Essay Human Rights In India

Human rights in India is an issue complicated by the country's large size & population, widespread poverty, lack of proper education & its diverse culture, even though being the world's largest sovereign, secular, democratic republic. The Constitution of India provides for Fundamental rights, which include freedom of religion. Clauses also provide for freedom of speech, as well as separation of executive and judiciary and freedom of movement within the country and abroad. The country also has an independent judiciary[1][2] and well as bodies to look into issues of human rights.[3]

The 2016 report of Human Rights Watch accepts the above-mentioned faculties but goes to state that India has "serious human rights concerns. Civil society groups face harassment and government critics face intimidation and lawsuits. Free speech has come under attack both from the state and by interest groups. Muslim and Christian minorities accuse authorities of not doing enough to protect their rights. But in the recent years, more emphasis is given to minority rights & freedom of speech.The government is yet to repeal laws that grant public officials and security forces immunity from prosecution for abuses."[4][5]

Chronology of events regarding human rights in India[edit]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(December 2017)

1950The Constitution of India establishes a sovereign democratic republic with universal adult franchise. Part 3 of the Constitution contains a Bill of Fundamental Rights enforceable by the Supreme Court and the High Courts. It also provides for reservations for previously disadvantaged sections in education, employment and political representation.
1952Criminal Tribes Acts repealed by government, former "criminal tribes" categorized as "denotified" and Habitual Offenders Act (1952) enacted.
1955Reform of family law concerning Hindus gives more rights to Hindu women.

Untouchability offenses Act (1955).

1958Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958[6]
1973Supreme Court of India rules in Kesavananda Bharati case that the basic structure of the Constitution (including many fundamental rights) is unalterable by a constitutional amendment.
1975-1977State of Emergency in India
extensive rights violations take place.
1978SC rules in Menaka Gandhi v. Union of India that the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution cannot be suspended even in an emergency.
1978Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978[7][8]
1984Operation Blue Star and the subsequent 1984 Anti-Sikh riots
19842006 Extrajudicial disappearances in Punjab by the police
1985-1986The Shah Bano case, where the Supreme Court recognised the Muslim woman's right to maintenance upon divorce, sparks protests from Muslim clergy. To nullify the decision of the Supreme Court, the Rajiv Gandhi government enacted The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act 1986
1987Hashimpura massacre during communal riots in Meerut.
1989Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 is passed.
1989–presentKashmiri insurgency sees ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits, desecrating Hindu temples, killing of Hindus and Sikhs, and abductions of foreign tourists and government functionaries. (See: Ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Hindus)
1992A constitutional amendment establishes Local Self-Government (Panchayati Raj) as a third tier of governance at the village level, with one-third of the seats reserved for women. Reservations were provided for scheduled castes and tribes as well.
1992Demolition of the Babri Masjid occurred after a political rally at the site turned violent.
1993National Human Rights Commission is established under the Protection of Human Rights Act.
2001Supreme Court passes extensive orders to implement the right to food.[9]
20022002 Gujarat riots which claimed at least thousand lives of Muslims and Hindus.
2005A powerful Right to Information Act is passed to give citizen's access to information held by public authorities.[10]
2005National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) guarantees universal right to employment.
2006Supreme Court orders police reforms in response to the poor human rights record of Indian police.[11]
2009Delhi High Court declares that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which outlaws a range of unspecified "unnatural" sex acts, is unconstitutional when applied to homosexual acts between private consenting individuals, effectively decriminalising homosexual relationships in India.[12] See also: Homosexuality in India.
2013Criminal Law (Amendment) Act was passed by the Lok Sabha on 19 March 2013, and by the Rajya Sabha on 21 March 2013, which provides for amendment of Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act, and Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 on laws related to sexual offences.
2015Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act was passed by both the Houses of the Parliament. This act aims to curb black money, or undisclosed foreign assets and income and imposes tax and penalty on such income.

Use of torture by police[edit]

The Asian Centre for Human Rights estimated that from 2002 to 2008, over four people per day died while in police custody, with "hundreds" of those deaths being due to police use of torture.[13] According to a report written by the Institute of Correctional Administration in Punjab, up to 50% of police officers in the country have used physical or mental abuse on prisoners.[14] Instances of torture, such as through a lack of sanitation, space, or water have been documented in West Bengal as well. [15]

Religious violence[edit]

Main article: Religious violence in India

Communal conflicts between religious groups (mostly between Hindus and Muslims) have been prevalent in India since around the time of its independence from British Rule. Among the oldest incidences of communal violence in India was the Moplah rebellion, when Militant Islamists massacred Hindus in Kerala. Communal riots took place during the partition of India between Hindus/Sikhs and Muslims where large numbers of people were killed in large-scale violence.

