Fundamental rights are nothing but the basic human rights of all human beings-illustrate and explain


-illustrate and explain.



Fundamental rights are nothing but the basic human rights of all human beings. “Fundamental” the term itself connotes some meaning. It means that basic or essential conditions. At least these minimum requirements have to enjoy by a citizen of a state. It depends on the status of a state. Therefore the respective Constitutions of the states have been recognized fundamental rights accordingly.

Special characteristics of Fundamental rights

  • These rights are only against the State and not against a private body/person.
  • Thought all Fundamental rights are human rights all human rights are not Fundamental rights.
  • Only the citizens of a State are entitled to enjoy Fundamental rights

The Constitution of Bangladesh does not explicitly provide for the right to healthy environment either in the directive principles or as a fundamental right. Article 31 states that every citizen has the right to protection from ‘action detrimental to the life liberty, body, reputation, or property’, unless these are taken in accordance with law. It added that the citizens and the residents of Bangladesh have the inalienable right to be treated in accordance with law. If these rights are taken away, compensation must be paid. Article 32 states: “No person shall be deprived of life or personal liberty saves in accordance with law”. These two articles together incorporate the fundamental ‘right to life’. The following discussion suggests that this right to life includes the right to a healthy environment capable of supporting the growth of a meaningful ‘existence of life’.

In 1994, public interest litigation was initiated before the Supreme Court dealing with air and noise pollution. The Supreme Court agreed with the argument presented by the petitioner that the constitutional ‘right to life’ does extend to include right to a safe and healthy environment. [26] In a recent case, the Appellate Division and the High Court Division of the Supreme Court have dealt with the question in a positive manner. The Appellate Division, in the case of Dr. M. Farooque v. Bangladesh [27] has reiterated Bangladesh’s commitment in the ‘context of engaging concern for the conservation of environment, irrespective of the locality where it is threatened.’ (Afzal, CJ, para. 17). This was a full court consensus judgment and the court decided:

“Articles 31 and 32 of our constitution protect right to life as a fundamental right. It encompasses within its ambit, the protection and preservation of environment, ecological balance free from pollution of air and water, sanitation without which life can hardly be enjoyed. Any act or omission contrary thereto will be violative of the said right to life.” (Chowdhury,J, Para.101)

The High Court Division in the same case [28] expanded the fundamental ‘right to life’ to include anything that affects life, public health and safety. It includes ‘the enjoyment of pollution free water and air, improvement of public health by creating and sustaining conditions congenial to good health and ensuring quality of life consistent with human dignity.’ The court added that, if right to life means the right to protect health and normal longevity of any ordinary human being, then it could be said that the fundamental right to life of a person has been threatened or endangered.

These two cases show that the courts are willing to establish the right to a clean environment. Another case [29] presently pends before the High Court deals with commercial shrimp cultivation and its adverse effect on the socio-economic development and on sustainable development. According to the petitioner, commercial shrimp cultivation involves the ‘usage of various chemicals and saline water’..which ‘eventually makes the soil infertile and unsuitable for soil cultivation.[I]t further damages the environment by causing stunted growth of the trees or their death, reducing the grazing areas for cattle by increasing water logging, and adversely affecting the size of the open water fish catch as a result of the dumping of chemicals into the river.. Shrimp cultivation will cause irreparable ecological and environmental damage to the community and to the livelihoods of the inhabitants of the said area.’ The petitioners submitted that the government orders regarding commercial shrimp farming frustrated the spirit of Environmental Policy 1992 and breach of article 32 of the Constitution. [30]

The Constitution of Bangladesh provides that all are equal before the law and shall be accorded equal protection of the law. Equality before law means that, among equals, law shall be equal and shall be equally administered. Equal protection of law means that all persons in like circumstances shall be treated alike and no discrimination shall be made in conferment or imposition of liabilities. According to the n Constitution, article 14 states that: ‘The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection before the laws within the territory of .’ If article14 is infringed, it can have an impact on the environment and human rights. The urban environmental group frequently takes resort to article 14 to quash ‘arbitrary’ municipal permissions for construction that are contrary to development regulations. Article 14 can be used to challenge government sanctions for mining and other activities with high human rights and environmental impact, where the permissions are arbitrarily granted without adequate consideration of environmental impacts. [38]

Article 25 of the Constitution deals with right to equality. It states that all citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law and that there shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex alone. The Constitution of Bangladesh provides similar rights to the citizens. Article 27 provides that all citizens are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of law. The principle requires that no person or class of persons shall be denied the same protection of law which is enjoyed by other persons in like circumstances in their lives, liberty and property and pursuit of happiness. [39] Right to equality along with the right to life can guarantee the right to a healthy environment. [40]

The right to equality before the law does not require that all persons must be treated exactly the same way. What is required is that the justification for differentiation must be legitimate. So far, in Bangladesh and, there is no application of this fundamental right for the protection of environmental human rights. Although, it is unlikely that this provision will be used on its own, it can help to strengthen a claim based on the right to life or the right to property.


