Fundamental Rights (Articles 12-35) | UPSC Polity Notes

Fundamental Rights UPSC is one of the important topics in Indian polity subject in UPSC Syllabus. In this article, we will touch upon some of the most important points from this topic. We'll also discuss some of the previously asked questions centred around Fundamental Rights.

Enshrined in Part-III of the Indian Constitution, Fundamental Rights are the basic human rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India. The six fundamental rights include the Right to Equality, Right to freedom, Right against exploitation, Right to freedom of Religion, Cultural and Educational Rights and Right to constitutional Remedies.

Originally Right to property (Article 31) was also included in the Fundamental Rights. However, by the 44th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1978, it was deleted from the list of Fundamental Rights and made a legal right under Article 300A in Part XII of the constitution.

Fundamental Rights in India (Article 12-35)

The development of Fundamental Rights in India is heavily inspired by the United States Bill of Rights. These rights are included in the constitution because they are considered essential for the development of the personality of every individual and to preserve human dignity.

  • Fundamental Rights are included in Part-III of the Indian constitution which is also known as the Magna Carta of the Indian Constitution.

  • These rights are called fundamental rights because they are justiciable in nature allowing persons to move the courts for their enforcement, if and when they are violated

Features of The Fundamental Rights

Some of the salient features of Fundamental Rights include:

  • FRs are protected and guaranteed by the constitution.

  • FRs are NOT sacrosanct or absolute: in the sense that the parliament can curtail them or put reasonable restrictions for a fixed period of time. However, the court has the power to review the reasonability of the restrictions.

  • FRs are justiciable: The constitution allows the person to move directly to the Surpreme Court for the reinforcement of his fundamental right as and when they are violated or restricted.

  • Suspension of Fundamental Rights: All the Fundamental Rights are suspended during National Emergencies except the rights guaranteed under Articles 20 and 21.

  • Restriction of Fundamental Rights: The Fundamental Rights can be restricted during military rule in any particular area.

Important Articles Related To Fundamental Rights

Let us now look at some of the important articles related to the Fundamental Rights in India:

Article 12: Defines The State

Article 12 of the Indian Constitution defines The State as:

  • The Government and Parliament of India,

  • The Government and legislatures of the states,

  • All local authorities and

  • Other authorities in India or under the control of the Government of India.

Article 13: Defines Laws Inconsistent with or In derogation of Fundamental Rights

Article 13 of the Indian Constitution states that:

  • All laws in force in the territory of India immediately before the commencement of this Constitution, in so far as they are inconsistent with the provisions of this Part, shall, to the extent of such inconsistency, be void.

  • The State shall not make any law which takes away or abridges the rights conferred by this Part and any law made in contravention of this clause shall, to the extent of the contravention, be void.

  • In this article, unless the context otherwise required, – (a) “law” includes any Ordinance, order, bye-law, rule, regulation, notification, custom or usage having in the territory of India the force of law; (b)“laws in force” includes laws passed or made by a Legislature or other competent authority in the territory of India before the commencement of this Constitution and not previously repealed, notwithstanding that any such law or any part thereof may not be then in operation either at all or in particular areas.

  • Nothing in this article shall apply to any amendment of this Constitution made under article 368.

Classification of Fundamental Rights

The fundamental rights are classified into the following six categories:

Classification of Fundamental Rights


Deals With

Right to Equality


Equality Before Law


Prohibition of Discrimination


Equality of Opportunity in Public Employment


Abolition of Untouchability


Abolition of Titles

Right to Freedom


Protection of 6 Rights

  • Right to freedom of speech and expression.

  • Right to assemble peaceably and without arms.

  • Right to form associations or unions or co-operative societies.

  • Right to move freely throughout the territory of India.

  • Right to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India.

  • Right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.


Protection in Respect of Conviction for Offences


Protection of Life and Personal Liberty


Right to Education


Protection Against Arrest and Detention

Right Against Exploitation


Prohibition of Human Trafficking and Forced Labour


Prohibition of Child Labour

Right to Freedom of Religion


Freedom of Conscience, Profession, Practice and Propagation


Freedom to Manage Religious Affairs


Freedom from Taxation for Promotion of a Religion


Freedom from Attending Religious Instruction

Educational and Cultural Rights


Protection of Interests of Minorities


Right of Minorities to Establish and Administer Educational Institutions

Right to Constitutional Remedies


Right to remedies for the enforcement of the fundamental rights using five writs:

  • Habeas Corpus - to direct the release of a person detained unlawfully.

  • Mandamus - to direct a public authority to do its duty.

  • Quo Warranto - to direct a person to vacate an office assumed wrongfully.

  • Prohibition - to prohibit a lower court from proceeding on a case.

  • Certiorari - the power of the higher court to remove a proceeding from a lower court and bring it before itself.


Empowers the Parliament to restrict or abrogate the fundamental rights of the ‘Members of the Armed Forces, paramilitary forces, police forces, intelligence agencies and analogous forces


Provides for the restrictions on fundamental rights while martial law(military rule) is in force


Empowers the Parliament to make laws on Fundamental Rights

Important Questions From Fundamental Rights For UPSC Exam

Ques 1: Consider the following statements with respect to the Fundamental Rights in India.

  1. Right to Property was deleted from the list of fundamental rights by the 44th Amendment Act, 1978.

  2. Right to Elementary Education is only available to the citizens of India.

  3. Article 19 protects the citizen’s right to move in and out of the country.

Which of the given statements is NOT correct?

Answer: 2 and 3

Ques 2: Which one of the following statements is correct? (2017)

  1. Rights are claims of the State against the citizens.

  2. Rights are privileges that are incorporated in the Constitution of a State.

  3. Rights are claims of the citizens against the State. 

  4. Rights are privileges of a few citizens against the many.

Answer: C

Ques 3: In the context of India, which one of the following is the correct relationship between Rights and Duties?

  1. Rights are correlative with Duties.

  2. Rights are personal and hence independent of society and Duties.

  3. Rights, not Duties, are important for the advancement of the personality of the citizen.

  4. Duties, not Rights, are important for the stability of the State.

Answer: A

Ques 4: Right to vote and to be elected in India is a

  1. Fundamental Right

  2. Natural Right

  3. Constitutional Right

  4. Legal Right

Answer: C

Ques 5: One of the implications of equality in society is the absence of

  1. Privileges

  2. Restraints

  3. Competition

  4. Ideology

Answer: A

This is a brief overview of the Fundamental Rights in India for the UPSC Civil Services Examination. This topic is extensively discussed in our General Studies course for UPSC Exam.

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