Human rights are a set of fundamental rights and freedoms inherent to all human beings, regardless of their nationality, race, gender, religion, or any other status. These rights are based on the principle of human dignity and are considered universal, inalienable, and indivisible.
The concept of human rights is derived from the idea that every individual possesses certain inherent rights by virtue of being human. These rights are intended to ensure that individuals can live with freedom, equality, and dignity.
Human rights encompass a wide range of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights that are protected by national laws, international treaties, and customary international law.The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 defines Human Rights as: “human rights” means the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by courts in India”.
Protection of human rights is essential for the development of the people of the country, which ultimately leads to development of the national as a whole. The Constitution of India guarantees basic human rights to each and every citizen of the country.
The framers of the Constitution have put their best efforts in putting down the necessary provisions. However, with continuous developments taking place, the horizon of human rights has also expanded. The parliamentarians are now playing a great role in recognizing the rights of people and passing statues, amending provisions etc. as and when required[i].
DEVELOPMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN INDIA : The roots of human rights can be traced far back to ancient India in most of civilizations.It is said that in the RIG VEDA ;
“There is no race; of human being” and the validity of different traditions, religion, indeed of paths to truth, has always been respected.
Our going principle has been “SARVA DHARMA SAMANAM”. The recent principle of human rights that we can see in different conventions , declaration and treaties can be seen in our ancient or sacred books , Vedas as a form of moral obligations by which society can survive peacefully.
There was elaborate provisions for social services such as education, public health, widowhood, medical attendance,orphanage, elimination of poverty etc. It is believed that the king had to provide and serve these resources to his people as a representative of state . Kautilya in theArthasastra; he proclaims the magnificent “ideal happiness of the subjects lies the happiness if the king[ii]”
The great tradition of India, which enjoy peace , friendship , equality ,respect for human life and dignity provided inspiration to our freedom struggles which fold into our independence movement and inspired people from all walks of life, cities, villages ,towns .The independence struggle represented the securing of fundamental human rights for the people of India . so, it is clear that the development of human rights is not a recent phenomenon.
RECENT DEVELOPMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS:
India has made significant progress in the development and promotion of human rights over the years. The Constitution of India, adopted in 1950, provides a strong foundation for the protection and promotion of human rights. Here are some key aspects of the development of human rights in India:
Legal Framework: India has a comprehensive legal framework for human rights, including the Constitution, which guarantees fundamental rights to its citizens. These rights include the right to equality, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, and protection against discrimination.
- National Human Rights Commission (NHRC): Established in 1993, the NHRC is an autonomous body that works to protect and promote human rights in India. It investigates complaints of human rights violations, conducts research, and promotes awareness and education on human rights issues.
- Women’s Rights: India has taken various steps to address gender-based discrimination and violence against women. Laws such as the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (2005) and the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act (2013) have been enacted to protect women’s rights and ensure justice for survivors of gender-based violence.
- Rights of marginalized communities: India recognizes the rights of marginalized communities such as Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), and Other Backward Classes (OBCs). Affirmative action measures, known as reservations, are implemented in education, employment, and political representation to ensure social justice and equality.
- LGBTQ+ Rights: In a landmark judgment in 2018, the Supreme Court of India decriminalized homosexuality, recognizing the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. This decision was a significant step towards promoting equality and inclusivity.
- Right to Education: The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (2009) guarantees free and compulsory education to all children aged 6 to 14 years. This law aims to ensure equal access to education and reduce educational disparities.
- Freedom of Expression: India has a vibrant media and civil society that actively engages in public discourse and criticism of government policies. Freedom of expression is protected under the Constitution, although certain reasonable restrictions can be imposed in the interest of sovereignty, security, and public order.
- Despite these positive developments, challenges remain in the effective implementation of human rights in India. Issues such as discrimination based on caste, gender, religion, and socioeconomic status persist. Ensuring equal access to justice, addressing police brutality, and improving conditions in prisons are areas that require further attention and improvement. The government, civil society organizations, and citizens continue to work together to advance human rights in India.
JURISPRUDENCE OF THE INDIAN JUDICIARY :
The Indian experience on the promotion and protection of human rights at the national level,despite having numerous social and economic problems, most importantly its strak poverty , may be of some interset at the international level.
