Friday, January 27th, 2023 03:31:49

Protection of human rights in India

By BB Harichandan
Updated: January 16, 2023 9:47 am

In order to live with dignity certain basic rights and freedoms are necessary, to which human beings are entitled and these basic rights are called human rights. Human rights demand recognition or respect for inherent dignity, ensure that everyone is protected against abuses, which undermines dignity, and give the opportunities they need to realize their full potential free from discrimination. Article 14 treats all people the same in the eyes of the law. The provision states that all citizens will be treated equally before the law. The law of the country protects everybody equally.

Article 21 hits the heart and soul of our Constitution. It emphasizes: Protection of life and personal liberty. No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. This fundamental right is available to every person, citizens and foreigners alike.

India, with all its plurality is today one the world’s largest successfully working democracies, as Indians are infused with the spirit of equality, and have a loktantrik-parampara, since the ancient Vedic times. Dharma, the religious and moral law governing individual conduct, originated from the Vedas, is a time immemorial concept that has been the core of Indian society, and it is one of the many sources of modern law that is shaping our society. The Constitution empowers the citizens by protecting their rights and the citizens empower the Constitution by adhering to their duties.

Since ancient times, the principles related to human rights have been well laid out in Hindu religious texts like the Bhagavad Gita and Vedas. They are also found in the religious principles of Buddhism and human rights also belong to everyone everywhere. Regardless of nationality, sexuality, gender, religion or age, the foundation of modern human rights is the universal declaration of human rights adopted in 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly. These have been integrated into national laws and international traditions.

A terrorist attack is not only an attack on an individual, but it is an attack on our sovereignty, unity and integrity. Several countries have promulgated anti-terrorism laws to strengthen national security, human rights and national sovereignty. While talking about this equality before law and equal protection of all the persons, the responsibility of the ruler or the government is to treat everybody equally and give them equal protection of law. And in violation of this right of equality, people are compelled to go to the higher courts for protection of their rights. But there are people, especially the downtown people of the society, the poor, the needy, and the persons who remain half starved or sleep without food at night. It is to be ensured that they get the equal protection under the law that they are treated equally like others because they have no means to approach the high court or the Supreme Court. Therefore, it is a great responsibility of the whole society, especially the conscious society to stand by them.

The right to freedom is a right that is guaranteed via Fundamental Rights under the Constitution of India. Fundamental Rights related to the right to freedom is contained in Article 19, whereas Articles 20, 21 and 22 contain the Fundamental Right related to personal liberty. I’d like to tell you about the promulgation of Emergency in 1975 because at that time there was an attempt to suppress human rights to have a dictatorial government and to murder democracy. Therefore, there was a great movement all over the country led by Jay Prakash Narayan. The movement is called Sampurna Kranti to save democracy in the country. Some advised the then prime minister that to control all powers in your own hand, control the judiciary because they have the right to question or they have the power to crush this. Therefore, find out how to control the judiciary, but it was unfortunate to suppress human rights. But the then prime minister tried to control the judiciary. In the Supreme Court then, three judges were superseded by a junior judge.   Therefore, advocates all over the country came to the street and questioned the government. They said that the independence of the judiciary should be maintained. The honour and dignity of the judiciary must be upheld. Otherwise, there is no democracy. The rights of the citizens cannot be protected. That was such a time.

Now, let’s go to the Mahabharata. In Mahabharata, when Lord Shri Krishna asked Arjuna to fight against the Kauravas. He was reluctant. He said how can he fight with all his brothers, guru and Pitamah? Then the Lord says he has to fight for protection of human rights. You have to protect Dharma and human rights come out of Dharma. And have you forgotten what happened to Empress Draupadi in the Kuru Raj Sabha. Duryodhan asked Dushasan that Draupadi should be stripped off in the Raj Sabha. Since she was lost in the gambling, shewas dasi. Is dasi not a woman and has no human right? Is dasi not a mother, not a sister, not a daughter? Therefore, the worst type of trampling of human rights has been done. Hence, the Lord said they all are sinners. There is no law, there is no Dharma and human rights are not protected. So, you fight against them. So that human rights are protected. So long as the entire society is not conscious enough to extend their hands of cooperation for this cause, human rights cannot be protected.

Now, what are the rewards of wars between the countries? In the first World War and the second World War, utter destruction of humanity was witnessed and human rights were suppressed. Economy was crippled. Now the world is witnessing a war between Russia and Ukraine. Here it is noteworthy that a dynamic role was played by India on the world stage under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His initiative to end the war between Russia and Ukraine by counselling restraint and dialogue between both the countries was welcomed by the world. Solution can be made by discussion. So, for protection of human rights, I think the entire human society should fight and protect the rights and save the entire humanity of the world.


By BB Harichandan

(The writer is Governor, Andhra Pradesh.)

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