The 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots was a four-day period during which Sikhs were massacred by members of the secular-centrist Congress Party of India; some estimates state that more than 2,000 were killed. </ref>[[16] Other incidents include the 1987 Hashimpura massacre during communal riots in Meerut, 1992 Bombay Riots. The killing was supposedly done at the behest of Congress leaders such as Jagdish Tytler. Congress Party officials provided assailants with voter lists, school registration forms, and ration lists. Nanavati Commission also found out that several Congress leaders were behind this lynching. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh apologized in the Loksabha for the involvement of Congress stalwarts in the Lok Sabha.[17] According to the 2011 WikiLeaks cable leaks, the United States was convinced of Indian National Congress complicity in the riots and called it "opportunism" and "hatred" by the Congress government of Sikhs.[18]

According to official figures, 2002 Gujarat riots ended with 1,044 dead, 223 missing, and 2,500 injured. Of the dead, 790 were Muslim and 254 Hindu.[19][20] Unofficial sources estimate that up to 2,000 people died.[21] There were instances of rape, children being burned alive, and widespread looting and destruction of property. The Chief Minister at that time, Narendra Modi, has been accused of initiating and condoning the violence, as have police and government officials who allegedly directed the rioters and gave lists of Muslim-owned properties to them. However, Narendra Modi was acquitted of such charges by none less than the honorable Supreme Court of India. The incident that resulted in the riots was the Muslim mob attack on a train full of Hindu pilgrims in the Godhra Train Burning, where 58 Hindus were killed.[22]

Lesser incidents plague many towns and villages; representative was the killing of five people in Mau, Uttar Pradesh during Hindu-Muslim rioting, which was triggered by the proposed celebration of a Hindu festival.[22] Other such communal incidents include the 2002 Marad massacre, which was carried out by the militant Islamist group National Development Front, as well as communal riots in Tamil Nadu executed by the Islamist Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazagham against Hindus.

Caste related issues[edit]

Main articles: Caste system in India, Caste politics in India, and Caste-related violence in India

Contemporary India, however, has seen the influence of caste start to decline. This is partly due to the spread of education to all castes which has had a democratising effect on the political system. However, this "equalising" of the playing field has not been without controversy. The Mandal Commission and its quotas system has been a particularly sensitive issue. It has been argued by Professor Dipankar Gupta that the role of castes in Indian elections have been overplayed.[23]

More recently there has been a flux in caste politics, mainly caused by economic liberalisation in India. This upsurge in lower-caste empowerment was accompanied in some regions by a spike in the level of corruption.[24] This was partly due to lower caste perceiving development programs and rule of law as tools used by the upper caste to subjugate lower castes.[25]

Amnesty International says "it is the responsibility of the Indian government to fully enact and apply its legal provisions against discrimination on the basis of caste and descent.[26]

Denotified tribes of India, along with many nomadic tribes collectively 60 million in population, continue to face social stigma and economic hardships, despite the fact Criminal Tribes Act 1871, was repealed by the government in 1952 and replaced by Habitual Offenders Act (HOA) (1952), as effectively it only created a new list out of the old list of so-called "criminal tribes. These tribes even today face the consequences of the 'Prevention of Anti-Social Activity Act' (PASA), which only adds to their everyday struggle for existence as most of them live below poverty line. National Human Rights Commission and UN's anti-discrimination body Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) have asked the government to repeal this law as well, as these former "criminalised" tribes continue to suffer oppression and social ostracization at large and many have been denied SC, ST or OBC status, denying them access to reservations which would elevated their economic and social status.[27][28][29]

Freedom of expression[edit]

Main article: Freedom of expression in India

According to the estimates of Reporters Without Borders, India ranks 122nd worldwide in 2010 on the press freedom index (down from 105th in 2009). The press freedom index for India is 38.75 in 2010 (29.33 for 2009) on a scale that runs from 0 (most free) to 105 (least free).[30][31] In 2014 India was down ranked to 140th worldwide (score of 40.34 out of 105) but despite this remains one of the best scores in the region.[32]

