Human beings are rational beings by virtue of their being human posses different basics rights. Rights are those conditions of social life which are very essential for a person to do a good performance. Rights are legal, social or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement. This is the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people according to some legal system, social convention or ethical theory. This is the basic essential in disciplines as law and ethics, especially theories of justice. This is the basic fundamental rights of every citizen’s rights are pillars of society and culture.

There is considerable disagreement about what is meant precisely by the term rights. It has been used by different groups and thinkers for different purposes, with different and sometimes opposing definitions, and the precise definition of this principle, beyond having something to do with normative rules of some sort or another, is controversial.

Rights are of various types under the Constitution of India. Rights are often included in the foundational questions that government and politics have been designed to deal with. Often the development of these socio-political institutions has formed a dialectical relationship with rights.

 There are few rights which are of utmost importance and important in every citizen’s life. They are as under:

  1. Human Right
  2. Fundamental Right
  3. Legal Right

Human Right

Human rights are those rights that people have by virtue of being human are human rights. These are the rights which no one can be deprived without a graved affront to justice. Human rights, being the birthright are, therefore, inherent in all the individuals irrespective of their caste, creed, religion, sex and nationality. These rights are essential for all the individuals as they are consonant with their freedom and dignity and are conducive to physical, moral, social and spiritual welfare. They are also necessary as they provide suitable conditions for the material and moral uplift of the people. Human rights are also sometimes referred to as fundamental rights, basic rights, inherent rights, natural rights and birthrights.

There is universal acceptance of human rights in principle in domestic and international plane. Thus, it is difficult to give a precise definition of the term human rights. However, it can be said that rights that all people have by virtue of human being are human rights. These are the rights which no one can be deprived without a grave affront to justice.

Chief Justice of India, J.S Verma has rightly stated that ‘human dignity is the quintessence of human rights’ [2]

All those rights which are essential for the protection of the dignity of individuals and create conditions in which every human being can develop his personality to the fullest extent may be termed human rights.[3]

Human Rights are being essential for all-round development of the personality of the individuals in the society be necessarily protected and be made available to all the individuals. They must preserve, cherished and defended if peace and prosperity are to be achieved. Human rights are the very essence of a meaningful life and to maintain human dignity is the ultimate purpose of the government.

Human rights are indivisible and interdependent, and therefore precisely there cannot be different kinds of human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, therefore, did not categorize the different kinds of human rights. It simply enumerated them in a different article.

The idea that human beings should have a set of basic rights and freedoms has deep roots in Britain. Landmark developments in Britain include:

  • The Magna Carta of 1215
  • The Habeas Corpus Act of 1679
  • The Bill of Rights of 1689
  • The atrocities of the Second World War made the protection of human rights an international priority.

The United Nations was founded in 1945. The United Nations allowed more than 50 Member States to contribute to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights formed the basis for the European Convention on Human Rights, adopted in 1950. British lawyers played a key role in drafting the European Convention on Human Rights, with Winston Churchill heavily involved. It protects the human rights of people in countries that belong to the Council of Europe, including the UK.

The expression ‘fundamental rights of man’ was stated in the declarations and constitutional instruments of many other states. The Virginia Declaration of Rights affirmed that all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights. Thus, the term human rights came somewhat late in the vocabulary of mankind. It is the 20th-century name for what has been traditionally known as’ natural rights’.

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, and are non-discriminatory, meaning that all human beings are entitled to them and cannot be excluded from them. There are a variety of human rights, they are as follows:

  • Civil rights (such as the rights to life, liberty and security),
  • Political rights (like rights to the protection of the law and equality before the law),
  • Economic rights (including rights to work, to own property and to receive equal pay),
  • Social rights (like rights to education and consenting marriages),
  • Cultural rights (including the right to freely participate in their cultural community), and
  • Collective rights (like the right to self-determination).
  • The right to life;
  • The right to liberty and security;
  • The right not to be submitted to slavery, servitude, forced labour or bonded labour;
  • The right not to be subjected to torture and/or cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment or punishment;
  • The right to be free from gendered violence;
  • The right to freedom of association;
  • The right to freedom of movement etc.

There are many aspects which can be covered under human rights having a wide area.

Legal Right

Legal Right is aright which is recognized and protected by the legal system. Legal rights have two important essential elements i.e, firstly, the holder of the rights, and secondly, the person bound by the duty. Only legal persons can be bound by duties or be the holder of legal rights. Every right, therefore, involves a relationship between two or more legal persons.

