Q. 1. What are Rights? Distinguish between Rights and Claims.
Ans. The citizen has to seek ‘the good life’ not only for his own sake but also for the community. If he has to live upto his ideals, he needs certain conditions. He can justly claim them, he has a right to them for the fulfilment of the common good. Rights are those conditions and guarantees which the State should provide to every citizen in order that he may attain his best self in the society. Man can develop all his mental, physical and spiritual qualities only if he is given certain rights and privileges by the State.
Each State gives certain rights to the citizens which are essential for the development of the personality of the individuals. Laski has pointed out that every State is known by the rights that it maintains.
What is a Right? Different scholars have defined Rights in different ways. Some important definitions of Rights are given below:
1. According to Wilde, “A Right is a reasonable claim to freedom in the exercise of certain activities.”
2. According to T.H. Green, “Rights are those powers which are necessary to the fulfilment of man’s vocation as moral being.”
3. According to Holland, “Right is one man’s capacity of influencing the acts of another by means not of his own strength but of the opinion or the force of society.”
4. According to Bosanquet, “A Right is a claim recognised by society and enforced by the State.”
5. According to John Austin, “Rights mean one man’s capacity of exacting from another of other acts of forbearances.”
6. According to H.J. Laski, “Rights are those conditions of social life without which no man can seek to be himself at his best.”
7. According to Dr. Beni Prasad, “Rights are the right conditions of life which are essential for the development of the individual. Rights are the essential aspect of social life.” On the basis of the definitions given above we can say that Rights are those conditions of social life without which human personality cannot develop.
Rights are useful both for the individual as well as for the State. The rights are recognised by the State.
Difference between Right and Claim. Right is a claim of the individual for doing things independently. The individual claims his rights from the society. But all claims are not to be regarded as rights because rights are only those claims which are recognised as such by society and enforced by the state. The claim of the individual takes the form of a right only when it is recognised by the society. Without such a recognition, rights are just empty claims. As an individual is a part of the society, an individual cannot have any right apart from what the society concedes.
Q. 2. Describe the characteristics of Rights.
Ans. Following are the essential features of rights:
1. Rights are available only in the Society.
Rights can be possible only in the society. The rights cannot be possible outside the society. Whenever an individual lives in a society he is to seek the help of others for various purposes. Outside the society, every individual is absolutely free and he makes use of force for achieving his end.
2. Right is a claim of the individual. Right is a claim of the individual for doing things independently. The individual claims his rights from the society. In other words, right means demand for certain facilities.
3. Right is recognised by Society. Rights are those claims of the individual which are recognised by the society. The claim of the individual takes the form of a Right only when it is recognised by the society.
4. Right is reasonable and moral. The society recognises only that claim of the individual which is reasonable and moral. The society recognises only that claim which concerns the welfare of the individual. A claim which is harmful to the society cannot be accepted.
5. Right can be used for public good. A right can be used only for social good and not against the interest of the society. Rights can be achieved in society and are recognised by the society. Therefore, it is natural that they should be exercised in the best interest of the society.
6. Rights are universal. Rights are given equally to all the people in society. Right is a claim of the individual and is not the claim of a particular individual but is a claim of all the individuals. A right which is enjoyed by one individual is also enjoyed by other individuals.
7. Rights and duties go together. Rights are always accompanied by duties. Rights and duties go side by side. A’s right is B’s duty and B’s right is A’s duty. Rights cannot be granted without the performance of certain duties.
8. Rights are enforced by the State. Another important feature of right is that it is enforced by the State. The rights are also protected by the State. The State grants rights through laws and those who violate the law are punished by the State. The State is the guardian of the rights of the individuals.
9. Rights change with the time. Rights are not static. Rights change with the changing social, economic and political conditions. For example, in the early phase of industrial expansion, the right to unfettered use of one’s property was recognised. But in the mid-twentieth century, the right to property has been considerably curtailed in almost every country. Hence, no permanent and unchanging catalogue of rights can be compiled.
Q. 3. Discuss the Civil rights enjoyed by a citizen in modern State.
Ans. Modern age is an age of democracy and each State grants its citizens various types of rights so that they may be able to develop their personality.
Civil Rights. In the modern democratic states, the citizens are granted the following civil rights:
1. Right to life. Each State grants its citizens the Right of life. Aristotle is of the opinion that the State came into existence for the sake of life and continues to exist for the sake of good life. This right is important both for the State and the individual. The individual personality can develop to the fullest degree only if he is granted the right of life.
The State protects the life of the individual. The individual is given the right to self-defence. An individual cannot be allowed to commit suicide.
2. Right to personal liberty. The citizens are also given the right to personal liberty. The individual is given complete liberty for the development of his personality. The Government cannot arrest anybody arbitrarily. Nobody can be deprived of his life, liberty and property without a breach of law established in an ordinary court of law. An individual enjoys complete freedom so far as he obeys the laws of the State.
3. Right to family life. Every citizen has the right to maintain a privacy of life in the family without any outside interference. The children possess the right of inheritance in their family property and also have got the right to get full support from their parents upto the age of maturity. Parents have the full rights over their children so long as they remain minors. Every person possesses the full right to marriage in any way he likes but the sanctify of marriage must be maintained in the society.
