India has ratified the following documents:
  • Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
  • Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • International Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
  • International Covenant Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The following documents further define the obligations of India:
  • Beijing +5: Further Actions and Initiatives to Implement the Beijing Platform for Action
  • Beijing Platform for Action
  • Cairo Programme of Action
  • UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS) Declaration of Commitment
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The documents listed above require India to protect and promote the following rights:

Right to development
Right to education
Right to equal protection of the law
Right to freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment
Right to highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
Right to housing
Right to just and favorable work conditions
Right to liberty and security of the person
Right to life and survival
Right to marry and found a family
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of age
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of disability (i.e. HIV positive)
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of marital status
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of race and ethnicity
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of sex and gender
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation
Right to private and family life
Right to receive and impart information
Right to the benefits of scientific progress

Constitutional Protection of Rights

The Constitution of India can be viewed at http://indiacode.nic.in/coiweb/welcome.html

The Constitution of India is an important tool for the protection and promotion of human rights.

The Constitution enables India to translate international agreements into domestic law, and obliges all branches of government to respect and ensure the rights it enunciates.

The Constitution provides for the protection of the following rights, among others. This empowers individuals in making reproductive health decisions, and helps create the economic and social conditions conducive to good sexual and reproductive health.

Right to an adequate standard of living (art. 39(a))
Right to education (art. 41)
Right to equality before the laws (art. 14)
Right to freedom of association (art. 19(1)(a))
Right to freedom of speech and expression (art. 19(1)(c))
Right to freedom of movement (art. 19(1)(e))
Right to just and favorable work conditions (art. 39(e), art. 43)
Right to life (art. 21)
Right to liberty and security (art. 21)
Right to maternity relief during employment (art. 42)
Right to non-discrimination on the grounds of race (art. 15)
Right to non-discrimination on the grounds of sex (art. 16)
Right to seek and obtain redress for violations of certain rights (art. 32)
Right to social security (art. 41)
Right to work (art. 41)

The Constitution includes other provisions that promote and protect rights relevant for good sexual and reproductive health.

The Constitution imposes a broad mandate on India to attempt to achieve improvements in its population's health, by obliging India to:

  • raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living, and to improve the level of public health (art. 47)
  • "strive to minimise the inequalities in income, and endeavour to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities, not only amongst individuals but also amongst groups of people residing in different areas or engaged in different vocations" (art. 38(2))
The Constitution protects women by:
  • authorizing India to initiate special provisions in favor of women and children (without violating the principle of equality before the law) (art. 15(3))
  • providing for a right to equal pay for equal work for men and women (art. 39(d))
  • granting a right to maternity relief during employment (art. 42)
  • imposing a duty on all citizens to "renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women" (art. 51A(e))
Finally, it empowers vulnerable individuals by:
  • prohibiting trafficking in human beings (art. 23)
  • obliging India to provide special assistance to "the weaker sections of the people" (art. 46)
  • mandating India to provide youth with development opportunities, and protect youth and childhood (art. 39(f))