Report of the Sub-Committee on Fundamental Rights

16 April 1947

The Sub-Committee on Fundamental Rights was one of the five sub-committees appointed by the larger Advisory Committee on 27 February 1947. Chaired by J.B. Kripalani, the 10-member body also included Hansa Mehta, B.R. Ambedkar, Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar and M.R. Masani.

The Sub-Committee collected and discussed the various drafts and notes on Fundamental Rights prepared by legal luminaries like B.N. Rau and K.T. Shah, and produced a final Report which was submitted to the larger Advisory Committee on 16 April 1947.

The Report consisted of 45 Articles dealing with all aspects of Fundamental Rights, providing for rights to equality, freedom, education and constitutional remedies, among others. Significantly, it also recommended the division of rights into legally enforceable and non-enforceable. The latter were to function as fundamental principles of social policy, meant to guide the State.

The Advisory Committee adopted these recommendations, split them into an interim and a supplementary report, and presented them to the Constituent Assembly on 29 April and 30 August 1947 respectively. These were to form the basis of enforceable Fundamental Rights and non-enforceable Directive Principles in the final version of the Constitution.




1. Unless the context otherwise requires :

(i) “The State” includes the legislatures and the governments of the Union and the units and all local or other authorities within the territories of the Union.

(ii) “The Union” means the Union of India.

(iii) “The law of the Union” includes any law made by the Union legislature and any existing Indian law as in force within the Union or any part thereof.

Part I

Application of laws


2. All existing laws or usages in force within the territories of the Union inconsistent with the rights guaranteed under this Constitution shall stand abrogated to the extent of such inconsistency, nor shall the Union or any unit make any law taking away or abridging any such right.



3. Every person born or naturalized in the Union and subject to the jurisdiction thereof shall be a citizen of the Union. Further provisions governing Union citizenship may be made by the law of the Union.

Right to Equality


4. There shall be no discrimination against any citizen on grounds of religion. race, caste, language or sex. In particular, there shall be no discrimination against any person on any of the grounds aforesaid in regard to the use of wells, tanks, roads, schools and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of public funds or dedicated to the use of the general public.


5. There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens:

(i) in matters of public employment;

(ii) in the exercise or carrying on of any occupation, trade, business or profession; and no citizen shall on any of the grounds mentioned in the preceding section be ineligible for public office or be prohibited from acquiring, holding or disposing of property on exercising or carrying on any occupation, trade, business or profession within the Union.

Nothing herein contained shall prevent a law being made prescribing that the incumbent of an office to manage, administer or superintend the affairs of a religious or denominational institution shall be a member of a particular religion, persuasion or denomination.

Rights Relating to Religion


6. Any enactment, regulation, judgment, order, custom or interpretation of law. in force immediately before the commencement of this Constitution, by which any penalty, disadvantage or disability is imposed upon or any discrimination is made against any citizen on any of the grounds mentioned in section 4 shall cease to have effect.


7. “Untouchability” in any form is abolished and the practice thereof shall be an offence.


8. No titles except those denoting an office or a profession shall be conferred by the Union. No citizen of the Union and no person holding any office of profit or trust under the State shall, without the consent of the Union, accept any present, emolument, office or title of any kind from any foreign State.

National Language


9. Hindustani, written either in the Devanagari or the Persian script at the option of the citizen, shall, as the national language, be the first official language of the Union. English shall be the second official language for such period as the Union may by law determine. All official records of the Union shall be kept in Hindustani in both the scripts and also in English until the Union by law otherwise provides.

Rights to Freedom


10. There shall be liberty for the exercise of the following rights subject to public order and morality or to the existence of grave emergency declared to be such by the Government of the Union or the unit concerned whereby the security of the Union or the unit, as the case may be, is threatened:

(a) The right of every citizen to freedom of speech and expression.

The publication or utterance of seditious, obscene, slanderous, libellous or defamatory matter shall be actionable or punishable in accordance with law.

(b) The right of the citizens to assemble peaceably and without arms.

Provision may be made by law to prevent or control meetings which are likely to cause a breach of the peace or are a danger or nuisance to the general public or to prevent or control meetings in the vicinity of any chamber of legislature.

