NCERT Class 9 Civics Chapter 5 - Democratic Rights

Chapter 5 - Democratic Rights

Question 1: What are Rights? Why do we need 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.
• Rights also perform a very special role in a democracy.
• Rights protect minorities from the oppression of majority.
• When those in majority want to dominate those in minority. The government should protect the citizens’ rights in such a situation. But sometimes elected governments may not protect or may even attack the rights of their own citizens. That is why some rights need 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.

Question 2: Write in brief about all the Fundamental Rights in the Indian Constitution.
Fundamental Rights in the Indian Constitution are
• Right to Equality
→ The Constitution says that the government shall not deny to any person in India equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws. It 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 any democracy. It means that no person is above the law.
→ The government shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
→ Every citizen shall have access to public places like shops, restaurants, hotels, and cinema halls. 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.
→ All citizens have equality of opportunity in matters relating to employment or appointment to any position in the government. The practice of untouchability has been forbidden in any form.

• Right to Freedom
→ Under the Indian Constitution all citizens have the right to
*Freedom of speech and expression
*Assembly in a peaceful manner
*Form associations and unions
*Move freely throughout the country
*Reside in any part of the country
*Practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business
→ Freedom of speech and expression is one of the essential features of any democracy. Everyone is free to communicate with others. We have freedom to think differently from others. We have freedom to criticise the government or the activities of the association in our conversations with others. But we cannot use their freedom to instigate violence against others.
→ Citizens have full freedom to assemble at a place for discussions. But they are expected to maintain peace. Citizens also can form associations. For example workers in a factory can form a workers’ union to promote their interests. Some people in a town may come together to form an association to campaign against corruption or pollution.
→ Citizens have the freedom to hold meetings, processions, rallies and demonstrations on any issue. They may want to discuss a problem, exchange ideas, mobilise public support to a cause, or seek votes for a candidate or party in an election. But such meetings have to be peaceful.
→ We are free to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India. This right allows lakhs of people to migrate from villages to towns and from poorer regions of the countries to prosperous regions and big cities.
→ The same freedom extends to choice of occupations. No one can force you to do or not to do a certain job. Women cannot be told that some kinds of occupations are not for them. People from deprived castes cannot be kept to their traditional occupations.

• Right against Exploitation
→ The Constitution mentions three specific evils and declares these illegal.
→ First, the Constitution prohibits ‘traffic in human beings’. Traffic here means selling and buying of human beings, usually women, for immoral purposes.
→ Second, our Constitution also prohibits forced labour or begar in any form.
→ Begar is a practice where the worker is forced to render service to the ‘master’ free of charge or at a nominal remuneration. When this practice takes place on a life-long basis, it is called the practice of bonded labour.
→ Finally the Constitution also 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.
→ Many laws have been made to prohibit children from working in industries such as beedi making, firecrackers and matches, printing and dyeing.

• Right to Freedom of Religion
→ Every person has a right to profess, practice and propagate the religion he or she believes in.
→ A right to propagate one’s religion, however, does not mean that a person has right to compel another person to convert into his religion by means of force, fraud, inducement or allurement.
→ For example, one cannot sacrifice animals or human beings as offerings to supernatural forces or gods. Religious practices which treat women as inferior or those that infringe women’s freedom are not allowed. For example, one cannot force a widowed woman to shave head or wear white clothes.
→ A secular state is one that does not confer any privilege or favour on any particular religion. Nor does it punish or discriminate against people on the basis of religion they follow.
→ There shall be no religious instruction in the government educational institutions. In educational institutions managed by private bodies no person shall be compelled to take part in any religious instruction or to attend any religious worship.

• Cultural and Educational Rights
→ The Constitution specifies the cultural and educational rights of the minorities.
→ Any section of citizens with a distinct language or culture have a right to conserve it.
→ Admission to any educational institution maintained by government or receiving government aid cannot be denied to any citizen on the ground of religion or language.
→ All minorities have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.

• Right to Constitutional Remedies
→ This 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.

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