Article 19 under Indian Constitution

Article 19 under Indian Constitution

Abstract

We have certain basic rights as citizens of India. Fundamental rights are enshrined in the Indian constitution under Part III. These basic rights are fundamental rights that we get right from birth. No single person or state may take away the same from us.

In particular, there are six fundamental rights: the right to equality (Articles 14-18), the right to freedom (Articles 19-22), the right against exploitation (Articles 23 and 24), the right to freedom of religion (Articles 25-28), educational and cultural rights (Articles 29 and 30) and the right to constitutional remedies (Article 32).

In this paper we will just dive into Article 19, which deals with six fundamental freedoms. Article 19 is the most significant and important article embodying the ‘basic freedoms’ Article 19(1) of the Constitution, subject to the power of the State to enforce restrictions on the exercise of certain rights, grants those constitutional rights. 

Thus, the object of the Article was to protect these rights from State interference other than in the lawful exercise of its power to regulate private rights in the public interest.

Freedoms enshrined in the Indian Constitution:

The various freedoms guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution of India are summarized as under-

  1. Right to freedom of speech and expression- Article 19 (1)(a);
  2. Right to assemble peaceably and without arms (Freedom of assembly)- Article 19 (1) (b);
  3. Right to form associations or unions (Freedom to form Association or Unions)- 

Article 19 (1) (c) ;

  1. Right to move freely throughout the territory of India (Freedom of movement)- Article 19 (1) (d)
  2. Right to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India (Freedom of Residence)- Article 19 (1) (e);
  3. Right to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade, business (Freedom to practice any profession, occupation, trade or business)- Article 19 (1) (g).
  1. Right to freedom of speech and expression- Article 19 (1)(a)

Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India guarantees the Fundamental rights to Freedom of Speech and Expression.

All citizens of India shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, which means that every citizen has the Fundamental Right of freedom to express his convictions i.e. firm beliefs and opinions freely by words of the mouth, by writing, pictures, singing, dancing, or by any other method. It includes expression of one’s ideas with the help of banners, gestures, and signs.

It also means, propagation of views of the other person in addition to one’s own views. Freedom of speech and expression also includes the liberty to propagate or publish the view of other people.

  • Characteristics of the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression-
  1. Right to freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed only to the Citizens of India. A foreigner cannot claim the right to freedom of speech and expression;
  2. Right to freedom of speech and expression has no geographical limitation. The Right is exercisable in India, as well as, outside India by the Indian Citizen. (Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, AIR 1978, SC 597)
  3. The Right to freedom of speech and expression also includes ‘freedom of press’, as freedom of press is essential for political liberty and proper functioning of democracy. Although, Article 19(1)(a) does not expressly include the freedom of press, it has been held by the Supreme Court that freedom of press is included in the freedom of speech and expression. (Romesh Thaper v. State of Madras, AIR 1950, SC 124)
  4. The right to freedom of speech and expression includes freedom of propagation also. A citizen has the right to propagate his convictions i.e. firm beliefs, ideas, or circulation of ideas.
  • Reasonable restrictions [19(2)]:

Reasonable restrictions can be imposed on the right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 (2) on the following grounds-

  1. Security of the state;
  2. Public order, decency and morality;
  3. Integrity and sovereignty of India;
  4. Friendly relations with foreign state;
  5. Contempt of Court;
  6. Defamation;
  7. Incitement for the Commission of an offence, etc.

2) Right to assemble peaceably and without arms: Article 19 (1) (b)

Article 19 (1) (b) of the Constitution of India guarantees the fundamental right to assemble peaceably and without arms. In other words, this fundamental right deals with freedom of assembly.

Article 19 (1) (b) provides that every citizen has a fundamental right to assemble peaceably and without arms. In the democratic set up freedom assembly is an important element which implies the right guaranteed to citizens to meet peaceably for consultation in respect of public affairs.

The purpose of the right to freedom of assembly is necessary for the formation of public opinions on political, economic, social, and religious issues.

  • Reasonable Restrictions [(19(3)]:

The right to assemble peaceably and without arms is subject to reasonable restrictions under Article 19(3) on the following grounds-

  1. Integrity and sovereignty of India
  2. Public order, Decency and Morality

Babulal V. The state of Maharashtra –

It was held in this case that holding of meetings by Section 144 of the CPC is not violative of freedom of assembly.

3) Right to Form associations or Unions:Article 19 (1)(c) ;

Article 19 (1) (c) of the constitution of India guarantees the fundamental right to form associations or unions. The right to form associations or unions includes the formation of all kinds of associations, such as clubs, societies, partnerships, political parties, trade unions, any other organizations or companies. These associations can come into existence for any lawful object without violating any statutory enactment.

  • Reasonable restrictions [(19 (4)]:

The right to form associations or unions is subject to reasonable restrictions under Article 19 (4) on the following grounds-

  1. Integrity and sovereignty of India
  2. Public order, decency and morality.

State of Madras V. Rao-

In this case, The government of state of Madras, by its order, declared the “Peoples Education Society” duly registered under the Societies Registration Act, as unlawful. The petition was filed by the said society on the ground that the order of the state government was violative of Article 19 (1)(c) of the Constitution of India.