(c) The right of the citizens to form associations or unions.

Provision may be made by law to regulate and control in public interest the exercise of the foregoing right provided that no such provision shall I contain any political, religious or class discrimination.

(d) The right of every citizen to the secrecy of his correspondence.
Provision may be made by law to regulate the interception or detention of articles and messages in course of transmission by post, telegraph or otherwise on the occurrence of any public emergency or in the interests of public safety or tranquillity.

(e) The right of every citizen to move freely throughout the Union.

(f) The right of every citizen to reside and settle in any part of the Union, to acquire property and to follow any occupation, trade, business or profession. Provision may be made by law to impose such reasonable restrictions as may be necessary in public interests.


11. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


12. No person shall be deprived of his life, liberty or property without due process of law nor shall any person be denied the equal treatment of the laws within the territories of the Union:

Provided that nothing herein contained shall prevent the Union Legislature from legislating in respect of foreigners.


13. (1) Every citizen not below 21 years of age shall have the right to vote at any election to the Legislature of the Union and of any unit thereof, or, where the Legislature is bicameral, to the lower chamber of the Legislature, subject to such disqualifications on the ground of mental incapacity, corrupt practice or crime as may be imposed, and subject to such qualifications relating to residence within the appropriate constituency, as may be required, by or under the law.

(2) The law shall provide for free and secret voting and for periodical elections to the Legislature.

(3) The superintendence, direction and control of all elections to the Legislature whether of the Union or of a unit, including the appointment of Election Tribunals, shall be vested in an Election Commission for the Union or the unit, as the case may be, appointed, in all cases, in accordance with the law of the Union.


14. (1) Subject to regulation by the law of the Union trade, commerce, and intercourse among the units by and between the citizens shall be free:
Provided that any unit may by law impose reasonable restrictions in the interest of public order, morality or health or in an emergency :
Provided that nothing in this section shall prevent any unit from imposing on goods imported from other units the same duties and taxes to which the goods produced in the unit are subject:

Provided further that no preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue by a unit to one unit over another.

[N.B.-A proviso will have to be added to meet the difficulty pointed out in para 6 of our report.]

(2) Trade, commerce or intercourse within the territories of the Union by or with any person other than the citizens shall be regulated and controlled by the law of the Union.


15. (1) (a) Slavery,

(b) traffic in human beings,

(c) the form of forced labour as begar,

(d) any form of involuntary servitude except as a as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted,
are hereby prohibited and any contravention of this prohibition shall be an offence.


Compulsory service under any general scheme of education does not fall within the purview of this clause.

(2) Conscription for military service or training, or for any work in aid of military operation is hereby prohibited.

(3) No person shall engage any child below the age of 14 years to work in any mine or factory or any hazardous employment.


16. All persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience, to freedom of religious worship and to freedom to profess religion subject to public order, morality or health and to the other provisions of this chapter.

Explanation I 

The wearing and carrying of kirpans shall be deemed to be included in the profession of the Sikh religion.

Explanation II

The above rights shall not include any economic, financial, political or other secular activities that may be associated with religious worship. 

Explanation III

No person shall refuse the performance of civil obligations or duties on the ground that his religion so requires. 


17. Every religious denomination shall have the right to manage its own affairs in matters of religion and to own, acquire and administer property, movable and immovable, and to establish and maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes consistently with the provisions of this chapter.

The right to build places of worship in any place shall not be denied except for reasonable cause.


18. No person may be compelled to pay taxes the proceeds of which are specifically appropriated to religious purposes.


19. No person attending any school maintained or receiving aid out of public funds shall be compelled to take part in the religious instruction that may be given in the school or to attend religious worship held in the school or in premises attached thereto.


20. Any property used for or in connection with religious worship shall not be taken or acquired by the State, save for necessary works of public utility and on payment of just compensation.


21. No person under the age of 18 shall be made to join or profess any religion other than the one in which he was born or be initiated into any religious order involving a loss of civil status.


22. Conversion from one religion to another brought about by coercion or undue influence shall not be recognized by law and the exercise of such coercion shall be an offence.

