NCERT Textbook - Democratic Rights Class 9 Notes | EduRev

Indian Polity for UPSC (Civil Services) Prelims

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Class 9 : NCERT Textbook - Democratic Rights Class 9 Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


96 DEMOCRATIC POLITICS
OVERVIEW
In the previous two chapters we have looked at two major elements of a
democratic government. In Chapter Four we saw how a democratic
government has to be periodically elected by the people in a free and fair
manner. In Chapter Five we learnt that a democracy must be based on
institutions that follow certain rules and procedures. These elements are
necessary but not sufficient for a democracy. Elections and institutions
need to be combined with a third element – enjoyment of rights – to make
a government democratic. Even the most properly elected rulers working
through the established institutional process must learn not to cross some
limits. Citizens’ democratic rights set those limits in a democracy.
This is what we take up in this final chapter of the book. We begin by
discussing some real life cases to imagine what it means to live without
rights. This leads to a discussion on what we mean by rights and why do
we need them. As in the previous chapters, the general discussion is
followed by a focus on India. We discuss one by one the Fundamental
Rights in the Indian Constitution. Then we turn to how these rights can
be used by ordinary citizens. Who will protect and enforce them? Finally
we take a look at how the scope of rights has been expanding.
CHAPTER 6
DEMOCRATIC
RIGHTS
2015-16(19/01/2015)
Page 2


96 DEMOCRATIC POLITICS
OVERVIEW
In the previous two chapters we have looked at two major elements of a
democratic government. In Chapter Four we saw how a democratic
government has to be periodically elected by the people in a free and fair
manner. In Chapter Five we learnt that a democracy must be based on
institutions that follow certain rules and procedures. These elements are
necessary but not sufficient for a democracy. Elections and institutions
need to be combined with a third element – enjoyment of rights – to make
a government democratic. Even the most properly elected rulers working
through the established institutional process must learn not to cross some
limits. Citizens’ democratic rights set those limits in a democracy.
This is what we take up in this final chapter of the book. We begin by
discussing some real life cases to imagine what it means to live without
rights. This leads to a discussion on what we mean by rights and why do
we need them. As in the previous chapters, the general discussion is
followed by a focus on India. We discuss one by one the Fundamental
Rights in the Indian Constitution. Then we turn to how these rights can
be used by ordinary citizens. Who will protect and enforce them? Finally
we take a look at how the scope of rights has been expanding.
CHAPTER 6
DEMOCRATIC
RIGHTS
2015-16(19/01/2015)
97
Dear Mr Tony Blair,
Firstly, how are you? I sent a
letter two years ago, why didn’t
you reply?!? I was waiting for a
long time but you did not reply.
Please can you give me an answer
to my question? Why is my dad in
prison? Why is he far away in
that Guantánamo Bay?! I miss my
dad so much. I have not seen my
dad for three years. I know my
dad has not done anything,
because he is a good man. I hear
everybody speak about my dad in
a nice way. Your children spend
Christmas with you, but me and
my brothers, and sisters have
spent Eid alone without our dad
for 3 years. What do you think
about that?
I hope you will answer me this
time.
Thank you,
From: Anas Jamil El-Banna,
9 years old.
7/12/2005
6. 1 LIFE WITHOUT RIGHTS
Chapter Three: Our Constitution
makers believed that fundamental
rights were quite central to the
Constitution because …
Chapter Four: Every adult citizen of
India has the right to ... and to be ...
Chapter Five: If a law is against the
Constitution, every citizen has the
right to approach …
Let us now begin with three
examples of what it means to live in
the absence of rights.
P P P P Pr r r r rison in G ison in G ison in G ison in G ison in Guan uan uan uan uantanamo B tanamo B tanamo B tanamo B tanamo Ba a a a ay y y y y
About 600 people were secretly
picked up by the US forces from all
over the world and put in a prison
in Guantanamo Bay, an area near
Cuba controlled by Amercian Navy.
Anas’s father, Jamil El-Banna, was
among them. The American
government said that they were
enemies of the US and linked to the
attack on New York on 11
September 2001. In most cases the
governments of their countries were
not asked or even informed about
their imprisonment. Like other
prisoners, El-Banna’s family got to
know that he was in that prison only
through the media. Families of
prisoners, media or even UN
representatives were not allowed to
meet them. The US army arrested
them, interrogated them and
decided whether to keep them there
or not. There was no trial before any
magistrate in the US. Nor could
these prisoners approach courts in
their own country.
Amnesty International, an
international human rights
organisation, collected information
on the condition of the prisoners in
Guantanamo Bay and reported that
the prisoners were being tortured in
ways that violated the US laws. They
In this book we have mentioned
rights again and again. If you
remember, we have discussed rights
in each of the five preceding
chapters. Can you fill in the blanks
by recalling the rights dimension in
each chapter?
Chapter One: Chile under Pinochet
and Poland under Jaruzelsky were
not democratic because …
Chapter Two: A comprehensive
definition of democracy includes …
DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS
2015-16(19/01/2015)
Page 3