4) Right to move freely throughout the territory of India:  Article 19 (1) (d)

Article 19 (1) (d) of the constitution of India guarantees the freedom of right to move freely throughout the territory of India. Article 19(1)(d) guarantees the freedom of right to move or to go wherever, or to whichever place within the territory of India, as per one’s’ wish and desire without any kind of restriction. The citizens of India are permitted to move from one state to another state, and also, from one place to another within the same state.

  • Reasonable restrictions [19 (5)]:

The right to move freely throughout territory of India i.e. Freedom of movement is subject to reasonable restrictions on the following grounds-

  1. Restrictions in the interest of the general public:

The restriction may be imposed on the freedom of movement in the interest of the general public are morality and health. To control epidemics, restrictions may be imposed on the freedom of movement and traveling. According to the official secrets act, 1923, restrictions are also imposed on the free movement of the individual in the interests of the general public.

It is within the power of the state government to declare certain areas as “protected areas” and to ensure a check upon the freedom of movement.

Abraham V. State of Bombay-

In this Case, one Abraham being a citizen of India, returned to India from Pakistan without proper license or permission. Consequent upon such illegal entry into India, Abraham was arrested by the Indian Police and sent back to pakistan. Abraham challenged his arrest as illegal and urged that such illegal arrest was to be treated as unreasonable restriction upon the fundamental right to freedom of movement. The Supreme Court held that the restriction was unreasonable and invalid.

  1. Restriction for the protection of interest of any Scheduled Tribe: 

Restriction may be imposed on the right to freedom of movement for the protection of the interest of any scheduled Tribe.

5) Right to reside and settle in any part of territory of India: Article 19(1) (e)

Article 19(1) (e) of the constitution of India guarantees the fundamental right to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India. In other words, this article guarantees the fundamental right in the nature of freedom to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India.

  • Reasonable restrictions [19 (5)]:

The fundamental rights to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India is subject to imposition of the reasonable restriction under article 19 (5) on the following grounds-

  1. In the interest of the general public
  2. For the protection of interest of any scheduled Tribe

Kharak Singh V. state of UO, AIR 1963, SC 1295-

It was held by the Supreme Court that the freedom guaranteed under the Article 19 (1) (d) and (e) was not violated by such surveillance being over the movement of the petitioner, is in the interest of the general public.

6) Right to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade, business – Article 19 (1) (g).

Article 19(1)(g) of the constitution of India guarantees the fundamental right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business. This article gives freedom to carry on any trade or business or profession or occupation to every citizen. This fundamental right under Article 19 (1)(g) also implies that every citizen has the right to choose his own employment or to take up any trade or calling, or carry on any business or occupation. 

  • Reasonable Restrictions [19 (6)]:

The fundamental right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade, business is subject to reasonable restrictions on any following grounds-

  1. In the interest of the General Public: Under Article 19 (1)(6) the authorities included in the definition of the state under article 12 are empowered to make laws imposing reasonable restrictions in the interest of the general public.
  2. Prescribing professional or technical qualification: Under article 19(1)(6), the state is empowered to make laws prescribing professional or technical qualifications required for practicing any trade, occupation, business. The reasonable restrictions can be imposed under Article 9(6) on the fundamental right under article 19(1)(g) for the purpose of requirement of essential and necessary professional and technical qualification.
  3. Protection of the right of the state: Reasonable restrictions under 19(6) can be imposed by the state for enabling the state to carry on any trade or business to the exclusion of the citizen, wholly or partially. In the other words, the imposition of “reasonable restrictions” is for the protection of the right of the state to carry on any trade or business.

Case law-

Lakhanlal V. state of orissa, AIR 1977, SC 722- 

It was held that the right to carry on any trade, business or profession, does not include any illegal or immoral profession, trade or business. There is no inherent right in the citizen to sell intoxicating liquor by retail. The state has this exclusive right to manufacture, store or sell liquor, and to grant that right to its license holders. The state can impose reasonable restrictions for its’ regulations in the interest of the general public.

Conclusion:

Civil society provides one of the most basic guarantees to citizens i.e., freedom of expression in the context of speech. After concluding we can say that the right to freedom of speech and expression is an important fundamental right, whose scope has been widened to include freedom of the press, right to information which also includes commercial information, right to not speak and right to criticize. 

In the modern world, the right to freedom of speech does not include only freedom to express one’s view through words but it has also included several means of communication to express one’s views. The right that we talked about is subject to reasonable restriction under Article 19(2) of the Indian Constitution. 

References-

  1. Articles by Prof. Prakash Mokal, Jhabvala series
  2. https://blog.ipleaders.in/freedom-speech-expression/
  3. https://blog.ipleaders.in/freedom-speech-mother-liberties/
  4. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1218090/
  5. https://www.constitutionofindia.net/constitution_of_india/fundamental_rights/articles/Article%2019

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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