These are rights by virtue of which the citizens take direct or indirect part in the administration of the state. Political rights are an essential complement of civil rights. In the absence of political rights civil rights become meaningless.
Political rights provide ways and means by which citizens can check the arbitrary use of authority and encroachment upon their rights.
Political rights are enjoyed by the citizens alone and not by aliens. These are not extended to aliens because they owe allegiance to their own states. Some of the political rights may be described as follows :
1. Right to Vote:
According to this right, citizens in a state elect their representatives who are to constitute the government. Previously this right was given on the basis of some qualifications of property, education or the like. But now this right has been extended to all adults irrespective of any qualification.
The right to vote places sovereign power in the hands of the people in the ultimate sense. Citizens can make or unmake the government through the exercise of this power.
2. Right to be Elected:
This is a valuable right of a citizen in a democratic state. It implies that every citizen should have the right to seek election to legislative bodies or other representative organs.
People in a democracy have equal opportunities to be elected for any representative body. Nobody should be debarred from contesting elections to any office on account of his birth, class or creed if he is mentally and physically fit.
3. Right to Hold Public Offices:
The right to hold public offices is allied to the right to be elected. This means that all are equally eligible for appointment to all state offices, provided they are qualified by virtue of education, experience, ability and character.
4. Right to Petition:
It means that every citizen have the right to send petitions to the government or the legislature for the redress of his grievances.
5. Right to Permanent Residence:
The citizens have the right to permanent residence in the state of their birth. They cannot be deported for any crime.
6. Right to Resist:
This is a controversial right. Some believe that citizens should be given the right to resist an unjust government while others assert that government will become a plaything in the hands of the people if this right is freely exercised. According to Mahatma Gandhi, however, people should be given the right to resist a bad government.