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Important Materials on Socio Economic Development in India for IPS LCE Examination Human Rights & The Role

of Judiciary
The principle of universality of human rights is the cornerstone of international human rights law. This principle, as first emphasized in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948, has been reiterated in numerous international human rights conventions, declarations, and resolutions. The 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights, for example, noted that it is the duty of States to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems. All states have ratified at least one, and 80% of states have ratified four or more, of the core human rights treaties, reflecting their consent, which creates legal obligations for them, giving concrete expression to universality. Some fundamental human rights enjoy universal protection by customary international law across all boundaries and civilizations. Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever their nationality, place of residence, sex, ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We a re all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible. Universal human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by law, in the forms of treaties, customary international law, general principles and other sources of international law. International human rights laws lay down obligations for governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups Non-discrimination is a cross-cutting principle in international human rights law. The principle is present in all the major human rights treaties and provides the central theme of some international human rights conventions such as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The principle applies to everyone in relation to all human rights and freedoms and it prohibits discrimination on the basis of a list of non-exhaustive categories such as sex, race, colour and so on. The principle of non-discrimination is complemented by the principle of equality, as stated in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

Human rights & Indian Constitution


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 by United Nation had a great impact on the constitution of the newly independent India. A separate chapter on fundamental rights has been included in the Constitution which is similar to the Declaration of Human Rights. Independent India has no history of movement for Human Rights as the provision has been already made in the Constitution in the form of fundamental rights. The doctrine of human rights contains equality, justice, liberty and fraternity, which are also the basis of fundamental rights. Article 21 of our Constitution provides all this with the protection of Article 32 by which an individua l can draw attention of Judiciary towards any injustice done on the basis of sex, race, caste and religion. Our constitution has provided a mechanism for implementation of such rights and laws. The Indian Judiciary has played a significant role in this context and extended the scope and limit of human rights with the help of Directive Principles. While widening the definition of Article 21, [Right to live] judiciary has included subjects like health, education, medical aid, food etc, which are basic requirements of human being. We know the importance of human rights and our

Important Materials on Socio Economic Development in India for IPS LCE Examination Human Rights & The Role of Judiciary
Constitution and judiciary are committed towards justice for common people. We are also committed towards the declaration of Human Rights for all made by United Nations.

Judicial Response towards Human Rights


Every legal system is based on three basic principles i.e. justice, equity and rule of law. Every person possesses certain rights that may be fundamental or natural, given to him by law. To protect these rights and to make amends for wrong , we have established the judicial system. The Indian judiciary has established several norms, laws and guidelines by delivering several verdicts in the context of human rights and social justice. In a recent case of honour killings of a young couple by the Khap Panchayat in Haryana, for having married within the same gotra, the Karnal Sessions Court passed a landmark order on 30.03.2010 awarding death penalty to the five persons for the double murder. In Lata Singh v. State Of Uttar Pradesh [AIR 2007 SC] the apex court held that we sometimes hear of honour killings of such persons who undergo intercaste or inter religious marriage of their own free will. There is nothing honourable in such killings, in fact they are nothing but barbaric and shameful acts of murder committed by brutal, feudal minded persons who deserve harsh punishment. The right to live in peace is a basic and essential right in the context of human rights and freedoms. Article 21 of the Constitution of India, provides that, No perso n shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. Life in Article 21 of the Constitution has much wider meaning which includes right to live with human dignity, right to livelihood, right to health, right to pollution free air, etc. Right to life is fundamental to our very existence without which we cannot live as human beings and includes all those aspects of life which go to make a mans life meaningful, complete and worth living. It is the only article in the Constitution which has received the widest possible interpretation. Supreme Court, through its various decisions has elaborated the concept of Article 21. In the Delhi Pollution Case, the Supreme Court held in 1989 that Article 21 of the Constitu tion guaranteeing the right to life must be interpreted to include the right to live in a healthy environment with minimum disturbance of ecological balance, and without avoidable hazard to [the people] and to their cattle, house and agricultural land, and undue affection of air, water, and environment. The subsequent ruling in Charan Lal Sahu v. Union of India expanded upon this decision when Justice Kuldip Singh described the governments role in the protection of fundamental rights: it is the obliga tion of the State to assume such responsibility and protect its citizens. The Court held that the governments obligation to protect fundamental rights forces it to protect the environment. In Francis Coralie Mullin v Administrator, Union Territory of Delhi, the Honourable Supreme Court stated that, the right to life includes the right to live with human dignity and all that goes along with it, namely, the bare necessaries of life such as adequate nutrition, clothing and shelter over the head and facilities for reading, writing and expressing oneself in diverse forms, freely moving about and mixing and commingling with fellow human beings.Thus, the Supreme Court has interpreted Article 21 in a widest possible manner and included within its ambit the righ t to live with human dignity.