The indian constitution ensures a noble democracy which guarantee freedom under law and the dignity of the individual. Part III of the Indian constitution enumerates the Fundamental rights and Part IV sets out the Directive Principles of State Policy.
The fundamental rights means the rights which are inherant in all human beings and are basic or essential for the individual. These rights protects the dignity of the individual and create conditions in which every human being can develop his personality to the fullest extent.
Hence , constitutional makers declared that these rights are the pride of the indian constitution and No law, Ordinance , Custom , Usage or order can abridge or take away one’s fundamental rights. There are two Non- derogable rights which can’t be suspend at any cost which are ARTICLE 20 and ARTICLE 21.
ARTICLE 20 :- No person shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of a law in force at the time of the commission of the Act charged as an offence, nor be subjected to a penalty greater than that which might have been inflicted under the law in force at the time of the commission of the offence.
No person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once.
No person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.
ARTICLE 21:– “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law.”
THE JUDICIAL DECISIONS VIA :- Substantive Rights ;
- Right to life
- Death penality
A). RIGHT TO LIFE ( Article 21):– Article 21 is at the heart of the Constitution. It is the most organic and progressive provision in our living Constitution. Article 21 can only be claimed when a person is deprived of his ‘life or ‘personal liberty’ by the ‘State’. Right to life, and Right to personal liberty.
It prohibits the deprivation of the above rights except according to a procedure established by law. Article 21 corresponds to the Magna Carta of 1215, the Fifth Amendment to the American Constitution, Article 40(4) of Eire 1937, and Article XXXI of the Constitution of Japan, 1946.
It is also fundamental to democracy as it extends to natural persons and not just citizens. The right is available to every person, citizen or alien. Thus, even a foreigner can claim this right. It, however, does not entitle a foreigner to the right to reside and settle in India, as mentioned in Article 19 (1) (e).This Article is an all tell for Article 21.
The first part will understand the meaning and concept of ‘right to life’ as understood by the judiciary. Further, the piece will lay out how several violations of the body, reputation and equality have been understood and brought under the purview of the right to life and the right to live with dignity.
The landmark judgement delivered by supreme court in MANEKA GANDHI CASE infused a new life into Article 21 .Even the term “LIFE” has not been define in the indian constitution but the interpretation of this word came out in case, KHARAK SINGH V. STATE OF UP .
- . DEATH PENALTY:- The supreme court and high court at several times try to give the just , fair and resonable procedure of trial to prevent the priosners from arbitreness. The Supreme court of india has ruled in BACCHAN SINGH VS STATE OF PUNJAB case that death penality should be given in rarest of rare stitution. India has not abolished the death penality , but as a rule laid down by the courts that iot has to be given only in a heinous crimes that shakes the conscience of mankind. ARTICLE 6 OF international covenant of civil and poltical rights provide:
In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes in accordance with the law in force at the time of the commission of the crime and not contrary to the provisions of the present Covenant and to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This penalty can only be carried out pursuant to a final judgement rendered by a competent court.
It means article 6 para2 is not absoulte and unqualified , it has not abolished the death penality.instead of prohibiting the dath penality, it reduce the award of it. In india , death sentence is not abolished yet .it follows the establishe procedure by law via constitutional permissiblity.
C). TORTURE :- The Indian Constitution does not explicitly mention the concept of “torture.” However, several provisions and judicial interpretations protect individuals from cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment, which encompass the principles related to torture.Here are the relevant provisions and interpretations that address the concept of torture in the Indian Constitution:
Article 21 – Right to Life and Personal Liberty: Article 21 of the Indian Constitution guarantees the fundamental right to life and personal liberty. The Supreme Court of India has interpreted this provision expansively to include the right to live with dignity, free from torture or cruel treatment. Any act of torture or custodial violence that violates a person’s physical or mental integrity is considered a violation of Article 21.
Prohibition of Torture under International Conventions: India is a signatory to various international human rights conventions that prohibit torture, such as the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT). Under the principle of “incorporation,” international conventions ratified by India become part of domestic law. Therefore, the prohibition of torture under these conventions is binding within the Indian legal framework.
Criminal Law Amendments: The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 introduced amendments to the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), and the Indian Evidence Act to address sexual offenses and custodial violence. These amendments recognize and provide for stricter punishment for acts that constitute torture or cruel treatment.
