A constitutional right can be loosely defined as a freedom guaranteed by the state allowing an individual to do certain things without fear of persecution, without getting harassed or obstructed, either from the state, a group or another individuals. One commenter on my blog writes:
…while it is right for Ms Roy to question the status of J&K in Indian union, the court is also right in allowing FIR to be lodged…it is correct to have a court hearing on it and matter be decided in a non-emotive atmosphere.
In the case of MF Husain’s episode, the High Court ruling clearly exonerated MF Husain of any wrongdoing and let him go free. However, that did not stop various groups to continuously lodge complaints against the artists, or stop many police stations from issuing warrants for his arrest. Basically, Indians kicked out MF Husain by hounding him with thousands of cases, generating hundreds of arrest warrants against him, depriving him of his freedoms. He could have fought each case meticulously one after another, but then he would have wasted lot of his time and money, and ended up not doing what he wants to do – which is to paint.
A freedom sanctioned by the state of India also includes freedom from such frivolous and unnecessary prosecution, from such arrest warrants in each and every Indian city, and from related court summons. So that we don’t have to negotiate each freedom in a court of law, the Indian Constitution makes certain freedoms non-negotiable and gives them as rights to its citizens, in order to protect these citizens from harassment of the state or other groups or other individuals, so that these citizens can go ahead and live a free life without getting hindered and obstructed by other people.
MF Husain was acquitted in a court of law, but that did not stop Indians from hounding him with various legal cases, resulting in the artists fleeing the country. What the above commenter is asking is not something very different. If Arundhati Roy has to fight every case originating in every city and town of India against her, she will not have time to do anything else other fighting these cases.
Freedom means freedom from unwarranted hassles, prosecutions, and arrest warrants. A state should protect an individual from such hindrances. If a person is coming out of his apartment, and you don’t like him, you can file a case against him (if it can be allowed as is it is now). That person could fight it in the court, but then he would be effectively losing his freedoms, because he has to run to courts, has to answer to the arrest warrants, attend the proceedings, and by the time he wins the case, another case is registered against him by a cousin of yours, thereby repeating the whole procedure, ensuring he is deprived of his right to lead a normal life. That’s called harassment, using the stupid laws of this country, which allows such persecution to happen. A person who is free should be free of such harassments. And to allow that, stupid laws like the laws of sedition should be scrapped.