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Voting Right Not A Fundamental Right?

In India, it has been a common belief among most of the masses of the country that the Right to Vote guaranteed under article 326 of the Indian constitution is a fundamental right. But in reality, the right to vote is actually a constitutional right, not a fundamental right. The reason for the said statement voting right is not a fundamental right can be understood better, when one will understand the basic definition of fundamental and constitutional rights.

Fundamental rights are basic rights that are guaranteed to every citizen irrespective of caste, creed, religion, age, sex, economic status and political status, and so on. Here the word citizen also includes non-Indian in some cases and prisoners.

Right against discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth (Article 15); right to equality of opportunity in the matter of public employment (Article 16); freedom of speech and expression, assembly, association, movement, residence and profession (Article 19); cultural and educational rights (Article 29 and 30) are the certain rights which are been ensured to foreigners by the Indian constitution.

The fundamental rights that are guaranteed in part III of the Indian Constitution are also applicable to prisoners as the jail is a form of the correctional institution which helps the prisoners to become better human beings and hence ensuring of those crucial rights will play a significant role in the transformation of the prisoner with a negative, aggressive, dreaded like mentality to a better human being with a socio-sensible, matured and positive mentality.

As per article 14 like should be treated alike. Article 14 also upholds the concept of reasonable classification. The said article provides the basis for prison authorities to determine various categories of prisoners and their classification with the object of reformation. Indian constitution guarantees six freedoms to citizens of India, among which certain freedom can't be enjoyed by the prisoners such as Freedom of movement, freedom to the residence and to settle, and freedom of profession which cant be enjoyed by prisoners. The other freedoms conferred in this article are enjoyed by the prisoners.

The rights which are conferred to the citizens of India and are enshrined in the constitution but are not under the domain of part III of the Indian constitution are known as constitutional rights. The constitutional right is the supreme right guaranteed by the constitution of the India. If any law shows any kind of inconsistency with constitutional rights, the same law will be declared null and void. But a constitutional right is not a basic right and does not apply to everyone.

Constitutional right such as the right to vote or the universal adult suffrage is the right that has been guaranteed by the constitution to the citizens of the country under article 326 but to exercise that said right, the citizen of the country has to attain an age of 18. Constitutional rights can be created and also can be interpreted from time to time. By enacting the Sixty-first Amendment of the constitution of India,1988 the voting age of elections to the Lok Sabha and to the legislative assemblies of States has been lowered from 21 years to 18 years.

This was done by amending Article 326 of the Constitution, which concerns elections to the Lok Sabha and the Assemblies. Here age is a big factor to exercise the right to vote whereas is fundamental rights do not have any kind of factors to exercise it . The fundamental rights are applicable to everyone while constitutional rights are applicable on certain grounds. So hence right to vote is a constitutional right, not a fundamental right.

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