Protection of Human Rights and PIL

Important Materials on Socio Economic Development in India for IPS LCE Examination Human Rights & The Role of Judiciary
The Indian judiciary played a very active role by entertaining Public Interest Litigation which provides an opportunity to the judiciary to examine the socio -economic and environmental conditions of the oppressed, poor and the downtrodden people through PIL. Under the Article 32 of the Constitution the Supreme Court has directed the government to implement the fundamental right to life and liberty and execute protection measures in the public interest. In the case of Chaitanya Vs. State of Karnataka [AIR,1986 SC 825] Supreme Court also invoked jurisdiction under article 226 of the Constitution and has given authority to High court regarding PIL. The Public Interest Litigation has become a safeguard to Human Rights. The principle and practice of PIL has been followed by High Courts and the Supreme Court in a number of cases. The famous cases where the court has issued direction under PIL and protected the human rights of individuals are Bihar [Bhagalpur] under trail criminal case, the case of Bombay pavement dwellers , Bandhua Mukti Morcha Vs. Union of India.etc. Chief Justice P.N. Bhagwati observed, where a legal wrong or legal injury is caused by a person to a determinate class of persons, who by reasons of poverty, helplessness or disability, or socially and economically disadvantaged position, is unable to approach the court for relief, any member of the public can maintain an application for appropriate direction. [S.P. Gupta Vs.Union of India,SC 1982] The first reported case of PIL in 1979 focused on the inhuman conditions of prisons and under trial prisoners. In Hussainara Khatoon v. State of Bihar, [AIR 1979 SC 1360] the PIL was filed by an advocate on the basis of the news item published in the Indian Express, highlighting the plight of thousands of under trial prisoners languishing in various jails in Bihar. These proceedings led to the release of more than 40, 000 under trial prisoners. Right to speedy justice emerged as a basic fundamental right which had been denied to these prisoners. The same set pattern was adopted in subsequent cases. In 1981 the case of Anil Yadav v. State of Bihar, [AIR 1982 SC 1008] exposed the brutalities of the police. Newspaper reports revealed that about 33 s uspected criminals were blinded by the police in Bihar by putting the acid into their eyes. Through interim orders Supreme Court directed the state government to bring the blinded men to Delhi for medical treatment. It also ordered speedy prosecution of the guilty policemen. The court also read right to free legal aid as a fundamental right of every accused. Independence of the judiciary in India stems from the separation of powers between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, making it possible to constitute a system of checks and balances aimed at preventing abuse of power. This separation and consequent independence is the key to the judiciarys effective functioning and upholding of the rule of law and human rights. Without the rule of law, there can be no realization of human rights. The role of the judiciary in any society must be to protect human rights by way of due process and effective remedies. This role cannot be fulfilled unless the judicial mechanism is functioning independently, with its decisions based solely on the basis of legal principles and impartial reasoning. In the end, it is the need of the hour to take human rights in a positive sense and not allow its politicization. It has often been seen that human rights movement start with great principles like morality, ethics, respect of human beings etc, but soon become the instruments of power game. To prevent this, we must educate the masses about -their rights and duties and help them fight for the same. Courtesy: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting publication division