The Indian Constitution, while not mentioning the word "press", provides for "the right to freedom of speech and expression" (Article 19(1) a). However this right is subject to restrictions under subclause (2), whereby this freedom can be restricted for reasons of "sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, preserving decency, preserving morality, in relation to contempt of court, defamation, or incitement to an offence". Laws such as the Official Secrets Act and Prevention of Terrorism Act[33] (POTA) have been used to limit press freedom. Under POTA, person could be detained for up to six months before the police were required to bring charges on allegations for terrorism-related offenses. POTA was repealed in 2004, but was replaced by amendments to UAPA.[34] The Official Secrets Act 1923 is abolished after right to information act 2005

For the first half-century of independence, media control by the state was the major constraint on press freedom. Indira Gandhi famously stated in 1975 that All India Radio is "a Government organ, it is going to remain a Government organ..."[35]

With the liberalisation starting in the 1990s, private control of media has burgeoned, leading to increasing independence and greater scrutiny of government.

Organisations like Tehelka and NDTV have been particularly influential, in bringing about the resignation of powerful Haryana minister Venod Sharma. In addition, laws like Prasar Bharati act passed in recent years contribute significantly to reducing the control of the press by the government.

LGBT rights[edit]

Main article: LGBT rights in India

Until the Delhi High Court decriminalised consensual private sexual acts between consenting adults on 2 July 2009,[12] homosexuality was considered criminal as per interpretations of the ambiguous Section 377 of the 150-year-old Indian Penal Code (IPC), a law passed by the colonial British authorities. However, this law was very rarely enforced.[36] In its ruling decriminalising homosexuality, the Delhi High Court noted that existed law conflicted with the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India, and such criminalising is violative of Articles 21, 14 and 15 of the Constitution.[37]

On 11 December 2013, homosexuality was again criminalized by a Supreme Court ruling.[38]

By state[edit]

Punjab[edit]

Main article: Human rights abuses in Punjab, India

From 1984 to 1994, the state of Punjab in northern India was engaged in a power struggle between the militant secessionist Khalistan movement and Indian security forces.[39] The Indian government responded to the escalating Punjab insurgency by launching Operation Blue Star in 1984, storming the Harmandir Sahib, or Golden Temple complex in Amritsar—the center of Sikh religious and spiritual life, where some militant groups had retreated. The Operation was controversial and resulted in death of hundreds of civilians, militants and soldiers. After this incident, Sikh bodyguards assassinated Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, further violence ensued.[40]

The aftermath of these events were felt for more than a decade.[41] According to a Human Rights Watch report, state security forces adopted “increasingly brutal methods to stem the insurgency, including arbitrary arrests, torture, prolonged detention without trial, disappearances and summary killings of civilians and suspected militants”.[39] Militant organizations responded with increased violence aimed at civilians, state security forces, and Sikh political leaders deemed to be negotiating with the government.[39]

Jammu and Kashmir[edit]

Main articles: Ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Hindus and Human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir

Several international agencies and the UN have reported human rights violations in Indian-administered Kashmir. In a press release the OHCHR spokesmen stated "The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is concerned about the recent violent protests in Indian-administered Kashmir that have reportedly led to civilian casualties as well as restrictions to the right to freedom of assembly and expression.".[42] A 1996 Human Rights Watch report accuses the Indian military and Indian-government backed paramilitaries of "committ[ing] serious and widespread human rights violations in Kashmir."[43] One such alleged massacre occurred on 6 January 1993 in the town of Sopore. The Human Rights Watch also wrote of other regular human rights abuses being committed by the Indian forces including "using rape as a means to punish and humiliate communities".[44]TIME Magazine described the incident as such: "In retaliation for the killing of one soldier, paramilitary forces rampaged through Sopore's market setting buildings ablaze and shooting bystanders. The Indian government pronounced the event 'unfortunate' and claimed that an ammunition dump had been hit by gunfire, setting off fires that killed most of the victims."[45] In addition to this, there have been claims of disappearances by the police or the army in Kashmir by several human rights organisations.[46][47]

