The guarantee of certain basic rights of the individual and quick and convenient means of its enforcement is the necessary element for a democratic set up. Almost all written Constitutions of the world contain declaration and guarantee of such rights in some form or the other.
Fundamental rights are a sort of limitation over the executive and legislative powers of the government. It is against the might of the State that individual needs Constitutional protection. The whole object of Part III of the Constitution is to provide protection to the freedoms and rights mentioned therein against arbitrary invasion by the State.
In Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, AIR 1978 S.C. 597, dealing with the importance of fundamental rights, Justice Bhagwati observed, “These fundamental rights represent the basic values cherished by the people of the country since Vedic times and they are calculated to protect the dignity of the individual and create conditions in which human beings can develop their personality to the fullest extent”.
In this case, Justice Bhagwati has clearly read the principle of reasonableness in Article 14 of the Constitution. He has observed that “Article 14 strikes at reasonableness in State action and insures fairness and equality of treatment.
The principle of reasonableness, which logically as well as philosophically, is an essential element of equality or non-arbitrariness, pervades Article 14 like a brooding omnipresence.”
Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution:
The fundamental rights in Part III of the Constitution may be classified as follows:
(1) Right to equality (Articles 14 to 18)
(2) Right to freedom (Articles 19 to 22)
(3) Right against exploitation (Articles 23 and 24)
(4) Right to freedom of religion (Articles 25 to 28)
(5) Cultural and educational rights (Articles 29 and 30)
(6) Right to Constitutional Remedies (Articles 32 to 35)
Object of fundamental rights:
The object of fundamental rights is to provide security and equality of the Trust. The society receives grant from the State.
“Authorities under the control of the Government of India”, mean all areas outside Indian Territory but which are under or may come under the control of Government of India, such as mandatory or trust territories.
Such a territory may come under the control of Indian Government by international agreement. Such areas will also come within the purview of Part III of the Constitution and the inhabitants of those areas may also claim the benefit of Fundamental Rights guaranteed to the people of India.
Is judiciary Included in the Word, “State”.—The question whether judiciary includes within the meaning of “The State”, arose for consideration in Naresh v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1967 S.C. 1. The Supreme Court held in this case that even if a court is the State, a writ cannot be issued to a High Court against its judicial orders, because such orders cannot be said to be volatile of fundamental rights.
It may be noted that the answer to this question depends upon the distinction between judicial and non-judicial functions of the judiciary and while in the exercise of latter functions, the Courts fall within the definition of “State”, but in the case of former functions, it would not be included in the category of “the State”.
Therefore, Mr. H.M. Seervai, the eminent jurist, holds the view that judiciary should be included within the meaning of the term, “State”, and a judge acting as such, is subject to the jurisdiction of Supreme Court. The Courts, like other organs of the State are limited by the mandatory provision of the Constitution and they can hardly be allowed to override the fundamental rights and to make erroneous decision.