necessary rights vs ancillary rights

In order to distinguish between the necessary and the ancillary rights, it is very important to understand the meaning of the two terms. The former rights are absolute and negative and the latter one is conditional and positive. Let us understand this idea from examples:

  • Is there any right, not to be intentionally killed by someone?

The answer to this question is YES, because right to life is a fundamental right and it can be considered as a basic good.

  • Do we have a right that our government does not act on policies on deception?

The answer here is also YES, because civic friendship is a basic good.

  • Is there a right not to be sexually assaulted?

Again, YES, because sexual integrity is a basic good.

In all the above questions, we have seen the term ‘basic good’, it means that such a right is a core right and it would be wrong to intentionally attack it or violate it because each core right is grounded on basic good.

However, each ancillary right is grounded in the material and cultural pre-conditions necessary to realize the basic goods.[1] In order to comprehend these ancillary rights, let us again consider some examples:

  • Is there a positive right to medical care?

The answer is YES, but this right is conditional which means that it is not possible for everyone to be provided with the best medical care.

  • Is there a positive right for protection against sexual assault?

The answer is gain YES, but this is also conditional as it would not be possible for the police to protect everyone who is at risk.

  • Is there a positive right for governmental transparency and public review?

The answer is YES, but it is conditional as the government can make transparency and public review only with much difficulty.

Some of the examples of necessary right under Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) are Article 4,18 whereas, for the ancillary right it is 25(1).

Article 19 of the Constitution of India, states that every citizen has freedom of speech and expression, but in order to meaningfully enjoy it every citizen must also have the ancillary right to secure all necessary information on matters of public interests and public authorities.[2]

While acquiring the Right to Property, one tends to go towards the other ease entry rights such as right to drainage, rights of way etc. A conceptual clarity between the necessary and the implied rights are that ancillary rights must be ‘reasonably necessary’ before it will be implied and will not be merely implied because it is convenient. Those acquiring easements should therefore ensure that rights are expressly provided for in the relevant instrument.[3]

In conclusion, we can clearly state that not every action that is necessary for the enjoyment of rights, is elevated to the status of a right.

[1] Metaphysics of Human Rights 1948-2018: On the Occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the UDHR by Gennaro Curcio.

[2] M.P. Singh, Constitution of India, 10th edition, Eastern Book Company, Lucknow (2001)

[3], visited on 10/06/2020.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

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