Many human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch (HRW) have condemned human rights abuses in Kashmir by Indians such as "extra-judicial executions", "disappearances", and torture;[48] the "Armed Forces Special Powers Act", (AFSPA) which "provides impunity for human rights abuses and fuels cycles of violence. The AFSPA grants the military wide powers of arrest, the right to shoot to kill, and to occupy or destroy property in counterinsurgency operations. Indian officials claim that troops need such powers because the army is only deployed when national security is at serious risk from armed combatants. Such circumstances, they say, call for extraordinary measures." Human rights organisations have also asked Indian government to repeal[6] the Public Safety Act, since "a detainee may be held in administrative detention for a maximum of two years without a court order.".[49] One 2008 report determined that Indian Administered Kashmir, was 'partly Free',[50]

Other Human Rights Violations[edit]

Conflicts such as Anti-Bihari sentiment have sometimes escalated to violence between communal groups, despite government and police efforts to mediate the situation.[citation needed]

Invasive methods like 'narcoanalysis' (controlled anaesthesia), Brain mapping, and lie detector tests were once commonly permitted by Indian courts for crime investigation. Even though according to Indian constitution "nobody may be made a witness against himself".[citation needed]

Concerns regarding human rights violations in conducting deception detection tests (DDT)s were raised long back and the National Human Rights Commission of India had published Guidelines in 2000 for the Administration of Polygraph tests. However, only few of the investigating agencies were seen to follow these guidelines.[51]

However, on May 5, 2010 the Supreme Court in India (Smt. Selvi vs. State of Karnataka) declared brain mapping, lie detector tests and narcoanalysis to be unconstitutional, violating Article 20 (3) of Fundamental Rights. These techniques cannot be conducted forcefully on any individual and requires consent for the same. When they are conducted with consent, the material so obtained is regarded as evidence during trial of cases according to Section 27 of the Evidence Act.[51]

Inadequate investigation and hasty rulings by courts have caused some wrongful convictions of innocent people causing them to languish in jail for many years. For instance, the Bombay high court in September 2009 asked the Maharashtra government to pay ₹ 100,000 as compensation to a 40-year-old man who languished in prison for over 10 years for a crime he didn't commit.[citation needed]

Muslim Woman’s Rights in India[edit]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(April 2015)

One of the vital concerns in India is the non-discrimination between genders.[52]Muslim Woman in India are one of the major groups deprived of their equality within the Human rights framework.[53] Their hardship has derived from cultural and religious reasons.[53][53] This includes being negatively stereotyped within religion, incorporating both Muslim and even Judaic-Christian beliefs.[53] This also includes male interpretations of the Quran.[53] Where the functions of a woman concerning family matters are seen as less than half, according to hijab, then that of their male counterparts.[54]

Brief history of Muslim Law in India[edit]

Muslim law in South Asia is different from Islamic law of Sharia.[55] Shariat law (shari’a or fiqh) law is seen as a body of religious rules that are set out to manage the lives, in all aspects, of every Muslim.[56] However, in India there are only a few of these laws that are enforced.[56] This is due to India’s laws having been modified by traditional English common law and equitable principles since the beginning of the British imperialist regime.[56] It is now called Anglo-Muhammadan law.[56] Although Islamic law is sacred, due to modern political and social developments sacred interpretation of classic Islamic law’s in India have changed in response to societal requirements.[56]

The Constitution of India outlines the Fundamental rights in India to equality under Article 14.[57] Article 15 covers freedom from discrimination which includes that of gender equality. However, Article 25 justifies the freedom of religion which safeguards the religious rights of Muslim communities, in turn Muslim Personal Law, which is discriminatory between Muslim men and woman.[57] The continuance of discrimination within Muslim personal law contravenes that set out in India’s constitution, notably articles 14 and 15.[58]

Personal law and inequality[edit]

Even though there is formal recognition of rights within the constitution, Muslim women experience gender in-equalities in practice within the sphere of personal law.[59] Personal law enables the continuing practice of giving a lower status to Muslim women in India. Which raises the need for legal reform.[60] This is hard to achieve because often uniformity of family laws are often upheld by staunch supporters of religious traditions, who will ensure that all efforts to keep traditional Muslim practices within the conformity of Islamic ideals.[54] The courts will also favor to not let constitutional rights intrude in personal law.[61] In the High Court case Harvinder Kaur v. Harmander Singh Choudhary, it was rejected that personal law was discriminatory towards Gender inequality in India and stated that the “…introduction of Constitutional law into the home is most inappropriate”.[62] Essentially depriving all woman in India the fundamental rights within the constitution.[63] Personal law discrimination was on the other hand was positively recognized in the case of Amina (Case Law: Amina v/s Unknown. AIR 1992), here the court noted that Muslim personal law is discriminatory towards Muslim women, and as such is unconstitutional.[64]