96 DEMOCRATIC POLITICS
OVERVIEW
In the previous two chapters we have looked at two major elements of a
democratic government. In Chapter Four we saw how a democratic
government has to be periodically elected by the people in a free and fair
manner. In Chapter Five we learnt that a democracy must be based on
institutions that follow certain rules and procedures. These elements are
necessary but not sufficient for a democracy. Elections and institutions
need to be combined with a third element – enjoyment of rights – to make
a government democratic. Even the most properly elected rulers working
through the established institutional process must learn not to cross some
limits. Citizens’ democratic rights set those limits in a democracy.
This is what we take up in this final chapter of the book. We begin by
discussing some real life cases to imagine what it means to live without
rights. This leads to a discussion on what we mean by rights and why do
we need them. As in the previous chapters, the general discussion is
followed by a focus on India. We discuss one by one the Fundamental
Rights in the Indian Constitution. Then we turn to how these rights can
be used by ordinary citizens. Who will protect and enforce them? Finally
we take a look at how the scope of rights has been expanding.
CHAPTER 6
DEMOCRATIC
RIGHTS
2015-16(19/01/2015)
97
Dear Mr Tony Blair,
Firstly, how are you? I sent a
letter two years ago, why didn’t
you reply?!? I was waiting for a
long time but you did not reply.
Please can you give me an answer
to my question? Why is my dad in
prison? Why is he far away in
that Guantánamo Bay?! I miss my
dad so much. I have not seen my
dad for three years. I know my
dad has not done anything,
because he is a good man. I hear
everybody speak about my dad in
a nice way. Your children spend
Christmas with you, but me and
my brothers, and sisters have
spent Eid alone without our dad
for 3 years. What do you think
about that?
I hope you will answer me this
time.
Thank you,
From: Anas Jamil El-Banna,
9 years old.
7/12/2005
6. 1 LIFE WITHOUT RIGHTS
Chapter Three: Our Constitution
makers believed that fundamental
rights were quite central to the
Constitution because …
Chapter Four: Every adult citizen of
India has the right to ... and to be ...
Chapter Five: If a law is against the
Constitution, every citizen has the
right to approach …
Let us now begin with three
examples of what it means to live in
the absence of rights.
P P P P Pr r r r rison in G ison in G ison in G ison in G ison in Guan uan uan uan uantanamo B tanamo B tanamo B tanamo B tanamo Ba a a a ay y y y y
About 600 people were secretly
picked up by the US forces from all
over the world and put in a prison
in Guantanamo Bay, an area near
Cuba controlled by Amercian Navy.
Anas’s father, Jamil El-Banna, was
among them. The American
government said that they were
enemies of the US and linked to the
attack on New York on 11
September 2001. In most cases the
governments of their countries were
not asked or even informed about
their imprisonment. Like other
prisoners, El-Banna’s family got to
know that he was in that prison only
through the media. Families of
prisoners, media or even UN
representatives were not allowed to
meet them. The US army arrested
them, interrogated them and
decided whether to keep them there
or not. There was no trial before any
magistrate in the US. Nor could
these prisoners approach courts in
their own country.
Amnesty International, an
international human rights
organisation, collected information
on the condition of the prisoners in
Guantanamo Bay and reported that
the prisoners were being tortured in
ways that violated the US laws. They
In this book we have mentioned
rights again and again. If you
remember, we have discussed rights
in each of the five preceding
chapters. Can you fill in the blanks
