Distinction Between Rights And Liberties

Rights are those liberties or freedoms which are recognised and enforced by the State. In other words, rights are legally protected liberties. But still a distinction is sometimes made between rights and liberties. A right is a claim, while a liberty is a condition. Every right imposes a corresponding duty or obligation on others, but liberty is something that presupposes only non-interference on the part of others. It presumes only a negative duty of not interfering in the enjoyment of liberty.

For instance, I have a right to possess my book, but I have a liberty to read it or not. Every person has a duty not to deprive me of my right to it by taking it away but my liberty to read it does not impose a duty on others to compel me to read it. Similarly, the right to freedom of press is a liberty of the citizens to read Newspapers. There is no duty imposed on them to do so. They may or may not read the newspapers, while others should not interfere in their rights or liberty. Moreover, a right imposes a duty on the government to set up ccrtain institutions to protect its enjoyment. It extends governmental action.

I’or example, the right to property or life requires the State to establish courts, police, etc. Liberties, on the other hand, do not extend but restrict governmental action. Freedom of the press means that the government does not interfere in the publication and circulation of newspapers and books, livery Bill of Rights contains liberties as well as rights, as for instance the right to property, to free movement, right.to education, work etc., as well as while freedom of religion, freedom of speech, press, or freedom of association, are liberties. Nevertheless, the demand for rights is really a demand both for rights and liberties.