Federalism: This refers to the existence of more than one level of government in
the country. In India, we have governments at the state level and at the centre.
Panchayati Raj is the third tier of government. While each state in India enjoys
autonomy in exercising powers on certain issues, subjects of national concern
require that all of these states follow the laws of the central government. Under
federalism, the states are not merely agents of the federal government but draw
their authority from the Constitution as well. All persons in India are governed by
laws and policies made by each of these levels of government.
Parliamentary Form of Government: The different tiers of government consist
of representatives who are elected by the people. Constitution of India guarantees
universal adult suffrage for all citizens. The people of India have a direct role in
electing their representatives. Also, every citizen of the country, irrespective of
his/her social background, can also contest in elections.
Separation of Powers: According to the Constitution, there are three organs of
the State. These are the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. The legislature
refers to our elected representatives. The executive is a smaller group of people who
are responsible for implementing laws and running the government. The judiciary, refers to the system of courts in this country. In order to prevent the misuse of
power by any one branch of the State, the Constitution says that each of these
organs should exercise different powers. Through this, each organ acts as a check on
the other organs of the State and this ensures the balance of power between all
Fundamental Rights: The section on Fundamental Rights has often been
referred to as the ‘conscience’ of the Indian Constitution. Fundamental Rights,
protect citizens against the arbitrary and absolute exercise of power by the State.
The Constitution, thus, guarantees the rights of individuals against the State as well
as against other individuals. The Constitution, also guarantees the rights of
minorities against the majority.
In addition to Fundamental Rights, the Constitution also has a section called
Directive Principles of State Policy. This section was designed by the members of the
Constituent Assembly to ensure greater social and economic reform, and to serve as
a guide to the independent Indian State to institute laws and policies that help
reduce the poverty of the masses.
Secularism: A secular state is one in which the state does not officially promote
any one religion as the state religion.
The Constitution plays a crucial role in laying out the ideals that we would like all
citizens of the country to adhere to, including the representatives that we elect to
The Fundamental Rights in the Indian Constitution
Right to Equality: All persons are equal before the law. This means that all
persons shall be equally protected by the laws of the country. It also states that no
citizen can be discriminated against on the basis of their religion, caste or sex. Every
person has access to all public places including playgrounds, hotels, shops etc. The
State cannot discriminate against anyone in matters of employment. But there are
exceptions to this that you will read about later in this book. The practice of
untouchability has also been abolished.
Right to Freedom: This includes the right to freedom of speech and expression,
the right to form associations, the right to move freely and reside in any part of the
country, and the right to practice any profession, occupation or business.
Right against Exploitation: The Constitution prohibits trafficking, forced labour,
and children working under 14 years of age.
Right to Freedom of Religion: Religious freedom is provided to all citizens.
Every person has the right to practice, profess and propagate the religion of his / her
Cultural and Educational Rights: The Constitution states that all minorities,
religious or linguistic, can set up their own educational institutions in order to
preserve and develop their own culture.
Right to Constitutional Remedies: This allows citizens to move the court if they
believe that any of their Fundamental Rights have been violated by the State.