Islamic law does however provide for certain rights.[60] One example can be seen within a matrimonial deed, or Nikahnama.[54] A Nikahnama can cover certain rights which pertain to polygamy and the woman’s right to enforce a divorce proceeding.[54] This could even include shares in property rights.[65] Muslim law for financial support due to divorcement has been codified In the Muslim Women’s (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act 1986.[66] Nevertheless, these rights remain minimal. For example, the divorced wife can only receive three months of financial support.[67] Also the husband of the divorced wife only has to pay child support for 3 months if that child is born within the three-month period, but if they had a child before that then the husband is not obligated to pay any support.[67] Woman’s rights in these matters are often not practiced due to Muslim women’s lack of education toward their rights within the Islamic community.[68] Also Muslim woman in India are not protected when it comes to monogamous marriages, but Muslim men are, protected under the Indian Penal Code.[69]

The Human Rights Commission (HRC) under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICPPR) highlighted religious based personal laws In India’s report in 1997.[70] It was informed that the Human Rights framework towards multiculturalism should be a remedy when addressing clearly biased provisions and practices towards Muslim women in Islamic legal community.[71]

Muslim woman and Education[edit]

Muslim women are often discriminated against due to their lower achievements within the sphere of education, employment and their general economic position.[71] This is because traditionally Muslim woman are discriminately excluded from participating within the public and private sector.[71]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^http://www.freepressjournal.in/hands-off-supreme-court-tells-govt-reaffirming-its-primacy-in-judicial-appointments/743321
  2. ^http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/no-worry-till-judiciarys-independence-is-maintained-chief-justice-of-india-1251654
  3. ^http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/act-in-block-grant-teachers-issue-nhrc-to-ohrc.html
  4. ^"India". Retrieved 2016-08-02. 
  5. ^"India". 2016-01-08. Retrieved 2016-08-02. 
  6. ^ ab"India: Repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Law Provides Impunity for Human Rights Abuses, Fuels Cycles of Violence", Human Rights Watch, 21 November 2007
  7. ^"India: The Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act- a threat to human rights", AI Index ASA 20/019/2000, Amnesty International, 15 May 2000
  8. ^"Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978 (Act No. 6 of 1978)", nyaaya.in
  9. ^Right to Food Campaign
  10. ^National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI)
  11. ^Police Reforms ordered by Supreme Court
  12. ^ abMitta, Manoj; Singh, Smriti (3 July 2009). "India decriminalises gay sex". The Times of India. 
  13. ^"Hundreds die of torture in India every year - report". Reuters. 25 June 2008. 
  14. ^Malik, Saurabh. "Torture main reason of death in police custody". The Tribune. Archived from the original on 3 March 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  15. ^Custodial deaths in West Bengal and India's refusal to ratify the Convention against TortureAsian Human Rights Commission 26 February 2004
  16. ^Nichols, B (2003). "The Politics of Assassination: Case Studies and Analysis"(PDF). Australasian Political Studies Association Conference. 
  17. ^http://www.mha.nic.in/hindi/sites/upload_files/mhahindi/files/pdf/Nanavati-I_eng.pdf
  18. ^"US saw Cong hand in Sikh massacre, reveal Wiki leaks". The Times of India. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  19. ^"Gujarat riot death toll revealed". BBC. 11 May 2005. 
  20. ^Ganguly, Meenakshi. "India: A Decade on, Gujarat Justice Incomplete". Human Rights Watch. 
  21. ^Jaffrelot, Christophe (July 2003). "Communal Riots in Gujarat: The State at Risk?"(PDF). Heidelberg Papers in South Asian and Comparative Politics: 16. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  22. ^ abHuman Rights Watch 2006, p. 265.
  23. ^The caste bogey in election analysis, Dipankar Gupta, March 21, 2014
  24. ^"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 August 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2016. 
  25. ^[1]
  26. ^"India's Unfinished Agenda: Equality and Justice for 200 Million Victims of the Caste System". 2005. 
  27. ^Meena Radhakrishna (16 July 2006). "Dishonoured by history". The Hindu. folio: Special issue with the Sunday Magazine. Archived from the original on 6 July 2007. Retrieved 31 May 2007. 
  28. ^Repeal the Habitual Offenders Act and affectively rehabilitate the denotified tribes, UN to IndiaAsian Tribune, Mon, 19 March 2007.
  29. ^Suspects forever: Members of the "denotified tribes" continue to bear the brunt of police brutalityArchived 2 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Frontline, The Hindu, Volume 19 – Issue 12, 8–21 June 2002.
  30. ^"Press Freedom Index 2010"Archived 21 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine., Reporters Without Borders
  31. ^"Press Freedom Index 2009"Archived 30 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine., Reporters Without Borders
  32. ^"Press Freedom Index 2014"Archived 14 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine., Reporters Without Borders
  33. ^"The Prevention of Terrorism Act 2002". 
  34. ^Kalhan, Anil; et al. (2006). "Colonial Continuities: Human Rights, Antiterrorism, and Security Laws in India". 20 Colum. J. Asian L. 93. SSRN 970503. 
  35. ^<Please add first missing authors to populate metadata.> (July 1982). "Freedom of the Press". PUCL Bulletin. People's Union for Civil Liberties. 
  36. ^Letter to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh On the arrest of four men on charges of homosexual conduct in Lucknow letter by Scott Long, director of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Programme at Human Rights Watch
  37. ^"http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/photo.cms". Times of India. Archived from the original on 27 April 2016. 
  38. ^SHYAMANTHA, ASOKAN (11 December 2013). "India's Supreme Court turns the clock back with gay sex ban". Reuters. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  39. ^ abcPunjab in Crisis: Human Rights in India(PDF). Human Rights Watch. 1990. 
  40. ^Kaur, Jaskaran (2004). Twenty Years of Impunity: The November 1984 Pogroms of Sikhs in India. Ensaaf.
A soldier guards the roadside checkpoint outside Srinagar International Airport in January 2006.
A young Muslim woman in India is depicted here, in the Thar desert, located near Jaisalmer, India.

