In this article, you are going to read all about the Right to Freedom.
The independence of many Asian and African nations did not result in the establishment of democracy and liberal institutions in all countries. The United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10th December 1948 which stressed providing basic rights to humans. The Constitution of India incorporated the basic human rights from the French Revolution and the American Constitution. Fundamental rights are included in the Constitution of India in Part III, Articles 12−35.
Right to Freedom (Articles 19−22)
Under Article 19, six basic freedoms can be guaranteed to the people. These are
- Freedom of speech and expression
- Freedom to assemble peacefully without arms
- Freedom to form associations and unions
- Freedom to move freely throughout India
- Freedom to reside and settle in any part of the country
- Freedom to practise any profession, trade or business
The above freedoms have some limitations. They can be abolished during an emergency. They are not absolute. Legislations such as Preventive Detention impose restrictions on the rights to freedom.
Article 20 gives the following protections to a citizen:
- A person cannot be punished twice for the same crime.
- He cannot be compelled to be a witness in case where he himself is accused of the offence.
- No one gets greater penalty than what is prescribed under a law.
Article 21 ensures that a person cannot be deprived of his life and liberty except in accordance with the law.
Article 22 gives important rights to citizens:
- An arrested person should be informed of his/her offence.
- He should be presented before a magistrate within 24 hours from the time of arrest.
- The arrested person has the right to consult a lawyer and prepare his defence at the trial.
- Preventive detention does not mean that a person stands accused. It is a precautionary measure.
- Detention beyond three months could be extended only by the Advisory Board.
- The detained person has the right to make representation against detention. The limitation of the above rights are that due to public interests, the state can refuse to disclose the grounds of detention and the Parliament has the power to specify the maximum period of Preventive Detention.
Limitations on the Fundamental Rights
Fundamental rights are not absolute keeping in mind the general welfare of the people. These are
- Fundamental rights could be suspended during emergency. The rights of citizens are restored as soon as emergency is over.
- The Parliament has the power to modify the application of fundamental rights to the members of the armed forces, police forces or intelligence organisations so that they are able to ensure proper discharge of their duties and maintain discipline among them.
- Laws such as Defence of India Act and National Security Act curtail the use of the fundamental rights to safeguard the interests of the nation.
- Fundamental rights can be suspended when emergency is declared by the President under Article 352. During emergency, the legislature can frame any laws. Citizens have no protection against the executive or legislative authorities.
- Also Read Fundamental Duties