How Does the Constitution of India Safe Guard the Rights of the Citizens?

Indian constitution is a lengthy and very comprehensive document. It is unique in several ways. It cannot be fitted into any usual model of constitution as written or unwritten, rigid or flexible, federal or unitary. In fact, it is a blend of the rigid and flexible, federal and unitary, and the presidential and the parliamentary forms of government. The fundamental rights safeguard citizens’ rights, while the non-enforceable directive principles provide guidelines to the states while formulating policies. There are provisions for reasonable restrictions of fundamental rights within the constitution by 42nd amendment in 1976.

The constitution has also established an independent judiciary which has jurisdiction over all laws- union, state, civil, criminal or constitutional. Indian constitution presents an intermediary between the principles of parliamentary sovereignty and judicial supremacy.

The Indian constitutions, unlike many constitutions framed after world war 2nd, could successfully face crises because of its resilience, dynamics and potential for growth.

The Constitution of India possesses some built-in-checks and balances by which it safeguards the rights of the citizens. These include Adult Franchise, Charter of fundamental rights, Directive Principles of State Policy, Citizenship, fundamental Duties and an Independent Judiciary. The founding fathers of the Constitution opted for universal adult suffrage with every adult Indian without any distinction at once having equal voting rights. The Constitution guarantees Fundamental tights to safeguard the citizens against the arbitrary actions of the State and to create conditions in which they can secure social and economic rights. The Directive Principles are guidelines to the central and state governments to bear in mind while framing laws and policies.

The justifiable fundamental rights are incorporated in part 3rd of the constitution. These are the inviolable rights of the individual against the state. Any law or executive action depriving an individual citizen of his freedom, can be challenged the Supreme Court or the courts of the constitution also lays down the machinery for the enforcement of fundamental rights. Restrictions to individual rights are incorporated with the relevant provisions. Thus our Constitution presents a balance between the rights of the individual on the one hand and the interest of the society and the needs of the security of the state on the others.

The Constitution guarantees Fundamental Rights to safeguard the citizens against the arbitrary actions of the State and to create conditions in which they can secure social and economic justice. These rights are fundamental because without them the citizens will not be able to live in dignity.

Fundamental Rights can be grouped into six categories:

  1. Right to Equality
  2. Right to particular Freedom
  3. Right against Exploitation
  4. Right to Freedom of Religion
  5. Cultural and Educational Rights.
  6. Right to Constitutional Remedies.

However, Fundamental Rights are subject to exception provided in the Constitution itself. For example, the freedom guaranteed are permitted go the extent that they lead to lawlessness. The Right to Equality does not prevent the State from granting certain favorurs to special groups like the minorities, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

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