Preamble to the Constitution of India promises dignity of citizens. Wh...

  Dec 20, 2016

Preamble to the Constitution of India promises dignity of citizens. What does it mean and what has been done in this direction by the State?

Ethical and political discussions use the concept of dignity to express the idea that everyone has an innate right to be valued, respected, and to receive ethical treatment. In politics it is used in the context of the treatment of oppressed and vulnerable groups and peoples. Supreme Court held that right to life guaranteed under Art.21 of our Constitution means life with dignity. Fundamental Duties under Article 51A exhort Indian citizens “to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women”. Abolition of untouchability (Art.17), abolition of child labour (Art.24) are also examples of enabling dignity to the lives of the oppressed and the vulnerable. In  2011, hearing a petition on behalf of Aruna Shanbaug, the Supreme Court ruled “passive euthanasia” may be allowed in specific cases  so that some people can “die with dignity”.

Preamble to the Constitution, FRs and DPSPs assert human dignity and in its pursuit promise justice- social, political and economic.

Many Supreme Court verdicts support human dignity, the latest being making the unwed mother legal guardian of the child. The rights that were drawn from Art.21- right to life- are all meant to enhance human dignity- for example, right to elementary education.