- Amnesty International : Amnesty International is an international organization of volunteers who campaign for human rights. This organization brings out independent reports on the violation of human rights all over the world.
- Ethnic Group : An ethnic group is a human population whose members usually identify with each other on the basis of a common ancestry. People of an ethnic group are united by cultural practices, religious beliefs and historical memories.
- Dalit : A person who belongs to the castes which are considered low and not touchable by others. Dalits are also known by other names such as the scheduled castes, deprived classes, etc.
- Trafficking : Selling and buying of men, women or children for immoral purposes.
- Summon : An order issued by a court asking a person to appear before it.
- Writ : A formal document containing an order of the court to the government issued only by the High Court or the Supreme Court.
- National Human Rights Commission : It is an independent organization established in 1993. Its main work is to focus on human rights and help the victims, whose rights are violated.
- Covenant : It is a promise made by individuals, groups or countries to uphold a rule or principle. It is legally binding on the signatories to the agreement or statement.
Life Without Rights - Prison In Guantanamo Bay; Citizen’s Rights In Saudi Arabia; Ethnic Massacre In Kosovo
- Violation of Citizens’ Rights by the USA :
- About 600 people were secretly picked up by the US forces from all over the world and put in a prison in Guantanamo Bay, an area near Cuba controlled by the American Navy.
- The American Government said that they were enemies of the US and linked to the attack on New York on 11th September, 2001.
- Families of prisoners, media or even UN representatives were not allowed to meet them. The US Army arrested them, interrogated them and decided to keep them there. There was no trial before any magistrate in the US.
- Amnesty International, an International human rights organization, collected information on the condition of the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and reported that the prisoners were being tortured in ways that violated the US laws.
- Prisoners were not released even after they were officially declared not guilty. An independent inquiry by the UN supported these findings. The UN Secretary General said the prison in Guantanamo Bay should be closed down. The US Government refused to accept these pleas.
- Violation of Citizens’ Rights in Saudi Arabia
- The country is ruled by a hereditary king and the people have no role in electing or changing their rulers.
- The king selects the legislature as well as the executive. He appoints the judges and can change any of their decisions.
- Citizens cannot form political parties or any political organization. Media cannot report anything that the monarch does not like.
- There is no freedom of religion. Every citizen is required to be Muslim. Non-Muslim residents can follow their religion in private, but not in public.
- Women are subjected to many public restrictions. The testimony of one man is considered equal to that of two women.
- Violation of Citizens’ Rights in Yugoslavia (Kosovo) :
- Kosovo was a province of Yugoslavia before its split. In this province the population was overwhelmingly ethnic Albanian Muslims. But in the entire country, Serbs(Christians) were in majority.
- A narrow-minded Serb nationalist Milosevic had won the election. His government was very hostile to the Kosovo Albanians. He wanted the Serbs to dominate the country. Many Serb leaders thought that ethnic minorities like Albanians should either leave the country or accept the dominance of the Serbs.
- 74-year-old Batisha Hoxha was sitting in her kitchen with her 77- year–old husband Izet, staying warm by the stove. She knew, five or six soldiers had burst through the front door and were demanding her children.
- They shot Izet three times in the chest. When her husband was dying, the soldiers pulled the wedding ring off and even before she came out of the house they burnt her house.
- This was typical of what happened to thousands of Albanians in that period. This was one of the worst instances of killings based on ethnic prejudices in recent times. Finally Milosevic lost power and was tried by an International Court of Justice for crimes against humanity.
Rights In A Democracy
- Rights are reasonable claims of persons recognised by society and sanctioned by law.
- Rights are necessary for the very sustenance of a democracy.
- In a democracy, every citizen has to have the right to vote and the right to be elected to government.
- For democratic elections to take place, it is necessary that citizens should have the right to express their opinion, form political parties and take part in political activities.
- Rights protect minorities from the oppression of majority. They ensure that the majority cannot do whatever it likes. Rights are guarantees which can be used when things go wrong.
- The government should protect the citizens’ rights. But sometimes, elected governments may not protect or may even attack the rights of their own citizens.
- That is why some rights are needed to be placed higher than the government, so that the government cannot violate them. In most democracies, the basic rights of the citizen are written down in the constitution.
