Right To Constitutional Remedies

The Right to Constitutional Remedies, enshrined in Article 32 of the Indian Constitution, is one of the most significant and powerful provisions. It guarantees the protection and enforcement of all other fundamental rights. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, one of the principal architects of the Indian Constitution, famously referred to Article 32 as the “heart and soul” of the Constitution.

Understanding Article 32

Article 32 provides individuals with the right to approach the Supreme Court directly if they believe their fundamental rights have been violated. It empowers the Supreme Court to issue writs for the enforcement of these rights, ensuring that they are not just theoretical but practical and enforceable.

Types of Writs under Article 32

The Supreme Court can issue several types of writs to safeguard fundamental rights:

  1. Habeas Corpus: A writ requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court, especially to secure the person’s release unless lawful grounds are shown for their detention.
  2. Mandamus: A writ issued by a court to compel a public authority to perform a duty that it is failing to perform.
  3. Prohibition: A writ directing a subordinate to stop doing something the law prohibits.
  4. Certiorari: A writ by which a higher court reviews a decision of a lower court.
  5. Quo Warranto: A writ requiring a person to show by what warrant an office or franchise is held, claimed, or exercised.

Justiciability and Scope

Article 32 is justiciable, meaning individuals can approach the court if their rights are infringed. This ensures the supremacy of the Constitution by making the judiciary the protector of these rights. It has the widest scope, as it can be invoked for the enforcement of all fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

The Importance of the Right to Constitutional Remedies

Guardian of Fundamental Rights

Article 32 acts as the protector of all other fundamental rights. Without the right to constitutional remedies, fundamental rights would be mere declarations without any enforceability. This article ensures that these rights are actionable and provides a mechanism to address grievances.

Judicial Review

Article 32 empowers the Supreme Court to exercise judicial review, a process by which the judiciary can examine the constitutionality of legislative acts and executive orders. This helps maintain the balance of power among the branches of government and ensures that no law or action can infringe upon fundamental rights.

Accessible Justice

The provision for direct access to the Supreme Court for enforcement of fundamental rights makes justice more accessible. It bypasses lower courts, which can be time-consuming, ensuring swift redressal of grievances. This is particularly crucial for the protection of individual liberties and the rule of law.

Landmark Judgments

Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (1973)

In this landmark case, the Supreme Court ruled that the basic structure of the Constitution cannot be altered by any amendment. The right to constitutional remedies under Article 32 was affirmed as an integral part of this basic structure, underscoring its critical importance.

Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India (1978)

This case expanded the interpretation of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21. The Supreme Court held that any procedure depriving a person of their rights must be fair, just, and reasonable, thereby broadening the scope of Article 32 for the protection of individual rights.

A.K. Gopalan v. State of Madras (1950)

Although an early decision, this case initially restricted the scope of Article 21 by holding that it did not encompass legislative action. However, subsequent interpretations and the evolution of judicial thinking have expanded its scope, reinforcing the role of Article 32 in protecting against arbitrary actions by the State.

Challenges and Contemporary Relevance

Delays and Accessibility

Despite the robust framework, there are challenges such as judicial delays and accessibility issues. The sheer volume of cases can lead to prolonged waits for justice. Efforts to streamline judicial processes and increase access to legal aid are crucial for addressing these challenges.

Expanding Horizons

The interpretation of fundamental rights continues to evolve. Issues like privacy, digital rights, and environmental protection are now being considered under the ambit of fundamental rights, necessitating a dynamic and responsive judicial approach.

Balancing Rights and Security

In the context of national security, sometimes fundamental rights can be in tension with the state’s security measures. Balancing individual liberties with collective security remains a challenging aspect for the judiciary.


The Right to Constitutional Remedies is the cornerstone of the Indian Constitution, ensuring the enforceability of fundamental rights and empowering individuals to seek justice. It underscores the commitment of the Indian legal system to uphold the rule of law and protect individual liberties. As India progresses, the continued relevance and robust implementation of Article 32 will be crucial in safeguarding democratic values and ensuring that fundamental rights are not just theoretical declarations but actionable entitlements.

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