JAC Board Class 9th Social Science Notes Civics Chapter 5 Democratic Rights
- A democratic government has to be periodically elected by the people in a free and fair manner.
- A democracy must be based on institutions that follow certain rules and porcedures.
- These elements are necessary but not sufficient for a democracy.
- Elections and institutions need to be combined with a third element-enjoyment of rights to make a government democratic.
- When the socially recognised claims (rights) are written into law in democracy they are called democratic rights.
- This chapter deals with democratic rights and their significance.
→ Life without rights
- The importance of rights can be judged by the one whose life has absence of rights.
- The following three examples state what it means to live in the absence of rights:
→ Prison in Goantanamo Bay
- About 600 people were secretly picked up by the United States of America’s forces from all over the world and put in a prison in Goantanamo Bay, near cuba.
- According to the American Government, they were enemies of the United State and linked to the attack on New york on 11th September, 2001,
- As a result, there was no trial before any magistrate in the United State, nor could these prisoners approach courts in their own country.
- Amnesty international, reported that the prisoners were being tortured in ways that violated the United States of America’s laws. Despite the provisions of international treaties, prisoners were being denied the treatment.
→ Citizens Rights in saudi Arabia
- Saudi Arabia is ruled over by a hereditary king and the people have no role in electing or changing their rulers.
- The king selects the legislature as well as the executive.
- He appoints the judges and can change any of their decisions.
- Citizens cannot form political parties or any political organisation
- Media cannot report anything that the monarch does not like.
- There is not freedom of religion. Every citizen is required to be muslim. Non-muslim residents can follow their religion in private, but not in public.
- Women are subjected to many public restrictions. The testimony of one man is considerd equal to that of two women.
→ Ethnic Massacre in Kosovo
- Kosovo was a province of yugoslavia before its split.
- In yugoslavia, serbs were in majority and Albanians were in minority.
- A democratically elected serb leader Slobodan milosevic wanted to dominate the country.
- Serbs thought that the albanians, (the ethnic minority group) should leave the country or accept the dominance of serbs.
→ Rights in a Democracy
- Everyone wants a system where at least a minimum asurance is guaranteed to all whether he/she is powerful or weak, rich or poor, majority or minority.
→ What are rights?
- Rights are reasonable claims of persons recognised in society and sanctioned by law.
→ Why do we need rights in a democracy?
- Rights are necessary for the very sustenance of a democracy.
- In a democracy, every citizen has the rights to vote and the rights to be elected to government.
- Rights protect minorities from the oppression of majority. They ensure that majority cannot do whatever it wishes to do.
→ Right in the Indian constitution
- Some rights which are fundamental to our life are given a special status in Indian constitution. They are called Fundamental Rights.
- Our constitution provides six fundamental rights.
→ Right to equality
- The constitution says that the government shall not deny the equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws to any person in India. 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.
- Right to equality 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.
- The government of India has provided reservation for scheduled castes (SCs), scheduled Tribes (STs) and other backward classes (OBCS). But these reservations are not against the right to equality.
- The constitution directs the government to put an end to the practice of untouchability. It is the extrerr 3 form of social discrimination.
→ Right to freedom
- Freedom mean absence of constraint. In practical life, it means absence of interference in our affairs h others be it other individuals or the government.
- Under the Indian constitution, all citizens have’the right to: (i) Freedom of speech and expression (ii) Assembly in a peaceful manner (iii) form associations, unions and cooperative societies (iv) Move freely throughout the country, (v) Reside in any part of the country (vi) practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.
- Freedom is not unlimited license to do what one wants. The government can impose certain reasonable restrictions on our freedom in the larger interests of the society.
→ Right Against Exploitation
- Constitution makers thought it is necessary to write down certain clear provisions to prevent exploitation of the weaker sections of the society.
- 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 or children, 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.
- Third the constitution prohibits child labour. No one can employ a child below the age of 14 to work in any factory or mine or any other hazardous work, such as railways and ports.
→ Right to Freedom of Religion
- Every person has right to profess, practice and propagate the religion he or she believes in.
- Every religious group or sect is free to manage its religious affairs. Freedom to propagate one’s religion, does not mean that a person has right to compl another person to convert into his religion by means of force, around inducement or allurement.
- India is a secular state. A secular state is one that does not establish any one religion as official religion. In India no privilege or favor is provided to any particular religion.
→ Cultural and Educational Right
- The following cultural and educational rights for minoritis are specified by our constitution.
- 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 grounds of religion or language
- All minorities have the right to establish and administer educational institution of their choice.
→ How can we secure these rights?
- The fundamental rights in the constitution are important because they are enforceable.
- We have a right to seek the enforcement of these mentioned rights. This is called the right to constitutional remedies.
- This right makes other rights effective when any of the fundamental rights are violated then citizen 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.
- The supreme court and high courts have the power to issue directions, order or writs for the enforcement of the fundamental rights.
- They can also award compensation to the victims and punishment to the violators.
- In case of any violation of fundamental right the aggrieved person can go to a court for remedy. But now, any person can go to court against the violation of the fundamental right. If it is of social or public interest, It is called public Interset litigation (PIL).
- Under the PIL any citizen or group of citizens can approach the supreme court or a high court for the protection of public interest against a particular law or action of the judges even on a postcard. The court will take up the matter if the judges find it in public interest against a particular court law or action of the government.
→ Expanding Scope of Rights
- From time to time the courts gave judgements of expand the scope of right, certain rights like right to freedom of press, sight to information and right to education are derived from the fundamental rights.
- According to the right to education every child has the right to get elementary education.
- According to right to information, any body can demand information regarding the functions of a government department or official.
- Constitution provides many rights which may not be fundamental right e.g. the right to property, right to vote in election are not fundamental rights but these are constitutional rights.
- Human rights are universal moral claims that may or may not have been recognised by laws.
- Some international covenants have contributed to the expansion of rights.
- The national human rights commission (NHIRC) focuses on helping the victims to secure their human rights.
- International covenant on Economic social and cultural right.
- The international covenant recognises many rights that are not directly a part of the fundamental rights in the Indian constitution.
- This has not yet become an international treaty but human right activists all over the world see, this as a standard of human rights. These include.
- Right to work i.e., opportunity to everyone to earn livelihood by working.
- Right to safe and healthy working conditions. Fair wages that can provide decent standard of living for the workers and their families.
- Right to adequate standard of living including adequate food, clothing and housing.
- Right to social security and insurance.
- Right to health i.e., medical care during illness, special care for woman during child birth and prevention of epidemics.
- Right to education i.e., free and compulsary primary education, equal access to higher education.
→ Amnesty International: An international organisation of volunteers who campaigns for human rights. This organisation brings out independent reports on the violation of human rights all over the world.
→ Ethnic group: An ethnic group is a human population whose members usually identify with each other on the basis of a common ancestry. People of an ethnic group are united by cultural practices, religious beliefs and historical memories.
→ Claim: Demand for legal or moral entitlements a person makes on fellow citizens, society or the government.
→ Dalit: A person who belongs to the castes which were considered low and not touchable by others. Dalits are also known by other names such as the scheduled castes, depressed classes etc.
→ Begar: It is a practice where a worker is forced to render service to the ‘master’ free of charge or at a nominal remuneration.
→ Traffic: Selling and buying of men, women or children for immoral purposes.
→ Writ: A formal document containing an order of the court to the government issued only by High Court or the Supreme Court.
→ Summon: An order issued by a court asking a person to appear before it.
→ Convenant: Promise made by the individuals, groups or countries to uphold a rule or principle. It is legally binding on the signatories to the agreement or statement.