian Polity / Fundamental Rights

Salient Features of Fundamental Rights

    The most important feature of the fundamental rights is that they are justiciable in nature. This feature differentiates the fundamental rights from the rest of the rights. Justiciability means moving the Supreme Court against the violation of fundamental rights or for enforcing the fundamental rights under the Article 32 by means of constitutional remedies in the form of writs.

    Important Features

    • Fundamental rights are guaranteed only to the citizens of India against the arbitrary powers of the State.

    • Some fundamental rights are positively worded and some fundamental are negatively worded.

    • Some fundamental rights are also made available to foreigners like Equality before law under Article 14, Right to life and liberty under Article 21, etc.

    • Some fundamental rights are not self executable. They are not implementable automatically. For their implementation, subsequent legislation is required like Untouchability is a crime under Article 17, Child labour is a crime under Article 24, etc.

    • Certain fundamental rights are available limitedly to certain sections of the society like Armed Forces, Police Forces, Para-military Forces, etc. They have certain restrictions on fundamental rights like Right to form associations, Right to Freedom of speech, etc. Moreover, all the fundamental rights are not equally available all the time.

    • Parliament of India may impose certain reasonable restriction on fundamental rights.

    • Fundamental rights are inalienable, that means they cannot be transferred. Similarly, fundamental rights are not absolute. They come with certain limits.

    • Article 13 of the Constitution says that any Law which is not consistent with fundamental rights or the Constitution, will be declared as ultra vires and subsequently null and void. Law means any Act of the Parliament or State legislatures, any Ordinance of the President or Governor, advertisements of the Government, notification given by the Government, conventions and customs recognized by the Government, etc.
Extra Information

    • England was the first country to provide list of rights to their citizens in the year 1215 known as "Magna Carta", the meaning of which is "the Great Charter of the Liberties".

    • USA is the first country providing guarantee to the fundamental rights by incorporating them into its Constitution.

    • Article 13 provides the power of "Judicial Review". It is the power of Supreme Court or High Court to examine the constitutionality or legality of a law or order by the Central Government or State Government and declaring them as invalid because they are unconstitutional. However, the word or the expression "Judicial Review" is not mentioned in the Article 13.