The Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Constitution are characterised by the following:
- Some of them are available only to the citizens while others are available to all persons whether citizens, foreigners or legal persons like corporations or companies.
- They are not absolute but qualified. The state can impose reasonable restrictions on them. However, whether such res-trictions are reasonable or not is to be decided by the courts. Thus, they strike a balance between the rights of the individual and those of the society as a whole, between individual liberty and social control.
- Most of them are available against the arbitrary action of the State, with a few exceptions like those against the State’s action and against the action of private individuals. When the rights that are available against the State’s action only are violated by the private individuals, there are no constitutional remedies but only ordinary legal remedies.
- Some of them are negative in character, that is, place limitations on the authority of the State, while others are positive in nature, conferring certain privileges on the persons.
- They are justiciable, allowing persons to move the courts for their enforcement, if and when they are violated.
- They are defended and guaranteed by the Supreme Court. Hence, the aggrieved person can directly go to the Supreme Court, not necessarily by way of appeal against the judgement of the high courts.
- They are not sacrosanct or permanent. The Parliament can curtail or repeal them but only by a constitutional amendment act and not by an ordinary act. Moreover, this can be done without affecting the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution.