Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fundamental Rights:Re-Defined

"So do you remember it now?" My mom said, with a smile, she knew she had won it,finally..

It has been more than 10  years since I last learnt them, our Fundamental rights, guaranteed to us by our constitution. To say the least, I was embarrassed , that all I could remember about them was their count i.e 6. My mom asked me, at least name them with proper definitions and I could only name 2-3 of them. 'Shame on you' she muttered as she went in fetched an old dust ridden Civics text book and asked me to skim through. Which I did. And this time I understood what it actually meant in present context(I admit, I mugged them up for exams in 7th std). 

I am sure, there are many like me who studied the fundamental rights only for Social Sciences(सामाजिक विज्ञानं ) . Here they are, simplified, in sync with year 2011.

1) Right to equality, including equality before law, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, and equality of opportunity in matters of employment- 

 It means that the State cannot discriminate any of the Indian citizens on the basis of their caste, creed, colour, sex,gender, religion or place of birth. However, its a law of nature that no two humans are equal. Lets understand it better. 
    On the religious front, the constitution guarantees that no discrimination will be done with minorities, however, if the BJP led NDA alliance is ruling, its is requested of the minorities to please adjust,you sometimes not find employment in govt due to your religion. If you are in Mumbai, you may also not be able  to rent or buy a flat in some of the posh buildings,hence you are encouraged  to live in minority populated areas.

The Constitution also considers every caste equal,and strongly believes that no one should harbor any castist ideology. However, it has made a provision of reservation for the backward classes. The constitution assures that the govt will try in its entire capacity to ensure that this reservation policy reaches to every member of the backward class and not the affluent few. The Constitution also requests the members of open category to forego any castist attitude, against any caste or the reservation system itself(even if they are suffering because of it) as it is a punishable offence to do so. The reservation system may tend to make castes unequal further,but the sole aim of the constitution is to ensure no caste is discriminated upon, really!.

2) Right to freedom of speech and expression, assembly, association or union, movement, residence, and right to practice any profession or occupation
some of these rights are subject to security of the State, friendly relations with foreign countries, public order, decency or morality.
Every Artist, be it writer, film maker  or a painter also come under the purview of Freedom of speech and expression. However, the expression or speech should any of the millions of communities or tribes. It should also not offend some of  the lesser civilized political parties, because otherwise a law and order situation may arise which the state is not in capacity to handle, not to mention the threat to your life. It is hence suggested that a prior review be done in consent with all the communities and political parties before expressing your polarized views.
Constitution also gives you the right to assembly and association, however , if your union or association is not backed by any political party, its not gonna be dissolved. Hence before forming an association, make sure you have the blessings of any one of the political party's high command.
You can also live in any part of India freely, however if you are in Mumbai, you need to know Marathi and present yourself as a Marathi, better still, stay away from it. You also cannot practice any profession  in Mumbai because you are not the "Son of the Soil", if you try to , you may end up facing the wrath of lesser civilized political parties. If you intend to visit Chennai, please make sure you don't use any other language than Tamil.

Keeping above precautions in mind, the constitution guarantees you your Freedom.

3) Right against exploitation, prohibiting all forms of forced labor, child labour and traffic in human beings-

The right against exploitation, provides for two provisions, namely the abolition of trafficking in human beings and forced labor. Child labor is a heinous crime, and anyone who employs a child below 14 years is guilty under Indian law. However, this would apply to only those kids working in tea stalls or garbage collection. Any kid working for the entertainment industry doesn't come under the category of child labor, the basic premise may be same, a kid working for something and getting paid, but kids working in entertainment industry are affluent and are doing a novel job. Also the child labor rule may be exempted for contractors undertaking civic construction contracts for development of cities and towns. A kid taking part in such development will be a proud contributor in country's development after all.
4) Right to freedom of conscience and free profession, practice, and propagation of religion-
Right to freedom of religion grants religious freedom to all citizens of India. The objective of this right is to sustain the principle of secularism in India. According to the Constitution, all religions are equal before the State and no religion shall be given preference over the other. Citizens are free to preach, practice and propagate any religion of their choice. 
However it is entirely alright, if any particular religious community decides to propagate their religion by sometimes force and at other times lending money to poor people and asking them to convert and not return the money(in the name of LORD).
Also if however, any religious community(or a member thereof) doesn't follow the above mentioned ways of propagating religion and tries to spread the religion only in the name of God and and teachings of religion, he may have to face the wrath of people like Dara Singh in Orrisa and the person(s) run a high risk of being burnt alive in their sleep,be careful!
5) Right of any section of citizens to conserve their culture, language or script, and right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice-
As India is a country of many languages, religions, and cultures, the Constitution provides special measures, in Articles 29 and 30, to protect the rights of the minorities. Any community which has a language and a script of its own has the right to conserve and develop it. No citizen can be discriminated against for admission in State or State aided institutions.
However, as noted in the exceptions of rights above, your language or script should not offend any of the lesser civilized political parties. If you are in any regional city, you have to completely forget your culture and adopt the local culture. The local state government will help your cause printing all the official documents only in vernacular language and if you cannot cooperate and don't get a job or admission, please don't claim discrimination on basis of language . 
The Central government in its endeavor to make Hindi as official language of the nation, has decided to document everything in Hindi.So anybody who doesn't understand Hindi well enough, please find a tutor(Constitution also provides for free education!). The Hindi curriculum in school will be so heavily तत्सम (Tatsam-Sanskritized) that every instance of Urdu/Hindustani will be erased and eventually making Hindi and Sanskrit a single language.

6) Right to constitutional remedies for enforcement of Fundamental Rights. -
Right to constitutional remedies empowers the citizens to move a court of law in case of any denial of the fundamental rights. For instance, in case of imprisonment, the citizen can ask the court to see if it is according to the provisions of the law of the country. If the court finds that it is not, the person will have to be freed. 

However, the constitution doesn't take into account the time it may take for justice to be delivered, it is left on the better judgement of the citizen using this right to take into account these factors. It may also happen that the government out of fear of losing in the next election, declare a National emergency to get its working sorted eg. 1975 emergency, in such a case, this right first, and every other right will cease to be effective.

Other than the citizens, the Constitution also provides for anyone who is not a citizen to file a  habeas corpus against any detention, the person in question may have been someone who may have killed 100 people in front of 100 witnesses, but our divine constitution doesn't differentiate, when it comes to judiciary!

So these were the new definitions of the Fundamental rights as defined in our constitution. Either the makers of constitution were terribly mistaken or may be the subsequent generations in India managed to tweak the constitution. What goes without saying is, today, the original definitions don't hold true.

In today's India, only a child in womb is the one who is equal to every other child in womb, the moment it decides to come out, his future,status and his equality would be decided by the condition of hospital he is born in(Lilawati, or Rajawadi!).


Shubhada said...

Honestly speaking even i don't remember. Although my dad is not well versed..i will discuss with him and he will definately feel gud abt it...tahnx made my day..!!

Abhishek said...

Shubhada....I am sure, your dad will agree with this new definitions of fundamental rights

Shivani Shastri said...

Lengthiest and the most complex one, our constitution makers definitely couldnt foresee such tweaking of FRs.Left us(You and your blog readers) to witness and analyze. lolz.
Thats why they never taught any clause analysis in schools :P

Abhishek said...

Yes, they left some fodder for thought!

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