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Provisions of the Indian Constitution
Provisions of the Indian Constitution that are applicable to the business are summarized below
The Constitution is a comprehensive one consisting of various provisions that affect every citizen of India.
Certain provisions of the Indian Constitution are applicable to the business which ware summarized under the following headings:
I. Preamble of Constitution and Business:
The Indian Constitution starts with a preamble, which outlines the main objectives of the Constitution. It may be noted that though the preamble is not a part of the Constitution and is not justifiable, yet its significance cannot be denied.
It serves as a key to the Constitution. Whenever the judiciary is in doubt about any particular provision of the Constitution it refers to the preamble to find out the real intentions of the framers of the Constitution. The preamble reads:
―We, The People of India, have solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign, Socialist, and Secular Democratic Republic and to secure to all its citizens:
Justice, Social, economic and political; Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; Equality of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation;
In our Constituent Assembly this Twenty-Sixth day of November 1949, we do hereby Adopt, Enact and Give to ourselves this Constitution.‖
A perusal of the preamble shows that it intends India to be a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, and Democratic Republic. It means that like other states India is a sovereign state and is free to conduct its internal as well as external relations as it deems desirable.
The terms ‗Socialist‘ and ‗Secular‘ were added by the Forty Second Amendment and assert that the government must adopt socialistic policies to ensure decent life for all Indian citizens. The inclusion of word ‗Secular‘ likewise emphasises that the state must abstain from giving preferential treatment to any religion.
Democratic government implies the Government is to be carried on by the elected representatives of the people, and the Government stays in office as long as it enjoys the confidence of their elected representatives. Republic implies that the highest executive authority in India shall vest in a person directly elected by the people. In other words, there is no place for monarchical or fe udal system in India.
The preamble of the Indian Constitution guarantees to its every citizen:
(i) Economic Justice:
The Indian Constitution laid down social, economic and political justice to every citizen in the country. It is, therefore, the duly of the business organizations to provide social, economic and political justice to every citizen.
(ii) Liberty of Thought, Expression, Belief, Faith and Worship:
This has been accepted in our constitution that every citizen has liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship. According to this concept every business, organization should have liberty of thought, expression etc., with everyone.
(iii) Equality of Status and of Opportunity:
According to this concept every businessman should believe and give equal opportunity to others. This can be achieved through eradication of poverty. This does not mean winning gap between the poor and rich.
II. Fundamental Rights and Business:
The Indian Constitution incorporates a list of Fundamental Rights and guarantees their inviolability by executive and legislative authorities. Part III (Articles 12-35) deals with the Fundamental Rights granted to individuals. These rights were finalised by the committee of the Constituent Assembly headed by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
The fundamental rights are superior to ordinary laws; they can be altered only through constitutional amendments. Originally, the fundamental Rights were seven but in 1978, through the 44th amendment of the constitution, the right to property was removed from the list of fundamental rights.
The six types of fundamental rights of the constitution are as follows:
(1) Right to Equality (Articles 14 to 18):
Articles 14 to 18 deal with right to equality. The Constitution clearly provides that the state shall not deny to any person equality before law or the equal protection of law within the territory of India. It cannot discriminate against any citizen on gro unds of religion, race, caste, sex, and place of birth or any of them.
It means that every citizen has access to shops, public restaurants, hotels, places of public entertainment etc., and is free to use wells, tanks, roads and places of public resort maintained at state funds.
In the employment aspects, the appointment to offices under the state also equal opportunity shall be provided to all the citizens, and no person shall be denied employment on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, and place of birth, residence or any of them.
Again, to make the right to equality a reality; untouchability has been abolished and its practice in any form has been made an offence punishable in accordance with law. According to this articles the business should provide equality before law, social equality and economic equality.
(2) Right to Freedom (Articles 19 to 22):
Articles 19 to 22 enumerates certain positive rights conferred by the Constitution in order to promote the ideal of liberty promised in the preamble. Six fundamental rights in the nature of ‗freedom‘ are guaranteed to the citizens in the article (originally there were seven, but now right to property is deleted).
The six Freedoms are as follows:
(i) Freedom of speech and expression.
(ii) Freedom of peaceful assembly without arms.
(iii)Freedom of association.
(iv) Freedom of movement throughout the territory of India.
(v)Freedom to reside or settle any part of the territory.
(vi) Freedom to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.
The right to freedom is also applied equally in business. The businessmen can express their problems freely to the government and can get a solution to it. Similarly, every citizen has the right to choose any business or profession and can form unions, and conduct meetings.
(3) Right against Exploitation (Articles 23 to 24):
Articles 23 to 24 deal with the right against exploitation and seek to prevent exploitation of weaker sections of society by unscrupulous persons as well as the state. Article 23 prohibits traffic in human beings, involuntary work without payment and other forms of forced labour. Article 24 prohibits the employment of children below 14 years of age in factories and hazardous occupations, employing women employees in night shifts in factories etc.
The economic importance of right against exploitation is
(i) The government takes necessary steps to remove bonded labour.
(ii) The Factories Act helps to prevent exploitation of women and children employees.
(iii) The owner of the factories are guided to make provision for safety and welfare of the workers
and they compulsorily appoint a labour welfare officer, it in the factory 500 01 more workers are employed.
(4) Right to Freedom of Religion (Articles 25 to 28):
Articles 25 to 28 deal with the right to freedom of religion. Subject to public order, morality, health etc., the citizens enjoy freedom of conscience and are free to profess, practise and propagate any religion.
However, the state can regulate or restrict the economic, financial, political or other secular activities associated with religious practices. No citizen can be compelled to pay any taxes the proceeds of which are to be spent for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion or religious domination.
The Economic importance of the right to freedom of religion is
(i) The government cannot spend tax money for the development of any religion.
(ii) Nobody can be compelled to pay tax for the welfare of any specific religion.
(iii)No one shall be forced to transfer of property or any agreement of a business nature in the name
of a particular religion.
(5) Cultural and Educational Rights (Articles 29 to 30):
Article 29 stipulates that the State shall not impose upon it any culture other than the community s own culture. A minority community has the right to preserve its culture and religious interests. Article 30 confers upon a minority community the right to establish and administer educational institutions of its choice.
A notable feature of the educational and cultural right is that unlike other fundamental rights, it is not subject to any restriction, except that the State can make special provisions for t he advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens.
The economic importances of cultural and educational rights are:
(i) The state does not discriminate to give economic assistance to the minority institutions.
(ii) The aided institution cannot refuse admission to any of the citizens on the ground that he belongs to a particular caste, religion, language or region.
(6) Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32):
This right has been described by Dr. Ambedkar as the ‗heart and soul of the Constitution. In tact the mere declaration of fundamental rights is useless unless effective remedies are available for their enforcement. This has been ensured under Article 32 which grants the right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred by the Constitution.
Clause (2) of Article 32 confers power on the supreme court to issue appropriate directions or orders to writs, including writs in the name of habeas corpus, mandamas, prohibition, quo-warrant and certiorari for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by Part III of the constitution.
Thus, the fundamental rights enumerated in the constitution guarantee a number of economic and social lights to the citizens. At the same time the state has the power to impose reasonable restrictions on such rights in the interest of the people.
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