The Constitution of India provides certain rights to the citizens of India, known as fundamental rights. Part III of the Constitution of India deals with fundamental rights from articles 12 to 35. Some of these rights are available to both foreigners and Citizens of India while other rights are only available to the citizens of India. Like all other fundamental rights the freedom of movement is also subject to restrictions. Article 19 deals with different types of freedom guaranteed by the Constitution of India. Article 19 1 (d) deals with freedom to movement.
Article 19 states as follows “Article 19 1 states as follows
“All citizens shall have the right—
(a) to freedom of speech and expression;
(b) to assemble peaceably and without arms;
(c) to form associations or unions 2 [or co-operative societies];
(d) to move freely throughout the territory of India;
(e) to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India; 3 [and] 4
(g) to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business”. This article will discuss freedom of movement along with the restrictions.
FREEDOM TO MOVEMENT:
As previously mentioned, article 19 is subject to restrictions and according to article 19 1 (d), every citizen of India has the freedom to move freely throughout the territory of India. But the rights provided under Article 19 are available only to the citizens of India and not to the foreigners. Every citizen of India has the freedom to move freely in the territory of India without any limitations. But there are certain grounds based on which such freedom can be restricted. Article 19 (5) provides the restrictions on which freedom to movement can be restricted. Article 19 (5) states as follows “ Nothing in sub clauses (d) and (e) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of any of the rights conferred by the said sub clauses either in the interests of the general public or for the protection of the interests of any Scheduled Tribe”. So the freedom of movement guaranteed by the Constitution is not absolute in nature. But such restrictions should be reasonable and not be arbitrary and unreasonable. The article 19 has been amended many times.
In the case of N.B Khare vs State of Delhi, ( AIR 1963 SC 1295) the East Punjab Public Safety Act 1949 was challenged. The contentions are that this particular act restricts the movement and the petitioner was ordered not to stay in Delhi. The Court held that the act was not invalid and said that such restriction during the time of emergency is reasonable.
GROUNDS FOR REASONABLE RESTRICTIONS: According to Article 19 (5) the following are the reasonable grounds for restriction:
- In the interest of general public
- For protection of interest of any Scheduled Tribe.
In the case of State of Uttar Pradesh vs Kaushalya ( AIR 1964 SC 416) the court had held that the right of movement of prostitutes may be restricted on ground of public health and in the interest of public morals. The freedom guaranteed by Article 19 1 (d) cannot be curtailed except as mentioned in Article 19 (5).
The freedom of movement is a fundamental right provided by the Constitution of India. The freedoms provided under Article 19 are not absolute and subject to reasonable restrictions. According to Article 19 1 (d) the citizens of India has the freedom to move freely in the territory of India. The restrictions imposed against the Article 19 should be reasonable and not arbitrary. But freedom of movement can be suspended or curtailed during emergency in the country and this restriction is considered as a reasonable restriction. Another example of such restriction is restrictions placed on freedom of movement during pandemic in India. According to this article the citizens of India can move from one state to another state and also within the state. The Constitution doesn’t restrict any citizen from exercising the fundamental rights but if it necessary to curtail this freedom for public health, then the Constitution can do if it is reasonable. As mentioned this freedom is only available to the citizens of India and no foreigner can claim this freedom or any other freedom provided under Article 19.
- Arijit Tarafdar, Article 19, Constitution Of India- The Rights and their restrictions, North east Law Journal, May 5, 2021.
- Joginder Singh Khatra, Constitutional Amendments in the Constitution Of India, 2021
- Romit Raja Srivastava, Test to determine reasonable restrictions under article 19 of the Constitution of India, Social Science Research Network, 25th August 2012.
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