October 20, 2021

All About Article 19 of the Constitution of India

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Introduction

The Constitution of the largest Democracy of the world is not just a book but an emotion in itself for Nation and people of the nation as well. The constitution of India with 395 Articles and 12 Schedules and having being divided into 21 Chapters earns the name of the lengthiest constitution in the world. Though the constitution provides us with the colossal of Articles but those articles mentioned in part 3 are of uttermost significance. Article 12 to 35 under Part 3 known as Fundamental rights, and is the proof that India is truly a Democratic, Socialist, Secular and a Republic country without any doubt

Brief Discussion

As we are discussing the importance of Article 19, i.e. Right to Freedomlets us simplify it more clearly for better understanding. Under article 19, we find six clauses and under clause 1 we get 7 sub clauses. Under clause 19 (1) seven important freedoms are mentioned and Article 19(2) to Article 19(6) are its reasonable restriction or let it call an exceptional.

Article 19(1)(a): Freedom of speech and expression. Restriction Under Article 19(2)

In India every citizen has the right to speech and expression i.e to rise their voice, express their feelings, thoughts, desires and ideas without any hesitation, but one should remember that no right discussed under this article is absolute and subject to reasonable restriction i.e government can impose lawful restrictions on what to say and what not to.

For instance, government can take action against any person if He/ She says anything which is against the security of the state, sovereignty and integrity of the nation, friendly country, public order, decency and morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation and incitement (provocation) of an offence.

For Example: You can listen to the music at any device you like, that is your fundamental right, but if you use loud speaker and amplifier that causes disturbance to your neighbour the authority can put restriction on using such devices as this fall under reasonable restriction.    

Case Law: Bijoe Emmanvel vs State of Kerala[1]

Three children of a school refuses to sing national Anthem as that was considered to be against their faith. The School authority found this conduct as insulting and thus expelled them from the school. The matter goes to the court and the Supreme court held that the expulsion is the violative of article 19 (1)(a).

Article 19(1)(b): Freedom of Assembly. Restriction under  Article 19(3)

This Sub- Clause guarantees every citizen of India to assemble peacefully without any arms and ammunitions. The people of this country can hold meetings, peaceful procession take part in events lawfully and the constitution under this article guarantees the same to every citizen.

 But, the same has some reasonable restrictions and the freedom is not absolute. The freedom should not contradict with the sovereignty and integrity of the nation and public order.

for example: You can go or make any peaceful rally or you can be at public pace with number of people and no one can question you on this. But if you form a group and try to create any threat to the people, community or nation you can be arrested or detsined.

Case Law: Rameshwar vs State[2]

In this Case Section 126 of the Representation of the people act, 1951  was challenged claiming it to be unconstitutional. Section 126 of this act restricts on holding the meeting on the day of polling. The court ruled that this section is indeed equitable and subject to reasonable restriction as the rule is  for the interest of public order.

Article 19 (1)(c): Freedom to form Association or Union. Restriction under Article 19 (4)

This Sub- Clause Allow the citizen to form Association and join any union of their interest which is legal in nature and not contradictory to the reasonable restriction. No one can stop any people of the country form creating  their own group, companies, society and  political parties under this article and anyone can join any union of their liking and they are protected by the same, subject to reasonable restriction.

Those restriction includes that the association and union should not be contradictory with the sovereignty and integrity, public order and morality of the nation.

For example: you can create your own political party or organisation but you cannot create a gang of goondas.

Case Law: Ramkrisnaiah vs The president, District board, Nellore[3]

The Applicant in this case was a teacher by profession. The Government issue a notice that the municipal teachers should not join any union other those who are officially approved by it. This order was challenged in the court saying that it is the violation of freedom of association and union and the same was stuck down by the Court.

Article 19(1)(d): Freedom to move freely throughout the country. Restrictions under Article 19(5)

Like other freedom, freedom of movement is incredibly essential as we live in a free and integrate nation. This Sub- Clause gives us the right to move freely anywhere in the country without any restrictions by the authority or any other person. well, considering the restrictions the authority can impose some restrictions for the benefits of the general public and for the benefit and protection of the schedule tribes.

For Example: You can visit anywhere within the country and for that you don’t need passport for sure. But you cannot just walk inside someone’s house without permission nor you can go the  place which is restricted  by the government or the owner of the property.

Case Law: Gopalan vs State of Madras[4]

A.K. Gopalan was a leader of the communist party. He was detained in the madras jail by the government of madras under Preventive detention Act, 1950. He then challenge his detention on the ground of fundamental right under article 19 (1)(d), freedom of movement. The court ruled that Preventive detention was not the violation of the fundamental law of freedom of movement as it falls under reasonable restriction.

Article 19(1)(e): Freedom to reside and settle in any part of India. Restrictions Under Article 19(5)

Sub- Clause (d) and (e) under this Article are co-related. If we have the right to move freely in the country we should also have the right to reside any settle anywhere we like, this is basic understanding. As this is corollary to the above sub- clause the restriction remains the same.

For Example: No person can go and start living inside Taj Mahal claiming that his right is protected under this article. Same way no person can build house or factory in government property or someone else’s property.

Case Law: State of U.P vs Kaushailiya[5]

Six women were involved in the business of prostitution at Kanpur in U.P. The district magistrate issued a notice asking them for the explanation. These women challenged this in the court on the  ground that it is the violation  of their fundamental right under article 14 and 19(1)(e). The notice so issued was under suppression of immoral traffic in women and Girl Art, 1956. The Supreme Court held that the notice was not the violation of fundamental right and was under reasonable restriction.

Article 19(1)(f): Freedom to Acquire hold and dispose of property. Restriction under Article 19(5)

 It is interesting to know that the freedom to acquire hold and dispose property is repealed from the part 3 of the constitution of India under Forty- fourth Amendment, 1978.

This is no longer a part of Article 19(1)(f)

Article 19(1)(g): Freedom to practice any profession. Restriction Under Article 19(6)

Under this article every citizen has the right to practice any profession choose any occupation or employment or to start any trade or  business as they like or according their interest and desire. But, the article does not guarantee any monopoly to any business, trade or occupation. Under this article right to practise also includes right of not to practise as anyone can close any business or occupation as they desire at anytime.

 The government can also start any business and compete with the private businesses, can have monopoly in any business and can take over any business for public welfare which would be totally justifiable.

For example: you cannot start a business of smuggling opium or drugs and then claim your business is protected under this article. This kind of business is totally prohibited and is perfectly justified.

Case Law: Chintamanrao vs State of M.P.[6]

In this case, the state of Madhya Pradesh empowered the Deputy Commissioner to prohibit the manufacture of Bidi during the agricultural season in the specified villages. The matter challenged in the Supreme Court and the court held that total prohibition in the manufacture of Bidi was unreasonable. Such prohibition was the violation of article 19(1)(g), and thus void.

Conclusion

All the rights discussed above can be suspend during the time of Emergency and the same will be restore after the emergency is expired. Thus, Article 19 provides us with the ocean of freedom, which is fundamental in nature, which makes our live better and easy. However, we should keep in mind that along with the rights we do have some restrictions to follow. Moreover, this is necessary for the smooth functioning of the society.

About Author: Dafadar Abul Bashar – Rizvi law college, Bandra (Mumbai)


[1] AIR 1987 SC 748

[2] A.I.R 1957 Pat. 252

[3] AIR 1952 Mad. 253

[4] 1950 S.C.R 88

[5] AIR 1964 S.C 416

[6] 1950 S.C.R. 759

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