NCERT Class 11 Political Science Political Theory Chapter 5: Rights

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Watch Video Lecture on YouTube: Political Theory: Rights | English | NCERT Class 11 Political Science Chapter 5

Political Theory: Rights | English | NCERT Class 11 Political Science Chapter 5

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What are Rights?

What Are Rights?

What are Rights?

What Are Rights?

  • The assumption behind human rights is that all persons are entitled to certain things simply because they are human beings. As a human being each person is unique and equally valuable. This means that all persons are equal, and no one is born to serve others.

  • Immanuel Kant, this simple idea had a deep meaning. It meant that every person has dignity and ought to be so treated by virtue of being a human being. A person may be uneducated, poor or powerless. He may even be dishonest or immoral. Yet, he remains a human being and deserves to be given some minimum dignity.

  • We should be treating others as we would like to be treated ourselves.

  • Should make sure that we don’t treat the other person as means to our ends – not equate them to pen or car (not respect just because they are useful, but they are human)

What Are Rights?

  • Entitlement or justified claim

  • Are due to us

  • Others must recognize it as legitimate

Human rights for all

Human Rights for All

right to vote, the right to form political parties, right to contest elections, right to information, right to clean air or the right to safe drinking water

Want vs. Rights

Want vs. Rights

Want vs. Rights

I may want to wear the clothes of my choice to school rather than the prescribed uniform. I may want to stay out late at night, but this does not mean that I have a right to dress in any way I like at school or to return home when I choose to do so.

Why Rights Are Important?

I & Others Important for life & dignity Necessary for well being

Why Rights are Important?

Why Rights Are Important?

  • For example, the right to livelihood may be considered necessary for leading a life of dignity. Being gainfully employed gives a person economic independence and thus is central for his/her dignity.

  • Have basic needs fulfilled

  • Have employment

  • Can express opinions

  • Be creative

  • Freedom of expression

  • Necessary for wellbeing – develop talent, capacity to reason, informed choice – education as a universal right

  • Right to inhale/smoke/take drugs – injurious to health and is not right – also change our behaviour

Origin of Rights

Origin of Rights

Origin of Rights

  • The rights of men were derived from natural law. This meant that rights were not conferred by a ruler or a society, rather we are born with them. As such these rights are inalienable and no one can take these away from us. They identified three natural rights of man: the right to life, liberty and property – born with it

  • All other rights are derived form it; no state can take it away - oppose the exercise of arbitrary power by states and governments and to safeguard individual freedom

  • UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights – life and dignity – equal opportunities to be free – freedom of speech, rebel against oppression, promote friendly relations, dignity of individual, social progress, observe human rights and fundamental freedom.

  • Slavery is abolished but gender discrimination still exists

  • Need to protect environment and demands for rights to clean air, water, sustainable development

  • Pop star Bob Geldof’s recent appeal to western governments to end poverty in Africa – social change and reform

Claims recognized by state

Legal Rights and State

Legal Rights and State

  • Constitutions represent the highest law of the land

  • Bill of rights

  • India – Fundamental Rights

  • Right in constitution – basic or supplemental because of particular history and customs of nation - provision to ban untouchability

  • Rights have steadily been expanded and reinterpreted to include previously excluded groups (make it simple)

  • People make demands upon state - When I assert my right to education, I call upon the state to make provisions for my basic education – open schools, fund scholarships (done by others) – but main aim of state is reaching education to all (it is ensured by state)

  • Rights place an obligation on state to act in certain fashion – what states must do – what it should not - my right to life obliges the state to make laws that protect me from injury by others. It calls upon the state to punish those who hurt me or harm me (role of police)

  • right to life means a right to a good quality of life – clean environment

  • Rights not only indicate what the state must do, they also suggest what the state must refrain from doing. My right to liberty as a person, for instance, suggests that the state cannot simply arrest me at its own will. If it wishes to put me behind bars, it must defend that action – arrest warrant

  • Our rights ensure that authority of the state is exercised without violating sanctity of individual life and liberty

Kinds of Rights

Kinds of Rights

Kinds of Rights

  • Political rights give to the citizens the right to equality before law and the right to participate in the political process. They include such rights as the right to vote and elect representatives, the right to contest elections, the right to form political parties or join them. Political rights are supplemented by civil liberties

  • Civil liberties - right to a free and fair trial, the right to express one’s views freely, the right to protest and express dissent

  • Our rights of political participation can only be exercised fully when our basic needs, of food, shelter, clothing, health, are met.

  • Economic right – low incomes, receive housing and medical facilities from the state; in others, unemployed persons receive a certain minimum wage

  • Cultural rights - primary education in one’s mother tongue, the right to establish institutions for teaching one’s language and culture, are today recognized as being necessary for leading a good life

  • primarily the right to life, liberty, equal treatment, and the right to political participation are seen as basic rights that must receive priority, other conditions that are necessary for leading a decent life, are being recognized as justified claims or rights

Responsibilities with Rights

Responsibilities with Rights

Responsibilities with Rights

  • Sustainable development- Protect ozone layer, minimize air and water pollution, maintain green cover by planting new trees and prevent cutting down of forests,maintain the ecological balance

  • If I say that I must be given the right to express my views I must also grant the same right to others. If I do not want others to interfere in the choices I make — the dress I wear or the music I listen to — I must refrain from interfering in the choices that others, make

  • My rights are limited by the principle of equal and same rights for all

  • Conflict - For instance, my right to freedom of expression allows me to take pictures; however, if I take pictures of a person admitted in hospital without consent, that would be a violation of his right to privacy.

  • Vigilance - increased restrictions which many governments are imposing on the civil liberties of citizens on the grounds of national security. Protecting national security may be defended as necessary for safeguarding the rights and wellbeing of citizens. But at what point could the restrictions imposed as necessary for security themselves become a threat to the rights of people. Should a country facing the threat of terrorist bombings be allowed to curtail the liberty of citizens?

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