Legal right affects every citizen and equally available to all the citizens without discriminations. The legal right and legal remedy are co-related. The legal duty is the responsibility to others to act according to the law and legal system. People enjoying legal rights need to perform legal duty also equally. So, a legal duty is the responsibility of the citizens of a lawful country. 

  • According to Salmond:

A legal right is an “interest which is protected and recognized by the rule of law. It is an interest which has its duty and disregard of which is wrong”.

  • According to Gray:

A legal right is that power which the man has, to make a person or persons to do or restrains from doing a certain act or acts so far as the power arises from society imposing a legal duty upon the person or persons. He states that the “right is not the interest itself, it is the means to enjoy the interest secured”.

In the case of State of Rajasthan vs Union of India[4], the Supreme Court stated that “Legal rights in the strict sense are correlatives of legal duties and legal rights are defined as the interests which the law protects by imposing duties on other persons. But the legal right in the strict sense means right is the immunity from the legal power of another. Immunity is no subjection at all”.

Up to a great extent philosopher agreed that rights are derived from law and in order to determine the origin of rights, which is “State” and “Nature”. But, it is not conclusive that law is derived from state or nature. If any individual does wrong, they may get punished under the state law. It all depends upon the personal perspective. Thus, a legal right is an interest which is recognized and protected by a rule of legal justice and the violation of which would be a legal wrong. In the modern legal system rights are indispensable and able for all civil societies.

Fundamental Rights

Fundamental rights are basics human rights vested in all citizens without discrimination. At the time of commencement, the constitution of India had 7 Fundamental Rights which is borrowed from the Constitution of the USA. But later on, Right to property was abolished and now there are just 6 Fundamental Rights. Part III of the Indian Constitution deals with fundamental rights. Article 12 to 35 deals with fundamental rights which include The Fundamental Rights have been classified under the six categories-

  1. Right to Equality (Article 14-18)
  2. Right to Freedom (Article 19-22)
  3. Right against Exploitation (Article 23-24)
  4. Right to Freedom of Religion (Article 25-28)
  5. Cultural and Educational Rights (Article 29-30)
  6. Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32)

Some of the fundamental rights are available to all citizens while the rest are for all persons (citizens and foreigners). Fundamental rights are not absolute rights. They have reasonable restrictions which mean they are subject to the conditions of state security, public morality and decency and friendly relations with foreign countries. They are justiciable, implying they are enforceable by courts. People can approach the SC directly in case of violation of fundamental rights. Fundamental rights can be amended by the Parliament by a constitutional amendment but only if the amendment does not alter the basic structure of the Constitution.  Fundamental rights can be suspended during a national emergency. But, the rights guaranteed under Articles 20 and 21 cannot be suspended. The application of fundamental rights can be restricted in an area which has been placed under martial law or military rule.

Difference between  Human Rights v. Legal Right v. Fundamental Right

Basic Human RightFundamental RightLegal Right
MeaningHuman rights are moral principles or norms that describe certain standards of human behaviour and are regularly protected as natural and legal rights by the lawThe rights which are fundamental to the life of the citizens of a country are known as fundamental rightsLegal rights are those bestowed onto a person by acts and are statutory in nature and they can be repealed by another act subject to approval by parliament
Territorial Human rights are universal, without any limitation.Fundamental Rights are exists within a specific legal system, with the limitations that the law grants.Legal rights exist within the state or in central.  
Scope It is universal.It is country specificIt is according to legal system and country specific.
Includes Basic rights and absolute rightsBasic rights onlyAbsolute rights in accordance with law.
Origin Originated from the ideas of civilized nations.Originated from the views of democratic society.Originated from the custom and precedent.
EnforcementEnforceable by United Nation Organization.Enforceable by the court of law.Enforceable by the court of law
GuaranteeInternationally guaranteedConstitutionally guaranteedConstitutionally and Internationally guaranteed


All rights are interconnected with each other. There are little differences between all rights but their main objective is to secure and protect the basics rights of the citizens. These rights standardize the living standard of the people and protect them from violation of basics rights.


  1. The New Universe of Human Rights
  2. Justice P.N Bhagwati in Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, AIR 1978 S.C p. 597 at. 619.
  3. [1977] INSC 145 (6 May 1977)

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