Rights In The Indian Constitution
- The Indian Constitution has given us six Fundamental Rights. They are the basic features of the Indian Constitution.
- The Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution are :
(i) Right to Equality,
(ii) Right to Freedom,
(iii) Right against Exploitation,
(iv) Right to Freedom of Religion,
(v) Cultural and Educational Rights and
(vi) Right to Constitutional Remedies.
- Right to Equality : Right to Equality means that the laws apply in the same manner to all, regardless of a person’s status. This is called the rule of law. Rule of law is the foundation of democracy.
- It means that no person is above the law. There cannot be any distinction between a political leader, government official and an ordinary citizen.
- The government shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds of religion, caste, ethnicity, sex or place of birth.
- Every citizen shall have access to public places like shops, restaurants, hotels and cinema halls. Similarly, there shall be no restriction with regard to the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads, playgrounds and places of public resorts maintained by government or dedicated to the use of general public.
- The same principle applies to public jobs. All citizens have equality of opportunity in matters relating to employment or appointment to any position in the government. No citizen shall be discriminated against or made ineligible for employment on the grounds mentioned above.
- The constitution mentions one extreme form of social discrimination, the practice of untouchability, and clearly directs the government to put an end to it. The practice of untouchability has been forbidden in any form.
- Right to Freedom : Right to Freedom means absence of interference in our affairs by others – be it other individuals or the government.
- Under the Indian Constitution, all citizens have the right to freedom of speech and expression
(i) Freedom to assemble in a peaceful manner.
(ii) Freedom to form associations and unions.
(iii) Freedom to move freely throughout the country.
(iv) Freedom to reside in any part of the country.
(v) Freedom to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.
(vi) Citizens have the freedom to hold meetings, processions, rallies and demonstrations on any issue.
(vii) Your freedoms should not cause public nuisance or disorder. You are free to do everything which injures no one else.
- Right to Constitutional Remedies : The Fundamental Rights in the constitution are important because they are enforceable. We have a right to seek the enforcement of the above mentioned rights. This is called the Right to Constitutional Remedies.
- This Fundamental Right makes other rights effective. It is possible that sometimes our rights may be violated by fellow citizens, private bodies or by the government. When any of our rights are violated we can seek remedy through courts. If it is a Fundamental Right, we can directly approach the Supreme Court or the High Court of a state. That is why Dr. Ambedkar called the Right to Constitutional Remedies, ‘the heart and soul’ of our constitution.
- Courts also enforce the Fundamental Rights against private individuals and bodies. The Supreme Court and High Courts have the power to issue directions, orders or writs for the enforcement of the Fundamental Rights.
- A person can go to court against the violation of a Fundamental Right. If it is of social or public interest, it is called Public Interest Litigation (PIL). Under the PIL, any citizen or group of citizens can approach the Supreme Court or a High Court for the protection of public interest against a particular law or action of the government.
Expanding Scope Of Rights
- Additional Rights Guaranteed by Indian Constitution
- While Fundamental Rights are the source of all rights, our constitution and law offers a wider range of rights. Over the years the scope of rights has expanded. From time to time, the courts gave judgments to expand the scope of rights.
- Now, school education has become a right for Indian citizens. The governments are responsible for providing free and compulsory education to all children up to the age of 14 years.
- Parliament has enacted a law giving the right to information to the citizens. We have a right to seek information from government offices.
- Recently, the Supreme Court has expanded the meaning of the right to life to include the right to food.
- The right to property and right to vote in elections are important constitutional rights.
- Constitution of South Africa guarantees its citizens several kinds of new rights :
- Right to privacy, so that citizens or their home cannot be searched, their phones cannot be tapped, their communication cannot be opened.
- Right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well being.
- Right to have access to adequate housing.
- Right to have access to health care services, sufficient food and water; no one must be refused of emergency medical treatment.
- Human right activists all over the world seek a set of rights as a standard of human rights. These include :
- Right to work: opportunity to everyone to earn livelihood by working.
- Right to safe and healthy working conditions, fair wages that can provide decent standard of living for the workers and their families
- Right to adequate standard of living including adequate food, clothing and housing.
