Fundamental rights grant the citizen’s dignity of life in an atmosphere of freedom and justice beyond the man made chains that had constricted their physical and mental horizons. Modern judiciary is regarded as an excellent product of civilization to put the concept of justice to work in the midst of different force with conflicting class or individual interests. Such conflicts make is difficult to bring about balance in the society for a peaceful and orderly association of citizens for their common good. An independent judiciary and strong democratic institutions are the best guarantee against assaults on the rights of the citizens. Fundamental rights in the constitution of Bangladesh inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948; the constitution of Bangladesh enumerated some basic civil and political rights common to most liberal democracies and also insures the rights to constitutional remedies for the protection of these rights. In addition, the fundamental rights of the constitution of Bangladesh are aimed at overturning the inequalities of past social practice.

What are Fundamental Rights?

The term fundamental right is a technical one, for when certain human rights are written down in a constitution and protected by constitutional guarantees they are called fundamental rights. They are called fundamental rights in that sense that they are placed in the supreme or fundamental law of the land which has a supreme society over all other law of the land. Article 26 to 47 of Bangladesh constitution confers a number of substantive fundamental rights on every citizen of Bangladesh e.g. the right to freedom of expression, assembly, association, movement and profession

Nature of Fundamental Rights

The Fundamental Rights were intended to serve three important purposes, namely:

1. to prevent the Executive from acting arbitrarily

2. to ensure some amount of security and protection to various types of minorities and

3. to promote and foster social revolution by establishing the conditions necessary for achieving justice, social, economic and political.

The immutability and permanence of the Fundamental Rights were sought to be established first on the reasoning that these rights are rooted in the doctrine of natural law and were, therefore, natural rights as expressed in the traditional parlance and secondly, on the ground that they have been given a place of permanence by the constitution within its scheme.

Classification of Fundamental Rights

The Fundamental Rights enumerated in the Bangladesh Constitution may be classified in to following three groups-

Absolute Rights

1.       Equality before law, (Art. 27).

2.       Discrimination on grounds of religion etc (Art.28).

3.       Equity of opportunity in public employment (Art.29).

4.       Prohibition of foreign titles etc (Art.30).

5.       Safe guards as to arrest and detention (Art.33).

6.       Prohibition of forced labour (Art.34).

7.       Protection in respect of trial and punishment (Art.35).

8.       Enforcement of Fundamental Rights (Art.44).

Rights on which reasonable restriction can be imposed

1.       Freedom of movement (Art.36).

2.       Freedom of Assembly (Art.37).

3.       Freedom of Association (Art.38).

4.       Freedom of thought and conscience and of speech (Art.39).

5.       Freedom of religion (Art. 40)

6.       Protection of home and correspondence.

Fundamental rights which has been practically left to the legislature

1. Right to protection of law (Art.31)

2. Protection of right to life and personal liberty (Art.32)

3. Right to lawful profession, occupation or business (Art.40)

4. Protection of property right (Art.42)

Fundamental Rights in Bangladesh Constitution

18 fundamental rights have been enumerated in the constitution commencing from Article 27 to 44. All of these rights are civil and political rights. These 18 fundamental rights may be firstly divided into two groups:

·        Rights granted to all persons-citizens and non citizens alike. These are six rights enumerated in Articles 32, 33, 34, 35, 41 and 44 of the constitution.

·        Rights granted to citizens of Bangladesh only, these are 12 rights enumerated in Articles 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 42 and 43.