Know Your Rights

This section intends to inform and educate you on various rights and entitlements guaranteed under Indian Constitution and Indian Law. Some of the important rights are elaborated below having downloading facility of various booklets of respective rights published by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Govt. of India. Hope these information will help you to exercise your rights.

Child Rights

Article 21- A of Constitution of India States; 'The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 6-14 years in such manner as the State may by law determine.' Further, Children's Right to Education under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 provides that, all children between the ages of six and 14 shall have the right to free and compulsory elementary education at a neighbourhood school.

Article 23 (1) states; 'Traffic in human beings, beggary and other similar forms of forced labour are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.'

According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Children - that India ratified on December 11, 1992 - all children are born with fundamental rights.

  • Right to Survival - to life, health, nutrition, name, nationality.
  • Right to Development - to education, care, leisure, recreation, cultural activities.
  • Right to Protection - from exploitation, abuse, neglect.
  • Right to Participation - to expression, information, thought, religion.

India is a party to the UN declaration on the Rights of the Child 1959. Accordingly, it adopted a National Policy on Children in 1974. The policy reaffirmed the constitutional provisions for adequate services to children, both before and after birth and through the period of growth to ensure their full physical, mental and social development. To know more details about the constitutional & legal regime with reference to the child labour in India, please click here to download the booklet published by NHRC, Govt. of India.

Forest Rights

The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 is a result of the protracted struggle by the marginal and tribal communities of our country to assert their rights over the forestland over which they were traditionally dependent. This Act is crucial to the rights of millions of tribals and other forest dwellers in different parts of our country as it provides for the restitution of deprived forest rights across India, including both individual rights to cultivated land in forestland and community rights over common property resources. The notification of Rules for the implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 on 1st Jan 2008, has finally paved the way to undo the 'historic injustice' done to the tribals and other forest dwellers.

Right to Work

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) enacted by on 25 August 2005 provides a legal guarantee for at least one hundred days (120) of employment in every financial year to adult members of any household willing to do public work-related unskilled manual work at the statutory minimum wage per day. The MGNREGA aims at enhancing the livelihood security of people in rural areas by guaranteeing hundred days of wage-employment in a financial year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.

To know more details about the constitutional & legal regime with reference to Right to Work in India, please click here to download the booklet published by NHRC, Govt. of India.

Rights on Natural Resources

Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 or PESA is enacted by Government of India to cover the "Scheduled areas", which are not covered in the 73rd amendment or Panchayati Raj Act of Indian Constitution. It was enacted on 24 December 1996 to enable Gram Sabhas to self govern their natural resources. It is an Act to provide for the extension of the provisions of Part IX of the Constitution relating to the Panchayats to the Scheduled Areas.

Rights of Persons with Disabilities

It goes without saying that persons with disabilities constitute a part of the larger human family. This explains why they are as much entitled to the full range of human rights and fundamental freedoms like any other section of society.

Unfortunately, persons with disabilities are routinely subjected to all forms of discrimination, denial, and deprivation of rights with the result that they are often marginalized and excluded and are made to live in a state of relative invisibility, disempowerment and disarticulation. The world is home to over 600 million people with disabilities. Over two-thirds of them live in developing countries. To know more details about the constitutional & legal regime with reference to the rights of persons with disabilities in India, please click here to download the booklet published by NHRC, Govt. of India.

Right to Information

The enactment of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 is a historic event in the history of democracy in India. This came in to existence on 12th October 2005 and implemented in all the States of Govt. of India except State of Jammu & Kashmir. Now it has also been implemented at Jammu & Kashmir from 20th March 2009.

In order to inculcate transparency in performance and explore avenues to fix up accountability in the workers of each Public Authority, the Right to Information Act-2005 has proved to be a milestone which extends to the whole of India. All the Central Government and State Government organizations and the organizations partly or fully funded by the Government come under the purview of the Act. Under the Act, you are entitled to get information within 30days of filing of RTI application.

File an RTI application today seeking information on an issue of critical importance to you. To get your application verified or clarify doubts, mail our experts on amaadhikar@gmail.com with RTI QUERY as the subject. To download the form to seek information from any offices, please visit our Forms & Formats page from Download section.

Right to Public Services

The Odisha Right to Public Services Act, 2012 in Odisha is an exemplary initiative by the State Government to check corruption in public service delivery. The law enables the citizens to demand public services as a right and also includes a provision for penal action against officials failing to provide the services within the stipulated time. The idea is to generate a demand for services, and to provide citizens with a platform for getting their grievances redressed in a time bound manner. Now more than 63 services from 10 Departments are covered under the Odisha Right to Public Services Act, 2012. For more details, please visit the Right to Public Services portal at www.ortpsa.in

Rights of Elderly People

In Constitution of India, entry 24 in list III of schedule VII deals with the Welfare of Labour, including conditions of work, provident funds, liability for workmen's compensation, invalidity and Old age pension and maternity benefits. Further, Item No. 9 of the State List and item 20, 23 and 24 of Concurrent List relates to old age pension, social security and social insurance, and economic and social planning.

Article 41 of Directive Principles of State Policy has particular relevance to Old Age Social Security. According to this Article, "the State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in case of undeserved want. Similarly, over the years, the government has launched various schemes and policies for older persons. These schemes and policies are meant to promote the health, well-being and independence of senior citizens around the country. To know more details about the legal provisions and Government Policies and Schemes for Older Persons in India, please click here to download the booklet published by NHRC, Govt. of India.

Rights of Bonded Labour

The Constitution of India guarantees all its citizens - justice - social, economic and political; freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; equality of status and of opportunity and fraternity, dignity of individual and unity of the nation. But, there still exists in different parts of our country a system under which the debtor or his descendents have to work along with one or more than one member of the family for the creditor for a specified or an unspecified period without any market wage or without minimum wage notified by the Government in order to discharge a debt. This is an unequal exchange system which in its totality represents one of the worst violations of basic human rights and a disgrace to the dignity of labour.

To know more details about the Constitutional and Legal Provisions in the National Context with reference to bonded labour in India, please click here to download the booklet published by NHRC, Govt. of India.

Right to Adequate Shelter

The Constitution of India is firmly grounded in the principles of liberty, fraternity, equality and justice. The human right to housing is the right to live in adequate shelter in security, peace, and dignity. The right to housing is not merely having a roof over one's head; rather, it requires an accessible habitable space that fulfils the basic needs of humans to personal space, security, adequate lighting and ventilation, safe infrastructure, protection from weather, and adequate location with regard to work and basic facilities- all at a reasonable cost. Providing affordable adequate housing for all should be the government's priority.

To know more details about legal obligations and efforts of the Government in providing shelter to people in India, please click here to download the booklet published by NHRC, Govt. of India.

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