By going through these Maharashtra State Board Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 2 Liberty and Rights students can recall all the concepts quickly.

Maharashtra State Board Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 2 Liberty and Rights

Political concepts involve an analytical study of ideas that are central to political thought. In this chapter, we will examine the political concepts of Liberty and Rights. These deal with the status of the individual in society.

We will study the nature of what the concept of liberty should include i.e., views of thinkers like Hobbes, Locke. Rousseau, Mill, Bentham, classification, etc. This chapter also includes the study of rights, its classification, etc.

Meaning And Nature Of Liberty:
The term liberty is derived from the Latin word ‘liber’ which means ‘free’. Thus liberty means freedom. People are said to have liberty when the rights and duties of the citizens in a democracy are secured by the State. Liberty is an essential feature of a democracy.

Liberty has been explained in different ways such as an absence of restraints, freedom of choice, and availability of favourable conditions towards the attainment of happiness. It is also understood as self-rule i.e., freedom from foreign rule.

Maharashtra Board Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 2 Liberty and Rights

Views Of Different Thinkers About Liberty:
Thomas Hobbes: He explained liberty as the freedom that an individual has to act without restraint.

John Locke: He explained liberty within the context of morality. Liberty is a natural right of an individual which should be enjoyed rationally. Locke’s concept of liberty focuses on the absence of restraint and the freedom of choice.

Jean Jacques Rousseau: He looked at liberty from a collective perspective. His concept of liberty frees the individual from a class-based system and inequality. He did not consider liberty as a natural right. Rousseau stressed freedom of choice and the availability of favourable conditions in the concept of liberty.

Harold Laski: He explained liberty as the eager maintenance of that atmosphere in which men have the opportunity to be their best selves.

Jeremy Bentham: He looked at liberty from the perspective of attainment of happiness i.e., the principle of ‘greatest happiness of the greatest number’.

John Stuart Mill: He supported individual liberty and opposed unrestrained controls by the state.

Indian Concept Of Liberty:
Traditionally, in India, liberty is a spiritual idea signifying ‘salvation or emancipation from the cycle of birth and rebirth’. However, in modern times, liberty is understood as liberation from social constraints.

In British India, the concept of liberty was accepted as –

  • Laws made by the British for the protection of individual rights e.g. law for the abolition of sati.
  • Views of great reformers like Mahatma Phule, Dr Ambedkar. They believed liberty means freedom from caste inequality as well as from social constraints i.e., the liberation of lower castes from the domination of the upper castes.
  • Mahatma Gandhi accepted the concept of Swaraj as liberty. This was a comprehensive concept that included freedom from British rule and western cultural domination. It gave more importance to self-governance, self-discipline and human values.

Two Concepts Of Liberty:
Isaiah Berlin discussed about Negative and Positive liberty in his famous essay, ‘Two concepts of Liberty’ Positive liberty emerged from modern liberalism while negative liberty emerged from Classical and Neoclassical liberalism. The core values of liberalism are individualism, rationalism, tolerance and justice. Positive liberty was advocated by Rousseau and Marcuse.

They advocated a correlation between liberty, equality, justice, and collective interest. Rousseau explained that the State is a sovereign power that represents the ‘General Will’. Hence, he supported the idea of state control over the individual. Marcuse advocated collective control as essential in community life.

Negative liberty opposes all restraints on liberty, especially by the State. It was advocated by Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and others.

Maharashtra Board Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 2 Liberty and Rights

Rights are those social conditions that are necessary for the development of our personality. Laski defines rights as ‘those conditions of social life without which no man can seek, in general, to be himself at his best.
Maharashtra Board Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 2 Liberty and Rights  1
Natural Rights – These rights are universal in character e.g., the right to life and liberty.

Moral Rights – These rights are based on the conscience of the person and of the community e.g., respect for elders.

Legal Rights – These rights are granted by the State and are codified in law.
These rights are not universal. Legal rights maybe

  • Civil rights: related to the person and property of the individuals e.g., right to liberty, equality, property,
  • Political rights: are available only to citizens in a democratic state and aim to encourage active political participation e.g., the right to vote, to contest elections.

Maharashtra Board Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 2 Liberty and Rights

Human Rights:
Meaning: Each person is entitled to certain basic, natural rights, simply by virtue of being a human being. Human rights are inalienable, universal, dynamic, related to the concept of justice and are necessary to uphold human dignity. Human rights include the right to life.

The General Assembly of the U.N.O. adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (U.D.H.R.) on 10th December 1948. The U.D.H.R. combines the ideals of liberty, equality, justice and fraternity with natural and civil rights.

There are instances of human rights violations in many countries of the world due to poverty, malnutrition, discrimination and deprivation. Underprivileged sections of society, women, children are most vulnerable where violations of rights are concerned.

Part III of the Indian Constitution enumerates the Fundamental Rights of citizens. These include the Right to equality, Right to freedom, Right against exploitation, Right to freedom of religion, Cultural and educational rights and Right to constitutional remedies.

The judiciary has interpreted the meaning of rights and liberty in various judgements, e.g., in the Francis Coralie Mullin vs Union Territory of Delhi case (1981), the Supreme court gave a comprehensive meaning of liberty. The right to life meant the right to live with dignity. In the K. S. Puttaswamy vs Union of India case (2017), the Supreme Court declared right to privacy as a fundamental right.