Fundamental Rights: Definition & Meaning

Fundamental rights are those rights, which are essentially required for survival and to have a life with dignity. Therefore, when the makers of Constitution drafting constitution, had been given special attention to these fundamental rights, which secure the basic freedoms for all. These are guaranteed in the Constitution in the form of six broad categories of fundamental rights, which are justifiable.

Contained in Part III of the Constitution, Articles 12 to 35 deal with fundamental rights. These rights are given the status of being "fundamental" or "elementary" due to their absolute and restrictive nature, which means that they cannot be altered, violated, or interfered with by any means. Furthermore, because these rights are justifiable; therefore, any person whose right is violated, may file a case directly to the Supreme Court for the restoration of rights that have been violated or interfered with by another party.

What are Fundamental Rights?

The first point of the well-established two-part concept of fundamental rights states that these are the people's justiciable rights that are imposed by legal processes against the oppressive activities of the government. According to the second viewpoint, these rights are constrained by a number of limitations on governmental activity. Therefore, the government is prohibited from taking any administrative or legislative actions that would violate these rights.

Why are they called "Fundamental Rights"?

These are referred to as "essential rights" for two reasons −

  • The Constitution guarantees them by enshrining them.

  • They can be judged (made legally binding by courts). A person may go before a court of law in the event of a violation.

List of Fundamental Rights

The following list of the Indian Constitution's six fundamental rights and the relevant constitutional articles includes −

  • Right to Equality (Articles 14–18)

  • Right to Freedom (Articles 19–22)

  • Right against Exploitation (Articles 23–24)

  • Right to Freedom of Religion (Articles 25–28)

  • Cultural and Educational Rights (Articles 29-30)

  • Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32)

Six Fundamental Rights (Articles 12 to 35)

The Indian Constitution's basic rights are listed here, along with a brief explanation of each.

Right to Equality (Articles 14–18)

No matter their colour, caste, gender, or place of birth, everyone has the same rights under the concept of equality. It safeguards against discrimination by the state in terms of employment on the basis of caste, religion, etc. and ensures equitable job opportunities inside the government. Titles and untouchability are likewise prohibited under this right.

Right to Freedom (Articles 19–22)

One of the most essential concepts that any democratic society cherishes is freedom. The Indian Constitution ensures citizens' freedom. Many rights are included in the freedom right, including −

  • Freedom of speech

  • Freedom of expression

  • Freedom of assembly without arms

  • Freedom of association

  • freedom to practise any profession

  • freedom to reside in any part of the country

Certain restrictions on state security, public morality and decency, and amicable relations with other nations apply to some of these rights. This implies that the state has the authority to place appropriate limitations on them.

Right against Exploitation (Articles 23–24)

The ban of human trafficking, beggaring, and other forms of forced labour is implied by this right. Additionally, it suggests that children are not allowed in workplaces, etc. Children under the age of 14 are not allowed to work in dangerous situations, according to the Constitution.

Right to Freedom of Religion (Articles 25–28)

This demonstrates the Indian political system's secularism. All religions are treated with the same respect. Conscience, profession, practise, and spread of religion are all free. There is no religion recognised by the state. Every person has the freedom to practise their religion openly and to found and support charitable organizations.

Cultural and Educational Rights (Articles 29–30)

By helping them to preserve their history and culture, these rights protect the rights of linguistic, cultural, and religious minorities. The purpose of educational rights is to guarantee equal access to education for all people.

Right to Constitutional Remedies (32–35)

In the event that citizens' fundamental rights are violated, the Constitution provides remedies. No one's rights may be restricted or infringed upon by the government. The party who has been wronged may file a lawsuit in court if these rights are violated. The Supreme Court, which has the authority to issue writs enforcing fundamental rights, is also accessible to citizens directly.

Features of the Fundamental Rights

The following are some important characteristics of fundamental rights −

  • FRs are protected and guaranteed by the constitution.

  • FRs are not sacred or absolute; rather, the parliament may limit them or impose reasonable restrictions for a set length of time. However, the court has the authority to assess whether the restrictions are reasonable.

  • FRs are enforceable in court − Under the constitution, a person may petition the Supreme Court directly to have his fundamental rights upheld when they are infringed upon or curtailed.

  • Suspension of Fundamental Rights − All Fundamental Rights, with the exception of those protected by Articles 20 and 21, are suspended during National Emergencies.

  • Fundamental Rights Restrictions − During military rule in any specific region, Fundamental Rights may be restricted.


Fundamental rights are essential because they serve as the foundation of a democratic nation. It is necessary to protect the interests of the populace. Article 13 states that all laws that violate basic rights are null and void. Here, judicial review is expressly provided for. Any statute may be declared unconstitutional by the SC and High Courts on the grounds that it violates basic rights. In addition to laws, Article 13 also discusses ordinances, orders, regulations, notifications, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What do people refer to as "rights"?

Ans. Rights are fundamental normative norms related to what is permitted of people or owed to people in accordance with natural, legal system, social custom, or ethical theory. Rights are therefore legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom and it is justifiable in nature.

Q2. What are the basic rights?

Ans. In what is now referred to as his "Four Freedoms Speech," President Franklin D. Roosevelt presented four fundamental rights that he thought everyone should be able to enjoy in 1941. They included the rights to free speech, freedom of religion, freedom from hunger, and freedom from terror.

Q3. What are the major categories of rights?

Ans. The following are the six categories−

  • Right to equality

  • Right to freedom.

  • Right against exploitation

  • Right to freedom of religion

  • Cultural and Educational Rights

  • right to constitutional remedies

Q4. What three types of rights are there?

Ans. The perceived distinction between civil and political rights and economic, social, and cultural rights is muddled by the three levels of obligation.

Updated on: 13-Mar-2023


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