Human Rights and Fundamental Duties

Human Rights and Fundamental Duties

Ms. Jyotika Kalra begins the lecture by introducing ‘The Protection of Human Rights Act,1993’ which was legislated to provide for the constitution of a National Human Rights Commission, State Human Rights Commissions in States and Human Rights Courts for better protection of human rights and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. Human Rights include the right to life, liberty and dignity and hence it comes under the ambit of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. 5th June is observed as world environment day and hence, it was explained that Right to clean environment, safe drinking water, proper sanitation all comes under the Human Rights.

Human Rights are termed as negative rights as these rights are not any special rights but are the pre-requisites for the survival of the human being. Humans get access to human rights even from the time the child is inside the womb and not born yet. If a pregnant mother calls an ambulance and the ambulance arrives late or lacks proper medical equipment or staffs, this is the violation of human rights and actions can be taken against the person responsible. From the time of birth, every person has the Right to proper nutrition, Right to safe drinking water, Right to Education which is also a fundamental Right under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution. It was further noted that if a Police officer fails to register a cognizable offence, this is the violation of the human right and the police officer is liable under section 166 of Indian Penal Code,1860.

Speaker conveyed that the complaints can be registered in NHRC or the National Human Rights Commission via online ( or offline through posts or even by calling the helpline of NHRC. NHRC also visits to different states and take complaints with the help of govt. officials. NHRC can initiate disciplinary actions and even grant compensation to the victims but it doesn’t have the power to prosecute or punish individuals and hence sometimes it is also referred as a “toothless tiger”. NHRC also participate with different international bodies such as UNHRC, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, etc.

Later, the speaker explained the Article 51A of the Indian Constitution which deals with the fundamental duties. She explained each duty in details and suggested that clause (e), (g) and (h) are the most important duties. She concluded the session with a quote by DR. B.R. Ambedkar that the ultimate aim of one’s life should be the development of mind, wisdom, intelligence and thought process.

Ms Jyotika Kalra
Member NHRC

5th- 11th June , 2020
( Minutes of the Lecture is prepared by the Volunteers of Think India )