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Updated: Dec 7, 2022

Section 2(d) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 defines Human Rights as in this Act unless the context otherwise requires human rights means the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by courts in India. Article 19 of the Constitution of India deals with protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc.

The Concept of Human Rights has developed through different stages in history. The primary aim of Human Rights/was to put restrictions upon the authoritarian power of the State. Therefore, initially the concept of Human Rights was limited to the concerned respective state only and varied from State to State.

In the earlier stages, the concept and benefits of Human Rights remained primarily confined to the higher classes of people. The purpose of "MAGNA CARTA" which was signed in the thirteenth century was to protect the rights of the Lords in England. Very few of the provisions of "MAGNA CARTA" were applicable to the general public.

The Bill of Rights, 1689 later declared certain freedoms available to all citizens. In its Declaration of Independence, 1776, the United States of America has declared certain inalienable Human Rights. Similarly, after the French Revolution, it was declared in France that "All men are born free, they remain free and they have equal rights".

During the periods of French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the two World Wars and even thereafter, to some extent, due to independence of certain countries, the idea was gathering: momentum that amidst all the activities of the State, the HUMAN BEING should remain at the centre. The State should not commit atrocities upon its own citizens.

Every State, after all, wants to achive stability peace and progress. Sometimes, the need to put need to put restrictions upon the people's rights which just felt. However, rights is, of course, felt. However, are certain rights, which just cannot be violated at any time by the State. These rights are known as Natural Rights." Rights.

human Rights are recognised for the personal development of a human being. Amongst all Human Rights, all Human Rights, the right to security is the an Right. If a human being has no security, then there for the existence of Society or the State. Even if the right to security is not enlisted by the constitution of any State or by ** Statute, it is the primary duty of a State to protect the right to security and the other natural Human Rights; and in this sense these Human Rights are Natural Human Rights.

The Right to Equality is also one such, natural Human Right. Articles 14 of the Constitution of India has recognised this right. Equality lies in the humanness of all human beings. Every human being has an instinct to live and sustain his life. A human being also has an instinct for struggle. A human being not only wants, to live, but he also wants to make his life happy and rich. Every human being wants his physical, intellectual and moral aspects to be enriched. Every one wants certain freedoms. A desire to have freedom means a desire to develop one's abilities to the fullest extent. The concept of Human Rights is to remove all hurdles blocking the development of a human being and creating a suitable environment for the personal development of all human beings.

The Human Right to Equality means that no human being is higher or lower in the eyes of the LAW. Therefore, there should be no discrimination on the ground of religion, race or caste. Even if one belongs to a minority, he should be treated equally. Similarly, there should be no discrimination between males and females. A human being should not be unequally treated only on the ground of that human being, being a female.

If someone has special merits, his social status is higher than others. For example, Prof. Amartya Sen has been awarded a Nobel Prize and therefore he is well appreciated every where. But the mere fact of Prof. Amartya Sen being honoured, recognised and appreciated does not create any hindrance to the progress of others.

The concept of Human Rights is a part of International Law. In fact the concept of Human Rights has acquired an international status because it has crossed all geographical boundaries and it has been recognised throughout the world today.

Internationally, the idea has been universally accepted that the group of Human Rights forming these natural Human Rights must be accepted by every State for the development of a human being. It is for this reason that the United Nations Organisation has framed the Declaration of Human Rights on 10th December 1948.

The concept of Human Rights is born out of protest against dictatorship and poses a struggle against the totalitarian power of the State. But, this is not enough. All human beings should also have the right to participate in all political processes. If only one individual is empowered to take all the decisions of the State, then it is dictatorship. Dictatorship violates the right to equality. The right to equality is applicable even in the economic field. Inequality, prevailing in the economic field, should necessarily be removed and every individual should have the right to work. A human being is able to enjoy Human Rights to the fullest extent only when his primary basic minimum requirements like food, clothing and shelter are satisfied. When any State's constitution or any legislation has given Human Rights to its people, but unemployment, poverty or starvation are prevalent in that State, then Human Rights do not carry any meaning in that State. The Constitution of India has also given certain Human Rights to the people of India. However, our country faces acute problems of economic inequality, unemployment, a high rate of child mortality, and vast prevalence of child labour. There are nearly 30 crores of our people living below the poverty line. In such a situation, Human Rights remain merely on paper.

