Characteristics of Fundamental Rights

  • Some FRs are available only to citizens: Article 15, 16, 19, 29 and 30
  • Fundamental Rights are not absolute but qualified. Reasonable restrictions can be imposed on FRs. The reasonability of such restrictions is decided by the SC.
  • These rights strike a balance between the rights of the individual and those of the society as a whole, between individual liberty and social control
  • Most rights are available against the actions of the state but some are available against the actions of the private individuals too
  • Some FRs is negative in character while others are positive. Negative FRs entail limitations on the government, while positive FRs imposes an obligation on government to take measures.
  • FRs are justiciable in nature
  • FRs are defended and guaranteed by the constitution. Hence, an aggrieved party can approach the SC for any violation directly rather than by the way of appeal
  • Parliament can amend the provisions of the FRs by the way of a constitutional amendment act so long as they do not violate the basic structure of the Indian constitution
  • FRs can be suspended during the operation of a National Emergency except the rights guaranteed by Article 20 and 21. Additionally, FRs under Article 19 can be suspended only during the operation of emergency declared on the grounds of war or external aggression
  • The scope of FRs is limited by Article 31A, 31B and 31C
  • Parliament can restrict or abrogate the application of FR in the case of armed forces, para-military forces, police forces, intelligence agencies and analogous services
  • FR can be restricted while martial law is in force

Only Parliament can make a law for the enforcement of the FR