 

HUMAN RIGHTS

Synopsis: Every human being is entitled to human rights such as right to live and exist, right to freedom, freedom from exploitation, equality before law, to have adequate standard of living etc. The UN adopted Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Rights have their corresponding duties. Human rights presuppose a rule of law and equality. Violation of human rights is very common among totalitarian, theocratic, despotic states tec. Women, children and weaker sections f the society are often victims of discrimination and violation of human rights. Deaths in police custody, sex-apartheid, child-abuse, political killings are very common which have very much degraded the quality of human life. Violation and denial of human rights by states is very dangerous and often gives to revolutions. Violence against women is most pervasive. It needs to be tackled effectively. The massive violation of human rights throughout the world is a matter of great shame for the entire humanity.

            Human rights are the rights to which an individual has a just right as a human being. Men, women and children collectively and individually have these by virtue of their birth as human beings. For the sake of convenience, human rights have been put into two categories: natural rights and civil rights. Under natural rights come such rights as right to live and exist and sustain life with food, shelter, clothing etc. Freedom from torture, cruelty and slavery, freedom of movement, the right to marry and have a family, freedom of thought and conscience and faith are some other fundamental natural rights. Right to work, freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, right to a fair trial, equality before law, the right to a nationality, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, to have adequate standards of living, freedom from exploitation and discrimination, right to participate in elections etc. are important civil rights.

 

            The UN General Assembly adopted Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The Declaration recognized the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family. This Charter of Human Rights was mostly drafted by Rene Cassin, Noble Peace Prize winner of 1968. The Charter urged the right to political, economic social and cultural self-determination; the right to peace; the right to live in a healthful environment; and the right to share in the Earth’s resources. It pledged the rights to life, liberty and security of a person –the basic human rights. Although these rights are not later on ratified by a couple of international conventions. Then there are political rights which entitle a person to contest an election and to vote freely, without any fear for a candidate of his or her choice.

 

            Human rights and their implementation, practice and protection are a benchmark of a truly developed, civilized and democratic society. In a democracy people enjoy the maximum number of human rights. But rights and duties go together. The human rights have their corresponding human duties. They are two aspects of a same coin, Liberty never means license. Human rights pre-suppose a rule of law where all the citizens follow a code of conduct and behaviour for the good of all irrespective of caste, creed, religion, sex, social status, region etc. It is the sense of duty, tolerance, mutual participation that lends meaning and sense to the rights. Rights have their existence on the principle of live and let live. For example, my right to speech and expression involves my duty to all others to enjoy the same of freedom of speech and expression. Human rights and human duties are inextricably inter-linked and interdependent. My rights become maintained between the two. Whenever there is an imbalance, there is violence of human rights leading to disturbance and chaos. Rights cannot survive without their corresponding obligations and duties.

