Human Rights Law in the Constitution of India [July 2021]

INTRODUCTION: Human rights (Law) are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of gender , nationality, place of residency, sex,  ethnicity, religion, colour or other categorization. Thus human rights are non-discriminatory, meaning that all human being are entitled to them and cannot be excluded from them. Of course, while all human beings are entitled to human rights, not all human beings experience them equally throughout the world, many governments and individuals ignore human rights sand grossly exploit other human beings.


Human Rights Meaning

Human rights have presumed very significance as these are considered requisite for the existence of human beings. International Community has become aware of these rights with its Declaration on H.R (Human Rights) on 10th December 1948. The member –nations were asked to encourage and secure the effective recognition and observance of the rights and freedom as declared in the U.N. Declaration on human rights. All member states observed 10th December as the human rights day.

It is significant to note that “human rights” is a generic term and it embraces civil rights, civil liberties, and social, economic and cultural rights . It is therefore, difficult to  give a precise definition rights. It is, therefore, difficult to give a precise definition of the term ‘human rights’ . The term human rights is defined by different jurists differently as follows:-


ACCORDING TO VIENNA DECLARATION, 1993,

“all human rights derive  from the dignity and worth inherent in the human person, and that the person is the central subject of human rights and fundamental freedoms”.

ACCORDING TO SUSAN MOLLER OKIN

” Human Rights as a claim to  something of  crucial importance for human life”.

ACCORDING TO SEC 2 (D) OF THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACT, 1993

“human rights  means the rights relating to life, liberty, equality, and dignity of individual guaranteed by the Indian constitution or embodied(to include or contain something) in the international covenants and enforceable by courts in India.

ACCORDING TO SECTION 2(D) OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACT, 1993,

It gives a very narrow definition of human rights and does not include all fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution or embodied/expressed in International Covenants On Human Rights.


BASIC FEATURES OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS:-

  1. Natural rights: Human rights are not created by any legislature they assume the position of natural rights in human life.
  2. Inherent in the nature of all individuals:- Human rights , being birth are inherent in all the individual irrespective of their caste , creed, religion, sex, and nationality.
  3. Universal and inalienable: The principle of universality of human rights is t he cornerstone of international human rights law. The 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.
  4. Interdependent and indivisible:- Human rights are called by various names and sometimes separated into different categories- like civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights. Every right depend on another for fulfillment. Such as the rights to development and self-determination, are indivisible, interrelated and interdependent. The enhancements of one right facilities improvement of the others. Likewise, the destitution of one right adversely affects the others.
  5. Equal and Neutral:- The equal and non-discriminatory principle implement to everyone in relation to all human rights and freedoms and its forbid discrimination on the basis of a list of non-exhaustive categories such as race, colour, sex, and so on. The principle of non –discrimination is accompanied by the principle of equality, as stated in AArt. 1 of The Universal Declaration Of Human rights(U.D.H.R): all human beings are born free and equal in dignity, status and rights.

KINDS OF HUMAN RIGHTS (Law):-

According to Lord b. Sohn, human rights may be divided into following three kinds

Kinds of human rights:- according to louis b. Sohn, human rights may be divided into following 3 kinds:-

  1. Human Rights of first generation:- It is to be noted that the rights contained in the covenant on the civil and political rights come under this category that see their origin in the 13th century in magna carta. These rights are those which protect right to life, personal liberty, right to privacy, home and correspondence, right to own property, freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, etc.
  2. The Human Rights of second-generation:– These rights refer to the economic and social rights which are considered to have been originated in the russian revolution of 1917 and in the paris peace conference of 1919. These rights include right to adequate food, clothing, housing and adequate standard of living and freedom from hunger, right to work, right to social security, right to physical and mental health, education etc., that have been provided in the international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights.
  3. The Human Rights of third generation:– Collective rights : according to louis b. Sohn individuals are also members of such units, groups or communities as a family, religious community, social club, trade union, professional association, racial group people, nation and state.

Now the question is “Is the slavery a Violation of Rights?

Let’s discuss

Slavery, forced labour and human trafficking and forced labour  are infringement of human rights because these acts strip human beings of their inherent rights. In fact, the universal declaration of human rights explicitly references slavery, stating in art.4 no one shall be held in slavery or servitude, slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms, slavers and human traffickers grossly violate human rights since they claim ownership, labor and or the humanity of another human being.


The human rights (Law) (H.R) most relevant to trafficking are:-

  1. The right to life.
  2. The right to social security.
  3. The right to liberty and security.
  4. The right to freedom of movement.
  5. The right to freedom of association.
  6. The right of children to special protection.
  7. The right to an appropriate standard of living.
  8. The right to just and encouraging conditions of work.
  9. The right to be free from gendered and racialised violence.
  10. The right to the highest achievable standard of mental and physical health.
  11. The right not to be submitted to slavery, servitude, forced labor or bonded labor.
  12. The right not to be subjected to ill-treatment and/or cruel, inhuman, derogatory treatment or punishment.
  13. The prohibition of discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status.

Is human rights a Legal Right?

A legal right is a right that is recognized and protected by the legal system, legal rights have two important essential elements i.e. Firstly,, the holder of the right, and the secondly, the person bound by the duty, an only legal person can be bound by duties or to be the holder of the legal rights.

 Declaration of human rights adopted the general assembly on December 9, 1998, laid down u/article 2

para 1: that each state has the prime responsibility and duty to protect, implement and promote all human rights by adopting necessary initiative.

Para 2: of the above article states that each state shall adopt necessary legislative, administrative and other steps to ensure that the rights to protect human rights are effectively guaranteed.

Further, international convenant on economic, social, and cultural rights adopted in 1966 stipulated in the preamble as to the obligation of states to promote universal respect for and observance of human rights and freedoms. The above implies that human right is a legal right.


Read more:-

Women Rights under the Constitution of India

Fundamental Rights in the Indian Constitution

Article 21 Right to Life Indian Constitution

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