Human rights are the fundamental liberties that every person possesses by virtue of being a member of the human race. Regardless of race, nationality, religion, language, sex, or any other characteristic, it exists in every person. Natural law forms the basic idea of human rights. The overall development of each person’s personality within society depends on the protection and availability of their human rights, which must be provided to everyone. Human rights, according to the Cultural Dictionary, are the freedom from arbitrary government interference or restriction. While the phrase generally refers to the same rights as civil rights or civil liberties, it frequently connotes unrecognised rights. These rights are so vital to people that they provide the best opportunities for both monetary and moral advancement. Let’s discuss about the rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in a detailed manner.
WHAT IS HUMAN RIGHTS?
Human rights, which are usually protected by both domestic and international law, are moral principles or rules for particular standards of human behaviour. They are typically viewed as unalienable, fundamental rights that all people possess regardless of their age, ethnicity, geography, language, religion, or any other status. These rights are understood to be inherent in all human beings. They are universal in the sense that they apply everywhere and at all times, and they are egalitarian in the sense that everyone is treated equally.
In accordance with Section 2 of the 1993 Protection of Human Rights Act “human rights” means the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed under the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by courts in India.
EVOLUTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS:
- Magna carta
The Magna Carta, also known as Magna Carta Libertatum or the Great Charter of the Liberties of England, was published on June 15, 1215. It was originally written in Latin and was later translated into colloquial French as early as 1219. King John of England was obligated under the charter of 1215 to declare a number of liberties and acknowledge the legitimacy of his rule.
- Bill of rights
The English Parliament passed the Bill of Rights into law on December 16, 1689. This puts limitations on the sovereign’s power as well as protections for Parliament’s rights, the necessity of regular elections for Parliament, and the ability to petition the king without fear of retaliation. It reinstated protestants’ right to own firearms for self-defense within the confines of the law because Papists were both armed and employed in ways that were against the law.
iii. US Declaration of Independence, 1776:
The 13 American Colonies, who were at war with Great Britain at the time, declared their independence in a declaration voted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. This meant that they no longer considered themselves to be a part of the British Empire. It stated that all people are created equal and that their Creator has granted them certain unalienable rights, including the right to pursue happiness and liberty. Abraham Lincoln, who believed the Declaration to be the cornerstone of his political philosophy and maintained that the Declaration is a declaration of ideas through which the US Constitution should be interpreted, was a notable proponent of this viewpoint. It has fought for marginalised people’s rights all throughout the world.
- In the 19th Century:
The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as a statement (10 December 1948 at Palais de Chaillot, Paris). The Declaration, which is the first universal articulation of the rights to which all people are inalienably entitled, was directly inspired by the Second World War. There are 30 articles in total, and they have been expanded upon in later international treaties, regional human rights instruments, national constitutions, and laws. The two comprehensive Covenants that make up the International Bill of Human Rights were enacted by the General Assembly in 1966. In 1976, once the Covenants had been ratified by a sufficient number of different countries, the Bill became enforceable under international law.
HUMAN RIGHTS UNDER THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION:
On January 26,1950 the independent Indian Constitution came into effect. It is clear that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights had an influence on the creation of Part III of the Constitution. India has used both the International Covenants and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the Central Assembly of the United Nations.
The civil and political rights are guaranteed in the part III of the constitution of India as the fundamental rights. Cultural, Social & Economical rights are guaranteed in the part IV of the constitution of India as the directive principles of state policy.
All Fundamental Rights come under the ambit of Human Rights, but all Human Rights may not fall under this category of the fundamental right. The only difference is between these two is Fundamental Rights has legal enforceability in Court of law while Human rights may or may not.
Fundamental rights under Constitution of India:
- Right to equality – Articles 14, 15 and 16.
- Right to six freedoms – Article 19.
- Freedom of speech and expression.
- Freedom to assemble peacefully and without arms.
- Freedom to form associations or unions.
- Freedom to move freely throughout the Territory of India.
- Freedom to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India.
- Freedom to practice any profession or carry on any occupation, trade or business.
- Right to life and personal liberty – Articles 20, 21 and 22.
- Right to freedom of religion – Articles 25, 26, 27 and 28.
- Cultural and educational rights – Articles 29 and 30.
- Right to property – Article 31.
- (The 44th amendment has deleted this right and re-enacted it in Article 300 A, as constitutional right).
- Right against exploitation – Articles 23 and 24.
- Right to Constitutional remedies – Article 32.
Directive Principles of State Policy under the Constitution of India:
- Right to adequate means of livelihood – Article 39 (a).
- Right against economic exploitation – Article 39 (e).
- The health and strength of both sexes and tender age of children are not abused and are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength.
- Right to both sexes to equal pay for equal work – Article 39(d).
- Right to work – Article 41.
- Right to leisure and rest – Article 41.
- Right to public assistance in case of unemployment, old age sickness (Social Security) – Article 41.