- Right to social security and insurance.
- Right to health medical care during illness, special care for women during childbirth and prevention of epidemics
- Right to education free and compulsory primary education, equal access to higher education.
Question.1. Chapter one: Chile under Pinochet and Poland under Jaruzelsky were not democratic because ……
Chapter Two: A comprehensive definition of democracy includes ….
Chapter Three: Our constitution makers believed that fundamental rights were quite central to the constitution because ….
Chapter Four: Every adult citizen of India has the right to … and to be ….
Chapter Five: If a law is against the Constitution, every citizen has the right to approach …..
Answer. Chapter One : Chile under Pinochet and Poland under Jaruzelsky were not democratic because they did not grant freedom of speech and expression to its people and did not hold free and fair elections regularly.
Chapter Two : A comprehensive definition of democracy includes a government of the people, elected periodically by universal adult franchise through free and fair elections. The will of the people is supreme in a democracy.
Chapter Three : Our Constitution makers believed that fundamental rights were quite central to the constitution because they were committed to universal adult franchise, right to freedom and equality and to protecting the rights of the minorities.
Chapter Four : Every adult citizen of India has the right to vote and to be elected.
Chapter Five : If a law is against the constitution, every citizen has the right to approach the courts.
Question.2. If you were a Serb, would you support what Milosevic did in Kosovo? Do you think his project of establishing Serb dominance was good for the Serbs?
Answer. I would oppose it. This kind of eminence would recoil on the Serbs themselves as it would make them very unpopular. It did. The Albanians overthrew Milosevic and he died in a prison. He would always be remembered for his brutality and terror.
Question.3. For each of the three cases of life without rights, mention an example from India. These could include the following:
(i) Newspaper reports on custodial violence.
(ii) Newspaper reports on force-feeding of prisoners who go on hunger strike.
(iii) Ethnic massacre in any part of our country.
(iv) Reports regarding unequal treatment of women.
List the similarities and differences between the earlier case and the Indian example. It is not necessary that for each of these cases you must find an exact Indian parallel.
(i) Indian example compared to ‘Prison in Guantanamo Bay’:
A news report in ‘The Hindu’ newspaper dated 20th October, 2006: CBI to Probe Custodial Violence: Case According to the petitioner, there was a petty quarrel between her children and her neighbour’s children on 5th February, 2004, for which the latter preferred a complaint with the police. Due to coercion from the complainant’s relative, who worked at the Tamil Nadu House in New Delhi, the police summoned the petitioner and her husband, S Annakodi, to the police station on the next day. Mr Annakodi was brutally beaten up by a sub-inspector there. He was produced before the Judicial Magistrate and let out on bail the same day.
Immediately, his wife took him to a private clinic where the doctor advised her to admit him in the General Hospital. As Ms Muniyammal did not have enough money she took her husband back home where he died at 2 am on 8th February. Similarity There is custodial violence in both cases.
(a) The violence in the Indian case is in the Police Station, whereas in the first case it was in prison.
(b) In the Indian case, the person was visiting the police station on a summons, whereas in the earlier case the prisoners had been illegally detained in prison.
(ii) Indian example compared to ‘Citizens’ Rights in Saudi Arabia’: A news report in ‘The Times of India’ newspaper dated 6th August, 2012. Gender discrimination, say women candidates. Bhopal The number of women candidates who were not called for interview despite scoring higher marks than male candidates was 109; the CM added and also tabled in the assembly the list of ail such women, candidates along with details of scores, ranks and addresses. “It’s a typical case where men have benefitted from reservation meant for women”, says one of the candidates Sunita Jain, who hails from Ratlam. She had complained to the national women’s commission, state women’s commission and made representation at all levels, pointing out that keeping higher cut-off marks for women candidates and lower cut-off marks for men amounted to gender discrimination.
Difference: In the Saudi Arabia case, women are subject to restrictions and also their testimony has half the value of men’s testimony. In the Indian case, women were discriminated against by keeping higher cut-off marks for them compared to the men.
