To be democratic, elections and institutions must be paired with a third component – the enjoyment of rights. Elected officials operating within established institutional frameworks must learn to respect citizens’ democratic rights. This is the last chapter of Class 9 Political Science Notes.
CBSE Notes Class 9 Political Science Chapter 5 on Democratic Rights starts with some real-world examples to help students visualise what it would be like to live without rights. This teaches you what rights are and why you need them. These notes will expand on the discussion of the Indian Constitution’s Fundamental Rights. Additionally, you learn how an average citizen may exercise these rights and who will safeguard and enforce them. Finally, you’ll see how the scope of human rights has been increasing.

Life Without Rights

The value of rights may be judged by the person whose life is empty of them.

The following three instances explain what it is like to live without rights.

Prison In Guantanamo Bay

Around 600 people were secretly detained by US soldiers from all around the world and held at Guantanamo Bay, near Cuba. According to the American government, they were US adversaries and were related to the September 11, 2001, strike on New York. As a consequence, there was no hearing before a magistrate in the United States, and these prisoners were unable to approach courts in their own country. 

Protest Regarding The Imprisonment : According to Amnesty International, the captives were tortured in methods that violated UN rules. Despite international treaty rules, inmates were refused treatment.

Ethnic Massacre In Kosovo

Serbs were the majority in Yugoslavia, while Albanians were a minority.

Slobodan Milosevic, a democratically elected Serb leader, desired to rule the nation. Serbs believed that Albanians (the Ethnic Minority Group) should either leave the nation or submit to Serb control.

Kosovo, with a majority of Albanians, declared independence in February 2008 as a consequence of ethnic conflicts.

Citizens’ Rights In Saudi Arabia 

Saudi Arabia is controlled by a hereditary king, and the populace has no role in voting or replacing its rulers; the king appoints both the legislative and executive branches of government. He selects judges and has the authority to reject any of their rulings. Citizens are not permitted to organise political parties or other political organisations.

The media are prohibited to report anything that the king does not approve of. There is no religious liberty. Every citizen must be Muslim. Non-Muslim citizens are permitted to practise their religion privately but not in public.

Women face numerous public limitations. One man’s testimony is regarded as similar to that of two women.

Rights In A Democracy

Everyone desires a system in which a basic level of certainty is given to everyone, independent of their strength or weakness, wealth or poverty, majority or minority status.

Nobody should be arrested without a legitimate cause and sufficient information. If this occurs, he or she should have a reasonable opportunity to defend themselves. This guarantee should not be limited to the written word.

There should be someone who is responsible for enforcing rules and punishing those who violate them. That is the true spirit of the rights. 

Meaning Of Rights

Rights are justified claims or recognised individuals in society who are sanctioned by law. When other citizens or the government violate our rights, we refer to this as a violation of our rights. In such instances, citizens may claim damages in court to protect their rights. 

Need Of Rights 

Rights are vital for a democracy to survive. The right to vote and the right to be elected to government are fundamental in a democracy.

Rights safeguard minorities against the majority’s tyranny; they guarantee that the majority cannot do whatever it pleases.

Rights are similar to assurances that can be claimed in the event that anything goes wrong. Particularly when some people try to deny others of their privileges. In the majority of democracies, citizens’ fundamental rights are written into the Constitution.

Rights In The Indian Constitution

Certain basic rights are given a special status under the Indian Constitution. These are referred to as Fundamental Rights.

These are the fundamental human rights that every citizen in a democracy receives in order to develop his or her individuality. The Constitution protects certain rights.

Right To Freedom

Freedom is defined as the absence of limitation (restrictions). In practical terms, it refers to the lack of external interference in our lives, whether by other people or the government. All people in India have the right to,

  1. Freedom of Speech and Expression
  2. Assembly in a Peaceful Manner/Form Associations
  3. Freedom to Travel/Choice of Occupations
  4. Personal Liberty

Freedom does not indicate an unrestricted right to do whatever one convinces. The government has the authority to put justifiable limits on our liberties in the larger interests of society.

Right To Equality

According to the Constitution, the government must not deny any individual in India equality before the law or equal protection of the laws.

This implies that the laws apply equally to everyone, regardless of their standing.

This is referred to as the rule of law.

The Right to Equality is the foundation of all democracies. That is, no one is above the law. The government must make no difference between citizens purely on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.

Every person has the right to visit public spaces such as stores, restaurants, hotels, and movie theatres.

Reservations : India’s government has reserved seats for Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) (OBCs). However, these objections do not represent an attempt on the Right to Equality.

Equality does not suggest treating everyone equally regardless of their circumstances. Rather than that, it means providing an equal chance for everyone to fulfil their full potential. Thus, such reservations do not constitute a violation of the Equal Protection Of the laws.