by recalling the rights dimension in
each chapter?
Chapter One: Chile under Pinochet
and Poland under Jaruzelsky were
not democratic because …
Chapter Two: A comprehensive
definition of democracy includes …
DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS
2015-16(19/01/2015)
98 DEMOCRATIC POLITICS
were being denied the treatment that
even prisoners of war must get as per
international treaties. Many prisoners
had tried protesting against these
conditions by going on a hunger
strike. Prisoners were not released
even after they were officially declared
not guilty. An independent inquiry
by the UN supported these findings.
The UN Secretary General said the
prison in Guantanamo Bay should be
closed down. The US government
refused to accept these pleas.
C C C C Citiz itiz itiz itiz itizens ens ens ens ens’ ’ ’ ’ ’ R R R R Righ igh igh igh ights in ts in ts in ts in ts in
S S S S Saudi A audi A audi A audi A audi Ar r r r rabia abia abia abia abia
The case of Guantanamo Bay looks
like an exception, for it involves the
government of one country denying
rights to citizens of another country.
Let us therefore look at the case of
Saudi Arabia and the position of the
citizens with regard to their
government. Consider these facts:
<The country is ruled by a
hereditary king and the people
have no role in electing or
changing their rulers.
< The king selects the legislature as
well as the executive. He appoints
the judges and can change any of
their decisions.
< Citizens cannot form political par-
ties or any political organisations.
Media cannot report anything that
the monarch does not like.
<There is no freedom of religion.
Every citizen is required to be
Muslim. Non-Muslim residents
can follow their religion in private,
but not in public.
<Women are subjected to many
public restrictions. The testimony
of one man is considered equal to
that of two women.
This is true not just of Saudi
Arabia. There are many countries in
the world where several of these
conditions exist.
E E E E Ethnic massacr thnic massacr thnic massacr thnic massacr thnic massacre in K e in K e in K e in K e in Koso oso oso oso osov v v v vo o o o o
You might think that this is possible
in an absolute monarchy but not
in countries which choose their
rulers. Just consider this story from
Kosovo. This was a province of
Yugoslavia before its split. In this
province the population was
overwhelmingly ethnic Albanian.
But in the entire country, Serbs
were in majority. A narrow minded
Serb nationalist Milosevic
(pronounced Miloshevich) had won
the election. His government was
very hostile to the Kosovo
Albanians. He wanted the Serbs to
dominate the country. Many Serb
leaders thought that Ethnic
minorities like Albanians should
either leave the country or accept
the dominance of the Serbs.
This is what happened to an
Albanian family in a town in Kosovo
in April 1999:
74-year-old Batisha Hoxha was
sitting in her kitchen with her 77-
year–old husband Izet, staying warm
by the stove. They had heard
explosions but did not realise that
Serbian troops had already entered
the town. The next thing she knew,
five or six soldiers had burst through
the front door and were demanding
“Where are your children?”
“… they shot Izet three times in the chest”
recalls Batisha. With her husband
dying before her, the soldiers pulled
the wedding ring off her finger and
told her to get out. “I was not even
outside the gate when they burnt the
house” … She was standing on the
street in the rain with no house, no
husband, no possessions but the
clothes she was wearing.
This news report was typical of
what happened to thousands of
Albanians in that period. Do
If you were a Serb,
would you support
what Milosevic did
in Kosovo? Do you
think his project of
establishing Serb
dominance was
good for the
Serbs?
2015-16(19/01/2015)
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