The Right against exploitation (Art. 23 of the Constitution of India) is a similar Human Right, which apparently remains merely on paper. The Right against Exploitation includes a group of allied Human Rights. Even after over 72 years of Independence, we come across cases of refusal to employ females. This is a form of exploitation of females. To prevent this form of exploitation of females, we have enacted the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976. Unequal treatment to women is also one form of exploitation. For example, under Hindu Law, women are not given an equal share of the family property. Similarly, under Muslim Law, liberty to a husband to have four wives at a time, or, the superior right of Talaq (divorce) and the absence of a similar or corresponding right of talaq of a similar or corresponding right of Talaq (divorce) to the wife, are examples of women's exploitation.

The widespread prevalence of child labour is also another form Os exploitation. Similarly, the Rights to Freedom of Religion, Education, Health, Environment etc. are Human Rights. The concept of Human Rights is not now confined merely to the protection of a person against the State's totalitarian power. Human Rights aim to create a suitable environment for the development of a human being.

Though, in our Constitution, there is no mention of the Right to Education as a fundamental right; (it is most likely to be includan the group of Fundamental Rights). In fact, the Supreme Court has declared the Right to Education as a fundamental right awam back as 1993 in the case of Unnikrishnan. (1 1993 1 sec P8: Oto various landmark rulings, the Supreme Court of the Supreme Court of India has declared that Art. 21 include the Right to Health, Right to Environment, the Right to Life and the Right to Live with Dignity. All these are Human Rights.

Origin and Development of Human Rights

The conception of human rights is not the very modern, though it appears to be so. The roots of human rights are found very deep in the eternity in the ancient and ancient most cultures, which have been rooted out by passage of time and rule of human atrocities or barbarianism of certain tribes.

Historical Background

The origin and development of Human Rights has been on two bases, the first is the National and the second is the International. On the National base, the conception of Human Rights got its breed to originate and develop in the form of religion in different countries and in different times. The conception may be felt to originate in the ideas of mercy, kindness and pity on human beings in various scriptures. Vedas are the most ancient or the first, religious book of mankind. revealed in Aaryaavarta the Great Land of Aryans. The following preaching in the Yajurveda throws a prism of light on friendly dealing and behaviour with all creatures of the world what to say of only human beings:

Drite drinha maa mitrasya maa chakshasha servaani bhootaani


Milrasyaham chakshusha sarvaani bhootani sameekshe mitrasya

chakshushaa Sameekshaa make (Yaju. 36-18).

Oh Lord! Let my eye view be firm in order that all creatures may look at me by friendly sight. In the same way I also may see all creatures with friendly sight and all of us creatures may see each other in friendly view.

In most references, leaving lust, anger etc. mental dereliction's and narrowness, to deal with others with truth and liberality has been preached in the Vedas: 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam the whole world is certainly one family, has been preached and pressed in vedic literature. And on the National Level India is the first who have originated and respected the conception of International law. In the Babylonian Laws the seeds of International Law may be traced in the reign of Laigas Uruka of Laigas (3260 B.C.) Sergon of Akkar (2300 B.C.) and Hammubaric of Babylon (1792-1750 B.C.). Similarly, in the Assyrian Laws in the reigns of Tighalat Pilashar 1st (1115-1077 BC) and in the Hittites Laws in the reign of King Telpenus. Similarly, these laws may be found in the Jurisprudence of Laoj and Confusius (550-478 B.C.). In the city states of Greece the right of equal freedom of speech-isogorie, equality before law-isonomia, the right of vote-jus subragie, the right to be elected to public office-jus honorum, the right to trade-jus commercii, the right of access to justice-jus actionis may be found to have been prevalent. The roots of protection of human rights may be found in the-civil law-jus civil and the law of nations-jus gentium of the Romans.