 

            Violation and denial of human rights are very common in totalitarian and despotic States. In theocratic States there is much persecution in the name of religion and the minorities and women suffer the most as we see in many fundamentalist Muslim countries. The women, children and the weaker sections of the society are victims of these transgressions, and violence.

 

            The UN commission on Human Rights is mainly concerned in protecting and promoting human rights and freedom of the people of the world. In its various sessions held from time to time in Geneva, it adopts various measures to encourage worldwide observations of these basic human rights and freedoms. It calls on its members to give information regarding measures complied with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights whenever there is a complaint of violation of these rights. Then there are many voluntary human rights organisations throughout the length and breadth of the world but in most of the cases, they become a mere instrument of cheap publicity, propaganda, personal gains, popularity etc. in the hands of vested interests. For example, in India itself the Kashmiri Pandits etc. have been subject to terrorism, loot, rape, killings and displacement for many years but no human rights organisation has come forward to give voice to their sufferings or to protect their human rights. Similarly, in the western countries there prevail all sorts of discrimination and violation of human rights. In the U.S. churches of the black are being burnt and they are persecuted. In Pakistan and Afghanistan, women are being denied their basic rights and freedoms. They are flogged and stoned to death publicity without any fair judicial trial on false and fabricated charges. They cannot marry men of their choice or seek an employment. In Cambodia under the dictatorship of Pol Pot of Khmer Rouge, millions of people were massacred systematically and nothing was done to check it or punish the men responsible for this mass genocide.

 

            People and political parties talk of human rights but in practice there are flagrant violations of them. Death in police custody and fake encounters is an example of such violations. The police often take the law in their own hands and kill the so-called criminals instead of subjecting them to due process of law. No Investigations are held as to whether the deceased had committed any offence. In the capital city of Delhi, the police shot dead two innocent businessmen and seriously wounded their companion and then placed a revolver etc in their car to prove it an encounter. The violation of human rights by the police, the very protectors of law and order, are too numerous to cunt. They harass, maltreat, humiliate, tyrannize and lacerate and people in the name of interrogation and investigation.

 

            In China, a Communist State, the denial and transgression of human rights are too many frequent. It is estimated that in the year 995-96 itself 3,500 people were executed under the so-called strike-hard anti-crime campaign, which is being continued vigorously. In Tibet the followers of Dalai Lama are being persecuted for many years. Similarly, the Xinjinang, the autonomous region, the followers of Islam are tortured and harassed. In 1989, thousands of people were killed and 10,000 people, mostly students, were shot dead in Tiananmen Square, outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing because they staged a demonstration for their democratic rights and freedoms. These examples of flagrant violations of human rights are just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. The actual violation of human rights is on far more vast scale throughout the world. Women, children, weaker sections of the societies, minorities and other ethnic groups are the common victims of such violations.

 

            Till recently in South Africa apartheid was being practiced, the native Africans were denied their just and legitimate human rights. Then there are other forms of apartheid being blatantly practiced worldwide. In Myanmar (Burma) there prevails terrorism and military dictatorship and the masses are being denied their basic democratic rights. Sex-apartheid is most rampant. Women are subject to various kinds of abuses and exploitations. The children too are being abused and exploited. Sexually they are assaulted and exploited, sold and bounded for labour. Their limbs are sometimes amputated to make them earn for the mafias as beggars.

 

            Thus, the present state of affairs in respect of human rights is disappointing. Their denial, curtailment and violation have further degraded the quality of human life. Human rights may be reshaped and redefined to some extent according to the political needs but they should not be distorted out of shape. Such tendencies are totalitarian, inhuman and savage and should be resisted. The awareness of the sanctity of human rights and basic freedoms should be spread to more and more people of the world. They should be united into very effective case of transgression and violation of human rights, the individuals should be compensated suitably and it should be ensured that these are not repeated.

 

            Violation of human rights gives rise to various other evils such as terrorism, extremism, alienation, frustration, separatism, etc. In many cases, the governments controlled by self-seeking, over ambitious and narrow-minded people use repressive, unconstitutional and savage means and spread violence and terror to command the obedience from the masses. But State terrorism, violence, transgression of people’s rights is a very dangerous strategy and often boomerangs. In the background of all world revolutions there has been this strategy. Whenever there has been systematic and widespread State persecution and violation of human rights, there broke out rebellions and revolutions and history repeats itself.