Judicial Interpretations: The Supreme Court of India has delivered several landmark judgments that condemn torture and uphold the right to live with dignity. In cases such as D.K. Basu v. State of West Bengal (1997), the court laid down guidelines to prevent custodial violence and ensure the protection of an individual’s rights while in custody.
While the Indian Constitution and the legal framework provide protections against torture, there have been instances of custodial violence and torture reported in the country.
The effective implementation of laws, awareness campaigns, and training programs for law enforcement officials are essential to prevent and address cases of torture.
Additionally, the Prevention of Torture Bill, 2017, which aims to explicitly criminalize torture and provide safeguards against it, is pending in the Indian Parliament for consideration and enactment.
II. PROCEDURAL RIGHTS :-
- Right to Human Dignity : The jurisprudence in india has reached where people can recognise that our constitution fundamental rights respects the human dignity starting from Article 21 and so on . Before Maneka gandhi case this article having very narrower meaning but after the judgement of this case gave a new direction to human rights and dignity . It laid down the concept of reasonable , just and fair procedure must be followed otherwise the law become the violation of Article 21. Supreme court also gave decision upon the personal liberty for the development of human dignity even the person who is behind the bar. The landmark case SUNIL BATRA VS. DELHI ADMINISTRATION brought many remforms of the prison process and their protection.
- Handcuffing of Detenues: Supreme court of india declared handicuff illegal and unconstitutional because it also against the human dignity and violation of Article 21.Article 5 of UDHR also forbidding the torture and cruel, inhuman treatment with the priosner or detenue otherwise it is a violation of their rights. Our court sated that there is no need to handicuff the prisoners unless and until they are not harmful in case SUNIL GUPTA VS. STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH.
- Right to Bail : The constititiuon does not provide any provision explicitly regarding bail but the interpretation of SUPREME and high courts of india have devleoped bail as human right . Section 57 of CRPC of india having provision for bail. Supreme court observed that the arrest should not be in a arbitrary manner so, right to bail is improtant right to the personal liberty . In indian Judiciary presumes that an accused is innocent until he is not proven guilty.
- He has freedom to defend himself. In case HUSASINARA KHATOON VS. STATE OF BIHAR, the judges observed that the system in criminal court was very unsatisfactory because it is very costly and accused and their family member bear so much financial loss in between so, that’s why they sometime are not able to present in the court dates because of this risk.
- This Bail syatem causes discrimination between poor and rich to furnish the bail . by this case it was held that the amount of the bail is fixed by the magistrate is not so high . bvy this poor people also can grant bail easily.
- Right to speedy trial : Speedy trail is our Fundamental right under personal liberty of Aricle 21. In the landmark case of KADRA PEHADIYA V. STATE OF BIHAR, four young boy lodged in the jail for 8 years . This case come from the case of Husssinaira khatoon which pointed out the speedy trial is our fundamental right of an accused but still large number of prisoners are kept in the jailfor a long time without any trial.
- Right to Free Legal Aid : Free legal aid is not our fundamental right but this right prersented in the constitution of india under DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLE OF STATE POLICY, Article39A provide free legal aid in all cases where the person are not capable to take justice because of their financial weakness. In case of M.H.HOSKOT V. STATE OF MAHARASTRA, the supreme court held that legal aid to the poor enshrined the concept of personal liberty and Aricle 21. it is now fairly accepted trhat right to speedy trial, bail, free legal aid is guaranteed under Article 21 and part of basic Human Rights and In Indian Constitution Article 21 comes under non- derogable right which can not be suspend and denied under any circumstances.
CONCLUSION : The International Community gave many provisions to scure the human rights in all over the world. Indian also kept all these important and necessary , required provision in the constitution and personal law to fulfil the goals of the human right.
As well as our judiciary contiounusly working upon the interpretion of the law by which large number of people get justice. Various landmark cases that we have discussd above were the reforms in the indian judicairy done by the various courts at requied period of time.
The implementation of human rights is important for the development of public order but the implementation of these rights are difficult in the hands of international communites so, the countries have to take the steps to enrich the people of their country to the human rights .
 Implementation of basic human rights by manoj kumar sinha (pg04)