- Part IV of the Constitution also incorporates the Directive Principles of economic and social justice and certain ideals which the State should strive to achieve. Article 38 directs the State to bring about the welfare of the people by securing and protecting effectively a social order where justice, social, political and economic shall inform all the institutions of national life.
- It directs the State to create conditions where there will be no concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment and where the ownership and control of the material resources, of the community are so distributed as best to sub-serve the common good. [Article 39 (b) and (c)].
- Further, the Directive Principles are provided in the Articles of the Constitution mentioned herein below:
- Article 42 – Just and human conditions of work and maternity leave.
- Article 43 – Mandatory Payment of living wages etc. to workers.
- Article 44 – Uniform Civil Code.
- Article 45 – Free and Compulsory Education.
- Article 46 – Promotion of educational and economic interests of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other weaker sections.
- Article 47 – Duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the Standard of living and to improve public health.
- Article 48 – Organisation of agriculture and animal husbandry.
- Article 49 – Protection of monuments and places and objects of national importance.
- Article 50 – Separation of Judiciary from Executive.
- Article 51 – Promotion of international peace and security.
- By 42nd Amendment of the Constitution, three more Articles were added therein:
- Article 43A – Participation of workers in management of industries.
- Article 39A – Equitable justice and free legal aid.
- Article 48A – Protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wild life.
HUMAN RIGHTS UNDER UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS:
The United Nations General Assembly passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948 by a vote of 48 in favour, 0 against, with 8 absentees. The absentees are Byelorussia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Ukraine, The USSR, Yugoslavia, South Africa and Saudi Arabia.
The following countries voted in favour of the Declaration: Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Iceland, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Thailand, Sweden, Syria, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela.
The Declaration, which is the first universal articulation of the rights to which all people are inalienably entitled, was directly inspired by the Second World War. There are 30 articles in total, and they have been expanded upon in later international treaties, regional human rights instruments, national constitutions, and laws.
- Article 1 – All human beings are born free and equal.
- Article 2 – Right against discrimination.
- Article 3 – Right to life.
- Article 4 – Right against slavery.
- Article 5 – Right against torture.
- Article 6 – Right to recognition before law.
- Article 7 – Right to equality before the law.
- Article 8 – Right to obtain legal help and access the justice system when your rights are not respected.
- Article 9 – Right against arbitrary detention.
- Article 10 – Right to fair trial.
- Article 11 – Innocent until proven guilty.
- Article 12 – Right to privacy.
- Article 13 – Right to freedom of movement.
- Article 14 – Right to asylum.
- Article 15 – Right to nationality.
- Article 16 – Right to marriage.
- Article 17 – Right to own property.
- Article 18 – Right to freedom of religion.
- Article 19 – Right to expression.
- Article 20 – Right to assembly.
- Article 21 – Right to take part in elections.
- Article 22 – Right to social security.
- Article 23 – Right to work.
- Article 24 – Right to leisure and rest.
- Article 25 – Right to adequate standard of living.
- Article 26 – Right to education.
- Article 27 – Right to cultural, artistic life.
- Article 28 – Right to free and fair world.
- Article 29 – Duty to community.
- Article 30 – Rights above given are inalienable.
GOVERNING AUTHORITY IN INDIA:
NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION:
The National Human Rights Commission was established in India on September 29, 1993, as a consequence of a presidential order, which is considered to be the country’s most significant development. The act of the Parliament later granted this body legislative status the following year.
COMPOSITION & MEMBERS:
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is consisting of a chairperson and seven other members. Out of the seven members, three are ex-officio members and four others are appointed by the President on the recommendation of a Selection Committee.
- The Chairperson is a retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
- One member is either a working or a retired judge of the Supreme Court.
- One member is either a working or a retired Chief Justice or a judge of a High Court.
- Two persons having knowledge or practical experience in matters relating to Human Rights. Besides them, the Chairpersons of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, National Commission for Minorities and National Commission for Women shall be its ex-officio members.
STATE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION:
The Protection of Human Rights Act of 1993 calls for the establishment of a State Human Rights Commission at state level in addition to the National Human Rights Commission. The State Human Rights Commission has been formally created in about 26 states.
COMPOSITION & MEMBERS:
A State Commission is to be composed of a chairman and some members appointed by the Governor in consultation with the Chief Minister, Home Minister, Speaker and Leader of the Opposition in State Assembly. The chairman is to be a retired judge of the High Court; one of the members should be a serving or a retired District Judge in that state; one member is to be a serving judge or a retired judge of the High Court, two members are to be activists in the field of Human Rights. Besides the above members, the Commission has its own secretary as well.
Human rights are general rights that are crucial to a person’s growth as a person. These rights, often known as Fundamental Rights and DPSPs, are protected by the Constitution. The fundamental rights have received more attention and are now directly actionable in a court of law. It is clear from a thorough examination of Parts III and IV of the Indian Constitution that these two sections contain practically all of the rights outlined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. In the Universal Universal Declaration Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations has stated in clear and simple terms the rights belong equally to every person.
These rights belong to you.
They are your rights.
Familiarise yourself with them.