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Life Without Rights

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Let’s look at three examples that will help you comprehend what it’s like to live without rights.

Guantanamo Bay prison: The US government surreptitiously abducted roughly 600 people from throughout the world and imprisoned them in Guantanamo Bay. They were said to be US enemies and tied to the September 11th attacks in New York, according to the authorities.

Saudi Arabian Citizens’ Rights: In Saudi Arabia, citizens’ attitudes toward their government are summarised as follows:

  • The kingdom is ruled by a hereditary king, and the people have no say in who their rulers are or how they are chosen.
  • The king appoints both the legislature and the executive.
  • Citizens are unable to form political parties or organizations
  • There is no religious liberty.
  • Many public limitations are imposed on women.

Kosovo’s Ethnic Massacre: Before the breakup, Yugoslavia was a minor province. The country’s population was largely ethnic Albanian, while Serbs made up the majority. Milosevic, a narrow-minded Serb nationalist who had won the election, led a government that was unfriendly to Albanians. He wished for the Serbs to rule the country. Many Serb officials believed that ethnic minorities, such as Albanians, should either leave or accept Serb supremacy.

If the people have no rights, the government is not a democracy. Following the 9/11 attacks on New York, US soldiers kidnapped 600 people from around the world and held them, hostage, at a jail in Guantanamo Bay, where they were tortured and treated inhumanely. These detainees were kept without recourse to the legal system. The statue of these inmates was reported by Amnesty International, an international human rights group. Despite UN involvement, the US administration refused to release them. President Barack Obama has pledged to put an end to this barbaric practice. The prison was ordered to be sealed by the UN Secretary-General.

Another noteworthy example of people living without rights in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is a monarchy that is ruled by a monarch. The country’s citizens are unable to form political parties or launch political campaigns against the ruler. People of other religions who live in the country are permitted to practice their faith in private, but not in public. In this country, women do not have the same standing as males. Milosevic was elected as a representative of the people of Kosovo, a region of Yugoslavia before the country’s breakup, in 1999. His goal was to make Yugoslavia a Serb-dominated country. Other ethnic minorities had to either leave the country or bow down to the Serbs, according to him. As a result, he turned hostile to Albanians and began murdering them. Under the command of Milosevic, Serbian troops perpetrated the killing until other countries around the globe intervened. Milosevic was tried for his atrocities in the International Court of Justice. Human beings want a safe, dignified, and equitable situation.

Democracy’s Rights

We all wish to live happily, fearlessly, and without being mistreated. As a result, we want others to act in a way that does neither harm nor harm us. Our acts should not, on the other hand, injure or hurt others. When you make a claim that others can make as well, you have a right. 

What society recognizes as legitimate constitutes the foundation of rights. As a result, the concept of rights evolves over time and from society to society. Any claim can be classified as a “Right” if it possesses the following three characteristics:

  • The claim must be plausible.
  • Society should acknowledge the claims.
  • The claim should be legally supported.

In a democracy, why do we need rights?

Every individual in a democracy has the right to vote and be elected to the government. In a democratic society, rights have a unique function. Minorities are protected by rights from the majority’s oppression. Rights are safeguards that can be invoked in the event that something goes wrong. It will aid in the implementation of important adjustments that will improve the efficiency of our government. It is a critical component of a democracy’s long-term survival. Rights are essential to make democracy meaningful and effectual. It protects minorities from majoritarian oppression. Rights are essential for democracy to exist.
Every citizen of the country has the right to take part in the democratic process. When some citizens attempt to take away the rights of others, it aids in the maintenance of law and order. It empowers us to stand up for ourselves and demand that our government do what we want. It also helps us choose a better leader for the government.  If people have rights in a democracy, they can live a dignified life. Citizens should have the right to express themselves, form political parties, and participate in political activity in the absence of democratic elections. Finally, citizens’ rights must be protected by the government.  Electoral governments, on the other hand, routinely fail to preserve or even attack the rights of their own citizens.  As a result, some rights must be prioritized over those of the government to ensure that they are not infringed upon. 

Rights in the Indian Constitution

Our Constitution establishes six fundamental rights, as you are aware.  

