Rights, Introduction Political Science YouTube Lecture Handouts

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Rights Political Science

Title: Rights


  • Rights are socially established ways of acting or ways of being treated (or, alternatively, such ways as ought to be so established) ; more specifically, a right so understood is something that is
    • fairly determinate and that
    • can be similarly distributed on an individual basis to each and all of those who are relevantly said to be right holders. A right is always regarded as
    • a beneficial way of acting or of being treated both for the right holder and, more generally, for society.
  • Thus, it is or should be something socially accepted – recognized and protected in given societies, and such acceptance would be deemed reasonable, even by outsiders, in that it made explanatory sense.
  • Here the way of acting or of being treated in question could be exhibited, plausibly, as a means to, or as a part of, accomplishing some interest or perceived benefit or other good (or desirable) thing.
  • Accordingly, normative directives could be issued to others, to those who are not right holders, and further initiatives could be taken as a feature of any such successful claim to rights status.
  • Rights thus understood can be ranged under three main headings: they can be liberties of action (for example, the freedom to travel) but also avoidances of injury (such as the injury of bodily harm) or even the receipt of services (including such things as public schooling, retirement benefits, and medical care) .

Gandhi՚s Explanation of Rights

“I understand democracy as something that gives the weak the same chance as the strong.” - M K Gandhi

M K Gandhi
  • Along with freedom and justice, the third most important thing, which requires special mention in context of Gandhi՚s views on democracy, relates to fundamental rights of citizens.
  • As known to us, Gandhi always by laying great stress on morality and ethics in individual and social life -both, and calling on people to make Ahimsa the centre of their day-to-day activities, spoke of duties time and again.
  • Undoubtedly, he accorded preference to duties over the rights. For example, he said, “In Swarajya based on Ahimsa people need not know their rights, but it is necessary for them to know their duties.” [Harijan, March 25,1939]


(1) Fundamental rights in the constitution of India cannot be encroached in any condition?

(2) Explanation of rights is incomplete without their attachment to duties?

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