A right to property implies that an owner is entitled to non-interference in the enjoyment of his property, in particular, non-interference by the Government. The individual right guaranteed through the Constitution is a private property right. The owner has the overall ownership over the land. Property right begins where the government’s right to interfere ends. This is, in another word, known as individual autonomy.

In, this right was formally removed from the fundamental rights in 1979. This right is now protected by article 300A of the Constitution and does not have the same procedural advantages of other fundamental rights. [41] This amendment was due to multiple lawsuits against different government agencies by the indigenous people. These tribal people were being evicted from their own property as their lands were being used for other development projects. [42] Article 42 of the Constitution of Bangladesh provides that subject to any restriction imposed by law, every citizen shall have the right to acquire, hold, transfer or otherwise dispose of the property. [43] Article 23 of the I Constitution asserts that ‘every citizen shall have the right to acquire, hold and dispose of property in any part of , subject to the Constitution and any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the public interest’.

Moreover It says,

(1) All persons are equal before the law and are entitled to the equal protection of the law.

(2) No citizen shall be discriminated against on the grounds of race, religion, language, caste, sex, political opinion, place of birth or any such grounds:

Provided that it shall be lawful to require a person to acquire within a reasonable time sufficient knowledge of any language as a qualification for any employment or office in the Public, Judicial or Local Government Service or in the service of any public corporation, where such knowledge is reasonably necessary for the discharge of the duties of such employment or office:

Provided further that it shall be lawful to require a person to have sufficient knowledge of any language as a qualification for any such employment of office where no function of that employment or office can be discharged otherwise than with knowledge of that language.

(3) No person shall, on the grounds of race, religion, language, caste, sex or any one such ground, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to access to shops, public restaurants, hotels, and places of public entertainment and places of public worship of his own religion.

(4) Nothing in this Article shall prevent special provision being made, by law, subordinate legislation or executive action, for the advancement of women, children or disabled persons.

Once the applicant is in the court with a claim in public interest, the most important question for the court is to decide whether the applicant should be allowed access to the judicial process. Unlike n courts, [56] the Bangladeshi and  courts apply ‘aggrieved person’ test, [57] which means a right or recognised interest that is direct and personal to the complainant. In , the Constitution does not provide any specific test for standing to enforce fundamental rights and n courts apply the ‘sufficient interest’ test. Absence of any specific rule of standing is one of the reasons behind the development of PIL in . On the other hand, the Constitution of  and Bangladesh does suggest a specific test to determine standing in writ petitions.

Although in the 1990’s, the judiciary of Bangladesh [58] and  [59] offered a liberal view of standing, there is no guideline for public interest cases. The uncertainty regarding who may or may not have standing could cause particular controversy. It could lead to very expensive litigation over mere procedure when the resources could be better spent on the merits.  There may be groups, not having the relevant relationship, but with a more general objective, that may seek to undertake the litigation. The uncertainty in the nature of this test makes it difficult to have homogeneity in the PIL decisions. There is no clear and practical guide for identifying the cases in which a particular interest will give standing to a plaintiff to complain. This adds to the length and cost of the litigation.

It shows that, in,  and Bangladesh, the constitutional definition of property is very restricted. The article relating to property right provides that no property shall be compulsorily acquired, nationalized or requisitioned save by lawful authority. The restriction put on the right to transfer property has to be reasonable, so that the Parliament will not have unfettered power to impose any restriction it chooses. In spite of the conservative meaning, there is a scope of using this provision effectively in the protection of the environment. This work could effectively be done by the promulgation of land management laws and through the judiciary’s balancing act between individual property rights and community interest. Though property right has not been considered thoroughly in any public interest cases, this right could be used for the protection of the environment and for sustainable development.


Law of Bangladesh.(n.d.).retrieved from

Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.(n.d.). retrieved from


Constituins and constitution of Bangladesh provides that any law depriving a person,citizen or non citizen, of personal liberty must not be arbitrary and must be resonable and fair.nd (article)

Retrieve from: