Freedom has been defined as the power to act, speaks, think or live as one wants. Freedom is the right and capacity of people to determine their own actions, free of restraint.
Various provisions of the Constitution of India guarantee the enjoyment of freedom by all citizens. These provisions read in totality assure in a fairly comprehensive way, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom by Indian people.
The Preamble to the Constitution of India proudly proclaims “…..WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGSOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC] and to secure to all its citizens:…..
JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;…..”
Part-III of the Indian Constitution, Articles 12 to 35 , enlist the Fundamental Rights granted to the citizens of India. The fundamental Rights taken together guarantee the essential freedom to one and all. These provisions are as follows:
Article 14: Equality before law — The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
Article 15: Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.— The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.
Article 16: Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment — There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State
Article 17: Abolition of Untouchability.— “Untouchability” is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden. The enforcement of any disability arising out of “Untouchability” shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.
Article 18: Abolition of titles — No title, not being a military or academic distinction, shall be conferred by the State.
Article 19: Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech etc — All citizens shall have the right— (a) to freedom of speech and expression; (b) to assemble peaceably and without arms; (c) to form associations or unions; (d) to move freely throughout the territory of India; (e) to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India; and * * * * * (g) to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.
Article 21: Protection of life and personal liberty —No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.
Article 22: Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases — No person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest nor shall he be denied the right to consult, and to be defended by, a legal practitioner of his choice.
Article 23: Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour — Traffic in human beings and beggar and other similar forms of forced labour are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.
Article 25: Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion — Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion.
Article 26: Freedom to manage religious affairs —Subject to public order, morality and health, every religious denomination or any section thereof shall have the right— (a) to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes; (b) to manage its own affairs in matters of religion; (c) to own and acquire movable and immovable property; and (d) to administer such property in accordance with law.
Article 28: Freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in certain educational institutions — No religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of State funds.
Article 29: Protection of interests of minorities — Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.
Article 32: Remedies for enforcement of rights conferred by this Part —(1) The right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred by this Part is guaranteed. (2) The Supreme Court shall have power to issue directions or orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari, whichever may be appropriate, for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by this Part. (3) Without prejudice to the powers conferred on the Supreme Court by clauses (1) and (2), Parliament may by law empower any other court to exercise within the local limits of its jurisdiction all or any of the powers exercisable by the Supreme Court under clause (2). (4) The right guaranteed by this article shall not be suspended except as otherwise provided for by this Constitution.
The Indian constitution thus guarantees the availability of basic freedoms to all citizens of India in a fairly comprehensive way. The Supreme Court of India along with the various High Courts in the states are entrusted the responsibility of ensuring that the rights and freedoms as stated in the constitution are made available to all citizens. These important institutions of democracy also protect the citizens from the abuse of power by the government authorities.