Untouchability : The Constitution instructs the government to abolish untouchability. Untouchability is the most extreme type of social discrimination.

It does not imply a reluctance to touch members of particular castes. Rather than that, it refers to any ideology or social practices that disrespects individuals on the basis of their birth with specific caste identities.

Many Forms Of Untouchability : In 1999, P. Sainath published a series of news pieces in the newspaper ‘The Hindu’ documenting the continued practise of untouchability and caste discrimination against Dalits and members of Scheduled Castes.

  1. Sainath visited several sections of the nation and discovered that in many locations
  2. Tea vendors maintained two types of mugs on hand, one for Dalits and one for everyone else.
  3. Barbers were refusing to service Dalit customers.
  4. Dalit students were separated from their classmates and had to drink water from a separate pitcher.
  5. Dalit grooms were not permitted to ride in the wedding procession on a horse.
  6. Dalits were not permitted to use ordinary hand pumps, and if they did, the hand pumps were cleansed to remove impurities.

Right Against Exploitation

The constitution makers believed it was vital to include some specific prohibitions to avoid exploitation of the weaker sectors of society. The Constitution specifically lists three evils and declares them to be unlawful.

  1. First, the Constitution restricts ‘human trafficking.’ Trafficking in this sense refers to the selling and purchasing of human beings, often women or children, for immoral objectives.
  2. Second, Additionally, our Constitution outlaws any type of forced labour or Begar. Begar is a practice in which the worker is forced to offer service to the master for free or at a reduced rate of pay. When this practice occurs on a permanent basis, it is referred to as bonded labour.
  3. Finally, child labour is prohibited under the Constitution. Nobody may employ a kid under the age of 14 in a factory, mine, or other dangerous occupation, such as railroads or ports.

Right To Freedom Of Religion 

Each individual has the right to profess, practise, and spread the faith in which they believe. Each religious organisation or sect is free to govern themselves religiously.

The right to spread one’s faith does not indicate that a person has the authority to convert another person to his religion by force, fraud, seduction, or allurement.

Secularism: India is a unitary state. A secular state is one that does not declare any one faith to be the state religion. In India, no religion is accorded any special treatment or advantage.

The government cannot force anybody to pay a tax solely for the purpose of promoting or maintaining a specific religion or religious organisation. Religious teaching must be prohibited in public educational institutions.

Right To Constitutional Remedies

The Constitution’s Fundamental Rights are significant because they are enforceable. We have the legal right to seek enforcement of the above rights.

This is regarded as the Constitutional Right to Redress. This right enables the exercise of other rights.

When a citizen’s Fundamental Rights are infringed, he or she may approach the Supreme Court or the High Court immediately. Both courts have the authority to issue writs for the enforcement of rights (Habeas corpus, Mandamus, prohibition, Quo warranto, and Certiorari).

That is why Dr Ambedkar referred to the Right to Constitutional Remedies as the Constitution’s ‘heart and soul’. 

Right To Property : Articles 19 and 31 of the Constitution initially guaranteed the right to property. However, in 1978, the 44th Amendment Act removed this privilege from the list of Fundamental Rights.

The Amendment established it as a legal privilege under the Constitution’s Article 300-A. This right ensures that no one is dispossessed of his or her property.

Right To Education : India joined a select club of nations worldwide in establishing education as a Fundamental Right for every child under Article 21-A. It became effective on 1st April 2010.

According to Article 21-A, the state is required to offer free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of six and fourteen. As a result of this clause, basic education is now a Fundamental Right.

Cultural And Educational Rights

Our Constitution guarantees minorities the following cultural and educational rights.

  1. Any segment of the population having a unique language or culture has a claim to its preservation.
  2. No citizen may be denied entrance to a government-run or government-funded educational institution on the grounds of religion or language.

All minorities have the right to construct and manage their own educational institutions.

Securing The Fundamental Rights

Any act of the Legislature or Executive that helps restore or restricts any of the Fundamental Rights is invalid. Citizens may challenge such laws in courts that  uphold the Fundamental Rights of private persons and organisations.

When a case involves a social or public interest, it is referred to as Public Interest Litigation (PIL).

Expanding The Scope Of Rights

Certain requests have been included within the scope of Fundamental Rights.

For instance, the right to press freedom, the right to education, and the right to information.

A kid has the right to an elementary education under the Right to Education. Anyone may request information on the activities of a government agency or official under the Right to Information.

The Constitution has several more rights that may not be considered Fundamental Rights. Property rights and the right to vote are not Fundamental Rights; they are Constitutional Rights.