(iii) Indian example compared to ‘Ethnic massacre in Kosovo’:
A news report from Reuters dated 29th August, 2012: Indian politician found guilty of murder for her role in bloody massacre. A former Indian state minister was found guilty on Wednesday of murder in one of the country’s worst religious riots, the highest-profile conviction in a case that casts a shadow over the country 10 years on. Human-rights groups say about 2,500 people, mostly Muslims, were hacked, beaten or burned to death in Gujarat state after a suspected Muslim mob burned alive 59 Hindu activists and pilgrims inside a train in February, 2002.
Similarity: In both cases, the minority people were massacred.
Differences: In the case of Kosovo, it was organized by the government and executed by their soldiers. In the Indian case, it was done by a mob, which was instigated by some people who were in the government.
Question.4. (A) Write a letter to Anas Jamil in UK, describing your reactions after reading his letter to Tony Blair.
Letter to Anas Jamil
Today I read your letter.I was really disheartened by what has happened to you and your family. I want to inform you that Mr el-Banna was arrested along with friend Bisher al-Rawi, an Iraqi citizen, during a business trip to Gambia in 2002 on suspicion of links to terrorism. After questioning his father and al-Rawi, the pair were handed over to American security officers and transferred to Guantanamo Bay via a US air base in Bagram, Afghanistan.
There have been allegations that the British security services tipped off the US that they were linked to al-Qaeda suspect Abu Qatada. But Mr el-Banna’s lawyers say the evidence against him is flimsy. He was accused of having a suspicious device in his baggage but it turned out to be a battery charger bought from Argos. Mr el-Banna suffers from diabetes but Miss Teather says he has been denied the salad he needs to control his blood sugar levels “because it is too expensive”, causing a severe deterioration in his sight.
Miss Teather told the Daily Mail: “What we want is basic justice. Jamil should either be charged or released but his lawyers are confident there is no evidence against him.
It has been tough for you but we all are with you, so, don’t worry.
Lots of love to you.
(B) Write a letter from Batisha in Kosovo to a woman who faced a similar situation in India.
E-4 Mansarovar Enclave,
6 November 2020.
My friend Bindhu,
I am feeling very bad when I heard that you are also going through the same situation like I faced. Be strong. Face the challenges bravely. I hope you will also get the justice as soon as possible and the main culprits behind these massacres will be punished.
(C) Write a memorandum on behalf of women in Saudi Arabia to the Secretary General of the United Nations.
Answer. Very few rights are given to Saudi women. The situation is little different in recent years, but worst for second class citizens.
I am a woman of Saudi Arabia addressing the secretary-general (though my liberty and livelihood will be in danger as a result of it), I am imploring the UN and that both the UN and its member nations pressure Saudi Arabia to enact reforms so that the country is in compliance with that Declaration.
Question.5. What are the examples of elected governments not protecting or even attacking the rights of their own citizens? Why do they do that?
Answer. Examples of elected governments not protecting or even attacking the rights of their own citizens are:
- Ethnic massacre of Albanians in Kosovo.
- Policy of apartheid in South Africa.
- Rule of PRI party in Mexico.
- Rule of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.
These rulers wanted to hold power and keep the people under their control so that they would not oppose them and they could rule without problems.
Question.6. Everyone knows that the rich can have better lawyers in the courts. What is the point in talking about equality before law?
Answer. It is true that the rich can have better lawyers in the courts but the law is the same for everyone. Being rich or having good lawyers does not mean that equality of law also changes. Whether a person is rich or poor, the law remains the same for all citizens. The judiciary follows the rule of law for all without discrimination.
Question.7. (A) Go to the playground of the school or any stadium and watch a 400 metre race on any track. Why are the competitors in the outer lane placed ahead of those in the inner lane at the starting point of the race? What would happen if all the competitors start the race from the same line? Which of these two would be an equal and fair race? Apply this example to a competition for jobs.
Answer. As the outer lane has a bigger circumference than the inner lane, more than 400 meters distance will be covered in one round of the track. So competitors in the outer lane are placed ahead, so that they are given an equal opportunity compared to the person in the inner lane. If all the competitors start at the same line, the outer track competitors will have to run a longer distance, which will not be fair.
So in the first case, it will be a fair race. Similarly, in a competition for jobs, if the Scheduled Castes are given reservations, they can compete on an equal basis, because they are educationally and culturally backward, although they may be fit for the job for which they have applied.
(B) Observe any big public building. Is there a ramp for physically handicapped? Are there any other facilities that make it possible for physically handicapped to use the building in the same way as anyone else? Should these special facilities be provided, if it leads to extra expenditure on the building? Do these special provisions go against the principle of equality?
Answer. In many public buildings like hospitals and big offices, there are such ramps. Some airports have special toilets for the physically handicapped. These special provisions do not go against the right to equality as handicapped persons also have the same rights as normal citizens and the government must provide for them accordingly.
Question.8.Answer. In my area there are instances like:
- Dalit boy beaten to death for plucking flowers
- Dalit tortured by cops for three days
- Dalit ‘witch’ paraded naked
- Dalit killed in lock-up at Kurnool
- Dalits burnt alive in caste clash
- Dalit woman gang-raped, paraded naked
- Police egged on mob to lynch Dalits.
- Dalits are not allowed to drink from the same wells, attend the same temples, wear shoes in the presence of an upper caste, or drink from the same cups in tea stalls
Question.9. Should the freedom of expression be extended to those who are spreading wrong and narrow minded ideas? Should they be allowed to confuse the public?
Answer. No, the freedom of expression should not be extended to those who are spreading wrong and narrow minded ideas, since it is harmful for society and democracy. No, they should not be allowed to confuse the public because it would be wrong to do so. Spreading wrong information for personal gains is wrong.
Question.10. Are these cases instances of violation of right to freedom? If yes, which constitutional provision does each of these violate?
- The government of India banned Salman Rushdie’s book Satanic Verses on the ground that it was disrespectful to Prophet Mohammed and was likely to hurt the feelings of Muslim community.
- Every film has to be approved by the Censor Board of the government before it can be shown to the public. But there is no such restriction if the same story is published in a book or a magazine.
- The government is considering a proposal that there will be industrial zones or sectors of economy where workers will not be allowed to form unions or go on strike.
- City administration has imposed a ban on use of public microphones after 10 p.m. in view of the approaching secondary school examinations.
(i) Yes, this violates the right to freedom of thought and expression.
(ii) Yes, this violates the right to freedom of thought and expression.
(iii) Yes, this violates the right to freedom to form associations and unions.
(iv) No, this is not a violation of the right to freedom because the Constitution guarantees freedom to a group of people as long as that freedom does not affect or hamper any other freedom of anyone else. Also the ban is imposed in the larger interests of the people.
Question.11. On the basis of these news reports write a letter to the editor or a petition to a court highlighting the violation of right against exploitation:
Letter to the Editor
This is to bring to the notice of all concerned that many children are being exploited and forced to work for food and shelter. Instances which have come to my knowledge are
(i) A large number of village children between the ages of 7 to 12 years of Salem district in. Tamil Nadu has been sold in Kerala to work as child labour.
(ii) Many children in Karnataka, even down to the age of 5 years, have been employed in digging, breaking stones, loading and processing iron ore in the mines there. The work is very hazardous and they are not using any safety measures.
(iii) Female child labour is also being utilized in many places. In fact, the number of female child labourers has increased in recent times, both in urban as well as rural areas.
By this letter, I wish to bring these facts to the notice of the Government, so that they can take suitable action against the people who are violating the Right against Exploitation of these children. I hope that my plea will create a proper response from the government to bring these malpractices to an end.
Question.12. Do you know what the minimum wages in your state are? If not, can you find out? Speak to five people doing different types of work in your neighbourhood and find out if they are earning the minimum wages or not. Ask them if they know what the minimum wages are. Ask them if men and women are getting the same wages.
Answer. Minimum wages in our state for daily labourers per day are Rs.300/-
I spoke to 5 different persons with different occupations each. They don’t know the real meaning of minimum wages. Unskilled are getting wages below the minimum wage of the state whereas semi skilled and skilled are getting salaries above the minimum wages in the state. All of them opined that men and women are not getting same wages. Below are the wages of the 5 persons.
- Watchman- 320/- per day
- Labourers (threshing work) – 300/- per day
- Receptionist- 9000/- per month
- Accountant/ Sales executive- 15,000/- per month
- Manager- 26,000/- per month
Question.13. The Constitution does not give people their religion. Then how can it give people the right to practice their religion?
Answer. Our constitution does not favour any religion. It is secular. The constitution is not concerned with the relation between human beings and God. It is only concerned with relations among human beings, so it has given the people the right to practice, profess, propagate their religion. It only safeguards that this freedom is not misused.
Question.14. Read these news reports and identify the right that is being debated in each of these cases:
- An emergency session of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) rejected the proposal to form a separate body to manage the affairs of Sikh shrines in Haryana. It warned the government that the Sikh community would not tolerate any interference in their religious affairs. (June 2005)
- The Allahabad High Court quashed the Central law, which gave Aligarh Muslim University its minority status, and held illegal the reservation of seats for Muslims in its postgraduate medical courses. (January 2006)
- The Rajasthan Government has decided to enact an anti-conversion law. Christian leaders have said that the Bill would aggravate the sense of insecurity and fear in the minds of minorities. (March 2005)
(i) Here it is the Right to Freedom of Religion.
(ii) Here it is the Right to Equality.
(iii) Here it is the Right to Freedom of Religion.
Question.15. Can the President of India stop you from approaching the Supreme Court to secure your fundamental rights?
Answer. No, the President of India cannot stop me from approaching the Supreme Court to secure my Fundamental Rights because the Fundamental Rights have been enshrined in our Constitution. This means that our Constitution provides and protects these rights and they cannot be taken away or violated by any person or government action or law, which also includes the President of India. The Right to Constitutional Remedies is a Fundamental Right, according to which we have the right to approach the Supreme Court in case of violation of rights by any person or government law. So, nobody can stop us from going to court to secure our Fundamental Rights.
Question.16. Are these rights only for adults? Which of these rights are available for children?
Answer. No, these (Fundamental Rights) are not only for the adults, they are available to all the citizens of the country without any discrimination.
- Right against exploitation is specially devoted to children because it protects the children from exploitation.
- This right prohibits child labour.
- No one can employ a child below the age of fourteen to work in any factory or mine or in any other hazardous work such as railways and ports.
- Using this right as a basis, many laws have been made to prohibit children from working in industries such as beedi making, firecrackers, matches, printing and dyeing.
Question.17. Is there a State Human Rights Commission in your state? Find out about its activities.
Answer. After Bifurcation, Andhra Pradesh has set up State Human rights commission in Visakhapatnam in March, 2021. A state human rights commission is a statutory body with three or more members headed by a retired high court judge and two other (judicial and non judicial) members. The commission is responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights, related to life, liberty, equality and dignity of individuals as guaranteed under the Indian Constitution and Protection of Human Rights Act of 1993.
Question.18. Write a petition to the NHRC if you know any instances of human rights violation in your area.
The National Human Rights Commission,
Manav Adhikar Bhavan Block-C,
New Delhi, 110023.
Details: Name- K.Vijay Kumar
Victim- G. Naresh
Place of incident- Kakinada
I, K.Vijay Kumar, residing in Kakinada city have witnessed grave violation of Human rights in my neighbourhood. Victim named G.Naresh is one of my neighbours belonging to a scheduled caste. He was brutally thrashed and killed in the day light by upper caste people of our locality because of petty issue arose during cricket match between G. Naresh and one upper caste guy. Even though Scheduled caste people raised complaint in police station and State Human rights commission no action was taken yet. The culprits are still roaming freely without any guilt.
So, I kindly request the National Human Rights Commission Chairman to look into the issue and deliver justice to the victims family.
Question.1. Which of the following is not an instance of the 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.
Ans. (d) Parents’ property is inherited by their children.
Question.2. Which of the following freedoms is 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
Ans. (a) Freedom to criticise the government.
Question.3. 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
Ans. (c) Right to protect one’s culture.
Question.4. Name the Fundamental Right under which each of the following rights falls :
(a) Freedom to propagate one’s religion
(b) Right to life
(c) Abolition of untouchability
(d) Ban on bonded labour
Ans. (a) Right to Freedom of Religion
(b) Right to Freedom
(c) Right to Equality
(d) Right Against Exploitation.