 

            Half the world is that of women and yet the violence against them may be the most pervasive and least recognized human rights abuse in the world. Gender violence, sexual harassment, discrimination, denial of economic, sexual and reproductive rights etc. are in practice unlimited. The remedy lies in widespread legal reforms, better enforcement of existing laws, new procedures to document violations, education about human rights and close alliance between organisations concerned with their rights. According to a U.N. report the cases of rape are on the rise and in courts rape victims are often stigmatized and their testimony and integrity impugned.

 

            Child prostitution, dowry deaths and dowry-related crimes are other areas of concern. In India thousands of women die because of dowry-related crimes. Girl-children are often held in bondage in brothels. The marked preference for boys over girls, sex selective abortions etc. are also matters of much concern and should be effectively tackled. These massive violations of human rights, taking place across the world, are a great stain on the face of entire humanity.

 

Essay No. 2

 

Human Rights

Human rights are those rights which are fundamental for the human life. These rights recognize the basic human needs and demands. It is expected that every civilized state will incorporate these rights in its constitution and try to ensure that its citizens enjoy them. In the present day, world there is a lot of concern about the protection of human rights. The United Nations has adopted a Charter of Human Right and it asks the governments to respect these rights of their citizens. The Universal Declaration Human Rights , which the UN adopted on 10 December , 1948 enumerates some important basic rights of humans. These are right to life, liberty and security of person, right to freedom of speech , judicial remedy, freedom to movement, right to take part in the governance of one’s country. The second type of rights are economic and social rights. The rights included in this groups are also very important. These are : all members should have the right to work, to have a good standard of living, right to rest and leisure, right to education and equal pay for equal work. The UN has taken a great deal of interest in the abolition of discrimination against women. One of the most serious cases of violations of human rights is the case of racial discrimination.

The problem about human rights varies from society to society. In some societies, political and civil rights are not given or guaranteed to all its citizens. In other societies, economic and social rights are not enforced. The importance of the human rights movement is that it tells people that one cannot call as society a good and a just society until all its citizens enjoy these human rights. The basic idea behind human rights is that human beings should try to end all kinds of unjust discrimination. On the basis of most unjust discrimination is the discrimination on the basis of race. South Africa, for example had for quite some time practiced a policy called Apartheid. It meant that the black people, who were in majority in South Africa had no political rights. The country was ruled by a minority regime of whites. The UN passed resolution to condemn its racist policy. Most countries of the non-aligned movement including India, did not have diplomatic relations with South Africa.

Fortunately South Africa after a long struggle has undergone a significant change. For the first time in its history the people of South Africa have an elected Black President, and political rights have been extended to all the people of South Africa irrespective of race, colour and creed.

There are many cases of violation of human rights in different parts of the world. For the prosperity and happiness of human beings every nation must create such conditions in which the Human Rights are ensured to its citizens. We are lucky. We have democracy. India beings democratic country, provides such rights to its citizens and allow them freedom of expression. These rights, which are called ‘Fundamental Rights’ form an important part of the Constitution of India.

These rights are fundamental in three different easy. Firstly, these are basic human rights. As human beings we have the right to enjoy these rights. Secondly, the Constitution gives us these rights and guarantees them because it believes that these rights are necessary if citizens are to act properly and live democratically. Thirdly , effective procedure for  the enforcement  of these Fundamental Rights have been guaranteed in the Constitution itself.  A citizen ahs the right to go to the court of law if she/ he is denied these rights. The Constitution is there to safeguard her/ his rights.

The constitution guarantees to us six Fundamental Rights. The six Fundamental Rights as mentioned in our Constitution are :

i)Right to Equality ii) Right to Freedom iii) Right Against Exploitation iv) Right to Freedom of Religion v) Cultural and Educational Rights vi) Right to Constitutional Remedies.

There are many cases of violation of human right in different countries of the world. There can be no permanent and regular prosperity of human beings unless every country or nation creates such conditions in which human rights are enjoyed by its natives                  

November 5, 2015evirtualguru_ajaygour10th Class, 9th Class, Class 11, Class 12, English (Sr. Secondary), English 12, Languages2 CommentsEnglish, English 10, English 12, English Essay Class 10 & 12

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