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Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. Although the Fundamental Rights of Indian Constitution and Bill of Rights of the US Constitution are similarly progressive in spirit, they have many differences too.” Comment. (150 Words)

    21 Jan, 2022 GS Paper 2 Polity & Governance

    Approach

    • Begin by highlighting the similar spirit of Indian and US constitution
    • Underline the differences between Fundamental Rights of Indian Constitution and Bill of Rights of the US Constitution
    • Conclude with the importance of fundamental rights in a democracy

    Introduction

    The constitutions of the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy carry a vision for the future society that founding fathers aspired to become-with a heavy emphasis on liberty and equality through the progressive conception of civic rights. The guarantee of these rights still remains the beating heart of the Constitution, in both countries.

    Body

    In philosophy and essence, the fundamental rights are similar to the bill of rights enshrined in the US constitution but they have many differences too.

    • While the US has incorporated the “Bill of Rights”, India has incorporated “Fundamental Rights” in its Constitution. However, the American Constitution has provided additional human rights, which are not to be explicitly found in the Indian Constitution.
    • Freedom of the press is explicitly provided under the 1st amendment of the US Constitution, while in India it is implicitly read under the Article 19[1][a], freedom of speech and expression.
    • The Americans have a right to keep arms and guns for the protection of their life and property. This was provided under the 2nd amendment. Therefore, guns and arms are sold like any other commodity in the US without legal hassles, whereas in India it is a total contrast because apart from not being a fundamental right, it is a highly regulated legal right.
    • The fifth amendment to the US Constitution guarantees that an accused will be tried for a criminal offence with a system of “Grand Jury”. Grand Jury means that common people are selected by the government randomly, representing the community. They play a part in deciding the guilt of the accused persons. The number of persons selected to be in the grand jury varies from 6 to 12, or even more if the case is controversial. On the other hand, in India criminal trials are adjudicated by the Judges only.
    • The right to property is a fundamental right in the US but not in India.
    • Further, in the US, no person’s life and liberty shall be deprived without “due process” of law. In India, a person’s life and liberty shall be deprived according to the “procedure established by law”.

    Conclusion

    Constitutionally guaranteed rights are one of the essential hallmarks of democracy. These rights enable and secure the aspiration of the citizens, releasing them from the chains of socio-economic bondage. India and the US as two vibrant inspiring democracies having a lot of scope for sharing democratic experience and bringing reforms in their respective systems, including the rights guaranteed to their citizens

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