Interviewer: Ms. Deepali Jain, VIPS
Mr. Chandy Oommen
Chandy Oommen son of Oommen Chandy the Indian Congress Party leader and also served as chief minister of Kerala.
Sir completed his graduation from campus law center, Delhi University. He also studied constitutional law from Christ University Bangalore. Currently pursuing guest lecturer at amity law school Noida and Vivekananda Institute of professional studies.
He is also handling certain cases of the High court and Supreme Court.
Question 1. What is the Indian Constitution and how fundamental rights work?
Answer. The Indian Constitution is first and foremost a social document and is aided by its Parts III & IV (Fundamental Rights & Directive Principles of State Policy, respectively) acting together, as its chief instruments and its conscience, in realizing the goals set by it for all the people. Granville Austin,(Cornerstone of a Nation )
They act as limitations on the state under article 13 of the constitution.
Article 13 of the constitution states- the State shall not make any law, which takes away or abridges the rights conferred by this Part and any law made in contravention of this clause shall, to the extent of the contravention, be void.
The term law has been defined to include not only legislation made by Parliament and the legislatures of the states, but also ordinances, rules, regulations, bye-laws, notifications, or customs having the force of law.
Question 2. Does “state” includes judiciary?
Answer. The definition of State under Article 12 of the Constitution does not explicitly mention the Judiciary.
Hence, a significant amount of controversy surrounds its status vis-a-vis Part III of the Constitution. Bringing the Judiciary within the scope of Article 12 would mean that it is deemed capable of acting in contravention of Fundamental Rights
It is well established that in its non-judicial functions, the Judiciary does come within the meaning of State. However, challenging a judicial decision which has achieved finality, under the writ jurisdiction of superior courts on the basis of violation of fundamental rights, remains open to debate
Question 3.What is the relation between 14,19 and 21?
Answer. It has been noted that impression of the exclusiveness of different fundamental rights particularly of 19 and 21 created by AKG case has been removed by Menaka Gandhi case through Bank Nationalization case.
Question 4. Prisoners are also provided with fundamental rights?
Answer. A prisoner is entitled to all his Fundamental rights unless his liberty has been constitutionally curtailed therefore any imposition of a major punishment within the prison system is conditional upon the observance of procedural safeguards enshrined within Article 21 even though he is not in a position to enjoy full panoply of Fundamental rights due to the very nature of regime to which he is lawfully committed.
Also added Prisoners have no fundamental right to escape from lawful custody and hence the presence of armed police guard causes no interference with the right to personal liberty. So also prisoners have no right to complain against live wire mechanism with which they are likely to come in contact only if they attempt to escape prison. Also, denial of amenities or their poor maintenance does not constitute an encroachment on the right to personal liberty.
Question 5. What is the meaning and concept of Right To Life?
Answer. ‘Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person.’ The right to life is undoubtedly the most fundamental of all rights. All other rights add quality to the life in question and depend on the pre-existence of life itself for their operation.
As human rights can only attach to living beings, one might expect the right to life itself to be in some sense primary, since none of the other rights would have any value or utility without it.
Life’ in Article 21 of the Constitution is not merely the physical act of breathing. It does not connote mere animal existence or continued drudgery through life. It has a much wider meaning which includes right to live with human dignity, right to livelihood, right to health, right to pollution free air, etc.