In the Greek and Roman Laws, the principles of International Law appear to be attached with the principles of natural justice- The stoic philosophers found all creatures being pervaded by a Universal Power, which principle was already established in the period of Mahabharata (5000 B.C.) in India as in Bhagwad Geeta a chapter of Mahabharata, Lord Krishna said :

Samam saroeshn hhootishu tishthantam Parmeshwaram Vinashyatsu auinashyantam yah pashyati sah pashyali.

One who sees the Supreme Power equally existing among all creatures, being destroyed their bodies, but undestroying power, he alone verily sees. as the end of the middle ages, the liberal political principles ahliated with the principles of natural justice and a social need cognition of human rights was fell: to be turn into reality rather a W philosophy. Accordingly, since the 13th century till the Peace of "estphalia, 1648 and during the Renaissance when feudalism was eliminated, such finance changes began to be brought out.

When restraint against religious intolerance and political as well as economic slavery was begun and specially the age of long changes as to the use and ownership of property experiments, began, we may tell that the real foundation of Human Rights was laid down. During this very period, the failure of the Rulers to fulfil the mandates of natural law and unexpected liberty of individual expression, the principles of natural law took their steps to take shape of human rights. As evidence to this fact the teachings of Thomas Axenag (1224 25-1274) and Hugo Grotius (1583-1169) in the Continent of Europe and specially Magna Carta. Petition of Rights and Bill of Rights in England may be taken.

Charters of Liberty

Charters of Liberty are steps towards the realization and implementation of Human Rights. Magna Carta of 1215, Petition of Rights of 1628, (Habeas Corpus. Act of 1679, Bill of Rights of 1689 are some of such steps taken in England.

Magna Carta

Magna Carta was imposed upon King John by the Prelates, Earls and Barons, after having defeat at the hands of the King of France. This declaration of freedom dealt with the rights of different contemporary sections of the society; for instance, that the churches will be independent of the control of the King, London and other cities will be free to utilise or practice their freedoms and customs. Unjust taxes will not be imposed upon traders or businessmen and so on. A very important article of this declaration was Article 39 which provided that no free person shall be made a prisoner, evicted by unjust means, exiled from the country, or will not be killed or murdered or executed in any way unless such action was permissible bý some decisions of the House of Lords or the law of the land and neither anyone shall be deprived of justice.

Petition of Rights

Petition of Rights/was allowed by Charles First in 1628. This was a Parliamentary declaration in which freedoms of people were dealt with. For example, that no body shall be indebted nor taxed without the permission of the Parliament, nobody shall be imprisoned in an arbitrary way. No martial law commission shall be used in the times of peace. If somebody has been sent to jail, then either he will be released on bail or be acquitted and the judges will not pay any heed on the orders of sentence.

Habeas Corpus Act

Habeas Corpus Act was officially titled as an Act for the Better securing the Liberty of the subject for Prevention of Imprisonment beyond the Seas This Act was enacted by Charles Second in 1679. This Act was mainly concerned with the prisoners who were imprisoned in some criminal offence, that the validity of his sentence be expeditiously heard. By this provision protection of the freedoms of the people of the country was enforced.

Bill of Rights

Bill of Rights was officially titled as an Act for Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the subjects and for settling the succession of the Crown, 1989. This Act was enacted at the time when William of Orange and Mary Stuart were ascended the throne of England. The object of this Act was to substitute the Habeas Corpus Act, 1579 so that it would give benefit to those persons also who were imprisoned on some other charges than the criminal charges. The limitation under which the King would take decision was specified. Through this Bill the power of the King to suspend a law or the execution of law by a legal authority was condemned and it was provided that the King cannot do so without the approval of the Parliament.


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