Human Rights

Human rights are universal moral demands that have been recognised or not by legislation. With the spread of democracy around the world, governments face more pressure to accept these claims. Certain international treaties have aided in

the growth of rights.

International Covenant On Economic, Social And Cultural Rights 

The international agreement recognises numerous rights that are not expressly included in the Indian Constitution’s Fundamental Rights. This has not yet become an international treaty, but human rights supporters all across the world see it as a human rights benchmark.

These include:

  1. The right to work, which gives everyone the chance to make a living by working.
  2. The right to safe and healthy working conditions, as well as fair remuneration that allow employees and their families to live comfortably.
  3. The right to a decent standard of life, which includes enough food, clothing, and shelter.
  4. The right to social security and health insurance.
  5. The right to health, which includes medical treatment during sickness, specific care for women during childbirth, and epidemic prevention.
  6. The right to education, which includes free and obligatory elementary education.
  7. Equality of access to higher education.

NCERT questions & answers from Chemical Reactions and Equations

Which of the following is not an instance of an exercise of a fundamental right?

(a) Workers from Bihar go to Punjab to work on the farms.
(b) Christian missions set up a chain of missionary schools.
(c) Men and women government employees get the same salary.
(d) Parents’ property is inherited by their children.

Answer: (d) Parents’ property is inherited by their children.

Which of the following freedoms is not available to an Indian citizen?

(a) Freedom to criticise the government
(b) Freedom to participate in armed revolution
(c) Freedom to start a movement to change the government
(d) Freedom to oppose the central values of the Constitution

Answer: (d) Freedom to oppose the central values of the Constitution

Which of the following rights is available under the Indian Constitution?

(a) Right to work
(b) Right to adequate livelihood
(c) Right to protect one’s culture
(d) Right to privacy

Answer: (c) Right to protect one’s culture Everyone has the right to participate freely in their community’s cultural life, to enjoy the arts, and to benefit from scientific advancement and its benefits.

Name the Fundamental Right under which each of the following rights falls:
Freedom to propagate one’s religion
Right to life
Abolition of untouchability
Ban on bonded labour

Answer:

  1. Right to Freedom of Religion
  2. Right to Freedom
  3. Right to Equality
  4. Right against Exploitation

Which of these statements about the relationship between democracy and rights is more valid? Give reasons for your preference.
(a) Every country that is a democracy gives rights to its citizens.
(b) Every country that gives rights to its citizens is a democracy.
(c) Giving rights is good, but it is not necessary for a democracy.

Answer: (a) Every country that is a democracy gives rights to its citizens.

Reasons:

  • Rights are necessary for democracy to exist.
  • Each citizen has the right to vote in a democracy.

Are there restrictions on the Right to Freedom justified? Give reasons for your answer.
Indian citizens are required to obtain permission to enter certain border areas of the country for security reasons.
Outsiders are not permitted to purchase property in certain areas to safeguard the local population’s interests.
The government prohibits the publication of any book that could be understood as an attack on the ruling party in the upcoming elections.

Answer:

  1. It is justified. The primary responsibility of a government is to ensure the country’s security, which may deter citizens from travelling to border regions.
  2. This action is also justified. The native peoples may lack the financial means to protect their interests. Outsiders may suspend their rights in their own territory, justifying the government’s action.

Not justified.  The publication of a book may be prohibited only if it disrupts the peace and offends a segment of the population, not to protect the ruling party’s electoral prospects in the next election.

Manoj went to a college to apply for admission into an MBA course. The clerk refused to take his application and said “You, the son of a sweeper, wish to be a manager! Has anyone done this job in your community ? Go to the municipality office and apply for a sweeper’s position”. Which of Manoj’s fundamental rights are being violated in this instance.

Answer: In Manoj’s case, two fundamental rights are being violated.

  1. Right to Equality. Everyone is equal in the eyes of the law. No one may be denied admission solely based on his or her date of birth. Additionally, the individual is committing an offence of untouchability. Furthermore, his right to opportunity is violated..

Right to Freedom. Manoj is free to apply for any job, regardless of location, as long as he meets the necessary qualifications. Nobody can convince him into performing an act against his will.

When Madhurima went to the property registration office, the Registrar told her, “You can’t write your name as Madhurima Banerjee d/o A.K. Banerjee. You are married, so you must give your husband’s name. Your husband’s surname is Rao. So your name should be changed to Madhurima Rao.” She did not agree. She said “If my husband’s name has not changed after marriage, why should mine?” In your opinion, who is right in this dispute? and why?

Answer: In this instance, Madhurima is correct. She is entitled to equality and thus has the option of using

either her maiden or married name. Compulsory use of her husband’s surname is a violation of her right.

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