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Origin And Concepts Of Fundamental Rights In India


The fundamental right is also called as the “natural right” or the “basic right” of our Constitution. It is based on the theory of Natural Law. This right gives an individual the freedom to live peacefully. Fundamental rights ae enshrined in Part III of our Indian Constitution, that is, from Article 12 to Article 35. Every other law framed in India such as the Civil Procedure Code, Indian Penal Code, etc. should comply with the Fundamental Rights. If not, then those provisions that didn’t comply will be considered as void.

There are six fundamental rights in India. As per Article 14 to Article 18, the citizens of India have the right to equality before the law. They cannot be discriminated against on the basis of religion, caste, race, gender, place of birth, etc. Article 19 to 22, gives us the right to freedom which includes the freedom of speech and expression, assembly, association, movement, etc. The rights against exploitation are mentioned in Article 23 and 24. It prevents us from forced labour, child labour and other kinds of trafficking acts. We can follow any religious practice and profession according to Article 25 to 28. A citizen could protect his own culture, language or scripts and the minorities have the right to form their own educational institutions. This freedom to have cultural and educational rights is mentioned in Article 20 and Article 30. The right to constitutional remedies given in Article 32 to 35 is for the enforcement of all the fundamental rights. All these fundamental rights make people feel empowered in our country. Now let us see how the concept of Fundamental rights took a part in our constitution.


The theory of natural law says everything thing in this universe is created by nature or god. Everything created in this world has its own identity and is created by means of nature. This theory mentions that if there is a thing that disturbs human peace and prevents humans from their success, that thing is considered to be violating the Nature of Law. This theory made everyone believe that the man and government are bonded by the nature of law. And they also believed that the natural law has a higher status than that of the men’s law and we could find natural law from human reasons. As mentioned earlier, the basis of our fundamental rights comes from the nature of law.  This idea came because many philosophers came to be aware that if there is a natural law there should also be natural rights to people. Then they formulated Human Rights. Human rights were enacted through the English Bill of Rights (1689), the French Declaration of Rights of Men (1789), the United States Bill of Rights (1791), and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).


The Rowlatt Act in 1919 gave enormous rights to the British government and the police. It gave them the power to arrest any number of persons, detain people, search without warren, seize anything, restrict every public gathering, and intensive censor in media. People opposed this Act and they subsequently formed mass campaigns that created non-violent disobedience throughout the country. Through this campaign, people asked for freedom of civil rights and to limit the powers of the government and the police. And then the independence of Ireland and the formation of the Irish Constitution inspired those Indians who were seeking independence and a complete Indian government.


The “Home Rule Bill” introduced by Ms. Annie Besant in 1985, intended the Indian Constitution to guarantee every citizen the freedom of expression, independent house, right to property, right to present claims against public offenses, quality before law, and right to personal liberty. Then at Bombay Sessions in 1918, The Indian National Congress asked for the inclusion of Human Rights for the citizens of India through the new Government of India Act. This declaration envisaged equality before the law, independence, life and property rights, freedom of expression and of the press and the right of association. The Indian National Congress passed another resolution at the December 1918 sessions. They demanded restriction or repeal of the Act that restricts the freedom to discuss the political questions and grant executives to have the right to seize, detain or seize any British subject in India beyond the usual civil or criminal procedure. The National Convention of 1925 incorporated certain declarations through the Common Wealth of India Bill. Then the Indian National Congress at the Madras session held in 1927 entrusted the declaration to have the Fundamental Rights as the basis of future Indian Constitution.

The Nehru Commission of 1928 engaged every representative of the Indian political parties. They specified that the Fundamental Rights should be permanently given to the people and under any circumstances, it should not be withdrawn. But the Indian Statutory Commission rejected our demands. This happened because of the Simons Commission. They also argued that such right becomes useless if there were no wills and means exists. The Indian Nation Congress at Karachi Sessions, 1931, demanded our rights which were rejected again. Then at the second session of the London Round Table Conference, Mahatma Gandhi emphasized the guarantee of language, culture, scripts, protection of personal laws, protection to rights of minorities, profession, education, and practice of any religion. Again, the Joint Selection Committee of the British Parliament rejected those demands.


  1. On January 22, 1947, the constituent assembly adopted the Objective Resolution to ensure that the future Indian Government would secure everyone with justice, equality of status, social, economic, political, and equality of opportunity.

  2. It also guarantees the public morality, subject of law, protection to the minorities, freedom of thought, worship, faith, belief, and vocation.

  3. Then the assembly elected an Advisory Committee to check on the fundamental rights of minorities, tribes, and excluded areas.

  4. On February 27, 1947, the advisory committee formed five sub-committees to deal with fundamental rights.


The first meeting of the sub-committee was held on February 27, 1947, for the Fundamental Rights. B.N. Rau suggested classifying the Fundamental Rights into two classes as justifiable and non-justifiable. Another important challenge faced by the committee was to find the strategy to distribute the rights among the Groups, Provinces, and the Union Constitution. At the early stages, they distributed certain fundamental rights separately to the Union, State, and some Constitutional Units. But they felt that by distributing the rights in this manner wouldn’t make it uniformly enforceable. They realized that these rights should be enjoyed by every citizen of India. then the committee recommended for the same. Then B.R. Ambedkar, the chairman of the Drafting Committee said that these rights are inspired by different countries whose conditions are closely the same as our country.

Different drafts submitted by the members were discussed in the committee. The draft was submitted on April 3, 1947, to the chairman. And then the Advisory Committee accepted for classifying the rights into justifiable and non-justifiable, certain rights ensured to every person and other rights to the citizens only and finally accepted for the rights being applicable to the Union as well the Constitutional Units. The Committee also accepted for the drafts of clause 1 and 2 where the former providing for the definition of the State, unit and union law and the latter for laws or uses incompatible with the fundamental rights being invalid in the form proposed by the sub-committee also substituted the word constitution by this part of the constitution.

On December 10, 1948, an important change happened as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was incorporated by the United Nations General Assembly. Then the Constitutional advisor prepared a draft that will be sent to the Drafting Committee. The Drafting Committee prepared a revised edition that was published in February 1948. After the circulation of the revised draft, it received many comments across the Nation. Then few amendments were made in the revised edition by the Constituent assembly according to the suggestion of the Drafting Committee. In November 1949, the revised draft was again presented in the final sessions.

In short,

  1. In February 1948, the Fundamental Rights was included in the First Draft of the Constitution.

  2. Then it was included in the Second Draft of the Constitution on 17 October 1948.

  3. And at last, it was included in the Third Draft of the Constitution on 26 November 1949.


There was a huge struggle to bring Fundamental rights to our country but those struggles didn’t disappoint us. The Fundamental rights act as a protective wall for every individual in our country and they ensure that every citizen lives with dignity and respect. The base of our Democratic system is formed by these rights. They preserve the concept of secularism and also protect the interests of minorities. The main importance of Fundamental Rights is that it gives the judiciary a clarity on the relationship between citizens and the Government. It grants us citizenship, justice, and fair play. Despite these many advantages, Fundamental Rights are criticized for not defining a few words such as minorities, the security of State, public order, etc. which creates vagueness and leads to needless litigations. In spite of all these minor flaws, Fundamental Rights protect not only the citizens but also the Government and judiciary. Without Fundamental Rights, all our citizens would feel like being controlled in their own country.


III-year, B.Com., L.L.B., (Hons.)




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