Rights to Education


23. Every citizen is entitled as of right to free primary education and it shall be the duty of the State to provide within a period of 10 years from the commencement of this Constitution for free and compulsory primary education for all children until they complete the age of 14 years.


24. Every citizen is entitled, as part of his right to free primary education, to have facilities provided for learning the national language either in the Devanagari or the Persian script at his option.


25. Equal opportunities of education shall be open to all citizens: 

Provided that nothing herein contained shall preclude the State from providing special facilities for educationally backward sections of the population.

Miscellaneous Rights


26. No property, movable or immovable, of any person or corporation, including any interest in any commercial or industrial undertaking, shall be taken or acquired for public use unless the law provides for the payment of just compensation for the property taken or acquired and specifies the principles on which and the manner in which the compensation is to be determined. 


27. (1) No person shall be convicted of crime except for violation of a law in force at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence, nor be subjected to a penalty greater than that applicable at the time of the commission of the offence.

(2) No person shall be tried for the same offence more than once nor be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.


28. No person shall be subjected to prolonged detention preceding trial, to excessive bail, or unreasonable refusal thereof, or to inhuman or cruel punishment.


29. (1) Full faith and credit shall be given throughout the territories of the Union to the public acts, records and judicial proceedings of the Union and every unit thereof, and the manner in which and the conditions under which such acts. records and proceedings shall be proved and the effect thereof determined shall be prescribed by the law of the Union. 

(2) Final civil judgments delivered in any unit shall be executed throughout the Union subject to such conditions as may be imposed by the law of the Union.

Right to Constitutional Remedies


30.(1) The right to move the Supreme Court for the enforcement of any of the rights guaranteed by this part is hereby guaranteed. 

(2) For the purpose of enforcing any such rights, the Supreme Court shall have power to issue directions in the nature of the writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari

(3) The privilege of these writs shall not be suspended unless when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, or other grave emergency, the public safety may require it.


31. The Union Legislature may by law determine to what extent any of the rights guaranteed by this part shall be restricted or abrogated for the members of the armed forces or forces charged with the maintenance of public order so as to ensure fulfilment of their duties and the maintenance of discipline.


32. The Union Legislature shall make laws to give effect to those provisions of this part which require such legislation and to prescribe punishments for those acts which are declared to be offences in this part and are not already punishable.

Part II


33. The principles of policy set forth in this part are intended for the guidance of the State. While these principles shall not be cognizable by any court, they are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country and their application in the making of laws shall be the duty of the State.


34. The State shall strive to promote the welfare of the whole people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of the national life.


35. The State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing-

  1. that all persons shall be equal before the law; 
  2. (that the citizens, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means of livelihood;
  3. that the ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to subserve the common good;
  4. that the operation of free competition shall not be allowed to result in the concentration of the ownership and control of essential commodities in a few individuals to the common detriment; 
  5. that there shall be equal pay for equal work for both men and women:
  6. that the strength and health of workers, men and women, and the tender age of children shall not be abused and that citizens shall not be forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age and strength; 
  7. that childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment. 

36. The State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in case of unemployment, old age, sickness, disablement, and other cases of undeserved want. 


37. The State shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief for workers.


38. The State shall endeavour to secure by suitable legislation, economic organization and in other ways, to all workers, industrial or otherwise, work, a living wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure and social and cultural opportunities. 


39. The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code.


40. The State shall endeavour to secure that marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes and shall be maintained through mutual co-operation, with the equal rights of husband and wife as a basis. 


41. The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the aboriginal tribes and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.


42. The State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties.


43. It shall be the obligation of the State to protect every monument or place or object of artistic or historic interest, declared by the law of the Union to be of national importance, from spoliation, destruction, removal, disposal or export, as the case may be, and to preserve and maintain according to the law of the Union all such monuments or places or objects.


44. The State shall promote internal peace and security by the elimination of every cause of communal discord.


45. The State shall promote international peace and security by the prescription of open, just and honourable relations between nations, by the firm establishment of the understandings of international law as the actual rule of conduct among governments and by the maintenance of justice and the scrupulous respect for treaty obligations in the dealings of organized people with one another.