Question.5. 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 is not necessary for a democracy.
Ans. (b) Unless the people are given the right to choose and vote freely their representative in the government, the country cannot have a democracy. A true a democratic country is called only when the citizens choose their government or representatives.
Question.6. Are these restrictions on the Right to Freedom justified? Give reasons for your answer.
(a) Indian citizens need permission to visit some border areas of the country for reasons of security.
(b) Outsiders are not allowed to buy property in some areas to protect the interest of the local population.
(c) The government bans the publication of a book that can go against the ruling party in the next elections.
Ans. (a) It is justified. The security of a country is the first duty of a government, and it can stop people from visiting the border areas.
(b) This action is also justified. The local population may not be financially strong to protect its interests. Outsiders can take away their rights in their own area, so the government’s step is right.
(c) No, this is not justified. The publication of a book can only be banned if it disturbs peace or hurts the sentiments of a section of people, and not on grounds of protecting the ruling party’s prospects in the next elections.
Question.7. 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? Spell these out in a letter from Manoj to the District Collector.
Ans. The following rights are being violated.
1. Right to Equality : Everyone is equal in the eyes of the law. No one can be denied admissions on grounds of birth. The person is practicing “untouchability” in an indirect way, and this is an offence in the eyes of law. His right to opportunity is also being
2. Right to Freedom : Manoj has a right to apply for any job anywhere as long as he is qualified for it.
These two points should be pointed out in your letter to the District Collector.
Question.8. 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?
Ans. There is no law which states that a woman can own property in her married name only. The constitution gives equal right to both men and women. So if Madhurima wants to give her maiden name, though married, she has the right to do so. The Registrar is being traditional.
Question.9. Thousands of tribals and other forest dwellers gathered at Piparia in Hoshangabad district in Madhya Pradesh to protest against their proposed displacement from the Satpura National Park, Bori Wildlife Sanctuary and Panchmarhi Wildlife Sanctuary.
They argue that such a displacement is an attack on their livelihood and beliefs.
Government claims that their displacement is essential for the development of the area and for protection of wildlife. Write a petition on behalf of the forest dwellers to the NHRC, a response from the government and a report of the NHRC on this matter.
Ans. (a) Letter from Tribals to NHRC
- Government’s proposal is a violation of human rights.
- It is taking away their right to live, right to follow their beliefs.
- For centuries the forests have been their means of livelihood.
- They have practised their rituals here.
- No alternative has been suggested to them.
- Nothing has happened to the wildlife, so why this sudden interest?
- Displacement would cause untold misery to them, their families, children and their future.
(b) Response from the Government
- The government had given a warning to the people two years ago.
- There has been an alarming rise in poaching, cutting of trees and killing of wildlife.
- Environmental pollution has also increased.
- It is the government’s duty to protect the endangered species.
- The government has offered compensation and promised rehabilitation in alternative places.
- Offered jobs to the men.
- Both sides have a point.
- The Tribals have tradition, practice and decades of residence behind them. It is their world and life.
- Sudden uprooting will leave them emotionally disturbed, turn them into vagabonds and force them into jobs or occupations which they have never followed.
- The Government is right in its concern for wildlife. It is its duty to save certain species from becoming extinct. Poachers are having a field day, and every day the environment is threatened.
Suggestions : Transfer should be slow, not sudden. First, shelter and occupation should be provided to all the people. Education should be the primary concern. Only through education can the younger generation take to the new environment and occupation. Not one family should be rendered homeless and without means of occupation.
Write these points in three different letters.
Question.10. Draw a web interconnecting different rights discussed in this chapter. For example, Right to Freedom of Movement is connected to the freedom of occupation. One reason for this is that Freedom of Movement enables a person to go to a place of work within one’s village or city or to another village, city or state. Similarly, this right can be used for pilgrimage, connected with freedom to follow one’s religion. Draw a circle for each right and mark arrows that show connection between or among different rights. For each arrow, give an example that follows the linkage.
Ans. Let us take Right to Freedom.
Now write down the connection and complete the web. Make webs like these for every right.