Right to Constitutional Remedies

A legal right to constitutional remedies. If one’s fundamental rights are violated, the right to constitutional remedies empowers them to seek redress in a court of law.

Equality of Opportunity

According to the Constitution, the government of India cannot deny anyone equal protection under the law or equality before the law. It implies that the laws apply to everyone equally, regardless of their status. This is known as the rule of law, and it is the bedrock of any democracy. It signifies that no one is exempt from the law. There is no difference between a politician, a government official, and a regular citizen. The government may not discriminate against citizens based on their religion, race, caste, sex, or birthplace. Every citizen should be able to visit public areas such as shops, restaurants, hotels, and movie theatres. There will be no restrictions on the usage of government-maintained wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roadways, parks, and areas of public resorts that are open to the general public. Regarding employment or appointment to any job in the government, all citizens have equal opportunity.

Right to Liberty

All citizens of India have the right to freedom of speech and expression, according to the Indian Constitution. Assemble in a calm and orderly manner. Organize groups and unions. You have complete freedom to travel within the country.  Reside in any region of the country and engage in any profession, occupation, trade, or business. You cannot exercise your freedom in a way that infringes on the rights of others.

Right to Freedom from Exploitation

Every individual has the right to be exploited free of charge. The Constitution has explicit safeguards to prevent the exploitation of society’s weaker members. The Constitution declares illegal three specific evils, which are listed below

  1.  The Constitution prohibits “traffic in human persons.”Human trafficking refers to the illegal sale and purchase of human beings, most commonly women, for nefarious purposes.
  2.  In any form, our Constitution forbids forced labor or beggarship. Beggar is a practice in which a worker is forced to provide free or minimally compensated service to the master.’ When a person is forced to work for the remainder of his or her life, it is referred to as bonded labor.
  3. The Constitution forbids the use of children for labour.No one can hire a child under the age of 14 to work in a factory, mine, or any other hazardous job, such as railways or ports, under law.

Religious liberty is a constitutional right

Every individual has the right to profess, practice, and spread the religion of their choice. India is a secular state, which implies that no single religion is declared to be the official religion. Religious freedom does not imply that a person is free to do anything he wants in the name of religion. Animals or humans, for example, cannot be sacrificed as offerings to supernatural forces or gods.

Rights to Culture and Education

Minorities’ cultural and educational rights are outlined in the Indian Constitution: Any group of citizens who speak a different language or have a different culture has the right to preserve it. A citizen’s admission to any government-run educational institution or receipt of government aid cannot be rejected on the basis of religion or language. All minorities have the right to construct and run their own educational institutions.

How do we make certain that these rights are safeguarded? 

The right to constitutional remedies ensures the effectiveness of the other five Fundamental Rights. When one of our rights is violated, we have the option of seeking redress through the courts. That is why Dr Ambedkar referred to the Constitution’s “heart and soul” as the Right to Constitutional Remedies. Fundamental rights are protected from the activities of legislatures, the executive, and any other government-created bodies. There can be no law or action that infringes on the fundamental rights of individuals. Any act of the legislature or the executive branch that abridges or restricts any of the Fundamental Rights is unconstitutional.

Sample Questions

Question 1: What exactly is a “democracy”?


The term “democracy” usually refers to a system of government in which voters vote for their leaders. 

Question 2: What exactly is “bonded labor”?


Bonded labor, often known as debt bondage or peonage, occurs when people sell themselves as collateral for a loan.

Question 3: What does it mean to have a “fundamental right”?


The Supreme Court has defined fundamental rights as a group of rights that require a high level of protection from government encroachment. 

Question 4: In your own words, define the term “rule of law.”Do you believe the rule of law is respected in India?


It implies that the laws apply to everyone equally, regardless of their status. In India, the rule of law reigns supreme.In the perspective of the law, everyone is equal.

Question 5: What is Public Interest Litigation, and how does it work?


Any citizen or group of citizens can file a PIL with the Supreme Court or a High Court for the protection of the public interest against a specific government law or action.Even a postcard might be used to write to the judges.If the judges determine that the case is in the public interest, the court will hear it.

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Last Updated : 18 Jul, 2022
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