4. Right to freedom of religion. Right to freedom of religion is most essential for the development of the personality of the individual. Every citizen should be free to profess and practise any religious faith he likes.
5. Right to education. Citizenship has been defined as the contribution of one’s instructed judgement to the public good. The citizen has the right to such education as well fit him for the task of citizenship. Every citizen should have that education which would enable him to weigh, judge, choose and decide for himself. The State grants the right to education to all its citizens. The individuals should have the right of receiving education according to their will.
6. Right to Equality. In the modern civilized State, the citizens are also given the right to equality.
Equality is the basis of democracy. All the citizens are considered equal in all aspects of life.
7. Right to freedom of movement. A citizen has the right to freedom of movement and settlement in any part of the country. He cannot be restricted by any one to exercise his right. This way every citizen can settle at a place which he likes any where he can have his business. Nobody can be compelled to leave a certain place.
8. Right to contract. The right to contract enables the citizen to enter into contracts freely with others.
9. Right to freedom of thought and expression. Freedom of speech and expression is a valuable right. In all free countries, citizens have the right to speak out honestly what view they may hold.
This right enables citizens to ventilate their grievances and organise public opinion on issues of public concern.
Freedom of press is included in this right of free expression of opinion and is merely the right to publish in print what a man can lawfully speak. Citizens can criticise government measures even severely. This freedom is no doubt subject to the law of libel and sedition.
10. Right to freedom of press. In the modern age, the freedom of press is given great importance.
The newspapers organise and express public opinion.
They appreciate good actions and condemn bad actions of the government. They protect the rights and liberties of the people. The newspapers are nowadays called the watch dog of the rights and liberties of the people.
If the freedom of press is denied, the country cannot progress and public welfare cannot be promoted.
11. Right to form associations. The individuals are given the right to assemble and form associations in order to promote their interests. The citizens are given the freedom to form social, political, economic and cultural associations. The State should not interfere in the functioning of these associations.
Q. 4. What is the relationship between rights and duties?
Ans. Rights and duties are the two sides of a coin. According to Dr. Beni Prasad, “They are two aspect of the same thing. If one looks at that from one’s own stand point, they are rights and if one looks at them from the standpoint of others, they are duties. “One’s right exists only because other’s duties exist and one’s duties towards others also exist. Prof. Wilde has rightly said, “It is only in world of duties that rights have significance.” One person enjoys rights only because others don’t put obstacles in one’s way and are performing their duties.
Rights and duties are inseparable.
Rights and duties are related in the following way:
1. One’s right is another’s duty. A right belonging to one person imposes a corresponding duty on the others to respect his right. His right is, therefore, their duty. For instance, an individual’s right to property implies that it is the duty of others not to take away or steal his property without his consent or to interfere with his enjoyment of it. In this sense, rights and duties are the two sides of the same coin. From the standpoint of man who enjoys, it is a right and from the point of view of others who must allow him to enjoy it is a duty.
2. One’s right is one’s duty also. A right is at the same time a duty. If an individual enjoys a right, it must be remembered that the same right belongs to all other individuals. For instance, if ‘A’ has the right to express his opinions freely, it is also his duty not to deny the same right to ‘B’. This right implies one more duty also. If I enjoy liberty of speech, it is my duty not to misuse this right by preaching anything that is against the law or that disturbs peace or spreads hatred among different communities.
3. One’s right is one’s duty to use it in a right way. It is the duty of an individual to make proper use of his rights. The improper use of rights proves harmful for others and society can never tolerate it.
If an individual is given the freedom of speech and expression, he should not misuse this right by spreading hatred among different communities. He should not instigate the people against the government. He should not spread rumours. Misuse of rights by the citizens of a State leads to disorder and anarchy. It leads to setting up wrong precedents.
People’s welfare is ignored if people do things of their own accord. Every citizen should use his rights in such a way that the interests of the community are promoted to the fullest.
4. One’s right is one’s duty to use it for social good. A right is not only the means for furthering self interest but is also a means for promoting the general interests of society. An individual enjoys rights only so long as he contributes his best instructed judgement to the common good of the people. In case an individual misuses his rights, and his activities prove harmful to the welfare of the community, his right is forfeited and he becomes liable to punishment.
For example, if an individual enjoys his right to freedom of speech to spread bitterness between different communities or to preach violence or anarchy, he becomes a hindrance in the way of social development. He should use right to freedom of speech for constructive purposes only.
5. Duties towards the States. Rights of an individual imply certain duties towards the State.
The state gives us rights and they are also safeguarded by the State. State creates such an atmosphere as is necessary for making full use of rights. Rights have no meaning without the State and hence it is the duty of every individual to respect the laws of the State. He should be ready to sacrifice for the State during an hour of crisis. He should pay the State taxes honestly, should be loyal to the State. State protects the life and property of an individual and it is the duty of the individual to protect the State.
In the end, we can say the Rights and Duties go side by side. They are two faces of the same coin.