August 1, 2021

Article 19 of the Indian Constitution with Important Case Laws

Article 19 guarantees to every Citizen of India the following six basic, fundamental freedoms-

(1) 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;

(d) to move freely throughout the territory of India;

(e) to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India; and

(g) to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business

(2) Nothing in sub clause (a) of clause ( 1 ) shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, in so far as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub clause in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence

(3) Nothing in sub clause (b) 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, in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India or public order, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub clause

(4) Nothing in sub clause (c) 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, in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India or public order or morality, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub clause

(5) 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

(6) Nothing in sub clause (g) 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, in the interests of the general public, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub clause, and, in particular, nothing in the said sub clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it relates to, or prevent the State from making any law relating to,

(i) the professional or technical qualifications necessary for practising any profession or carrying on any occupation, trade or business, or (ii) the carrying on by the State, or by a corporation owned or controlled by the State, of any trade, business, industry or service, whether to the exclusion, complete or partial, of citizens or otherwise .


Ramesh Thaper v. State of Madras

The provincial government imposed a ban on the admission and circulation of the weekly newspaper “Cross Roads” printed and published in Bombay in Ramesh Thaper v. State of Madras in exercise of its powers in Section 9 (1-A) of the Act of Maintenance of the Public Order 1949. The majority of the Court of Justice ruled the Order invalid for the freedom provided for in point (a) of Article 19(1). Two US decisions were referred to by the Court. The following paragraph has been cited by the Supreme Court, with approval:

Freedom of expression as well as freedom of publishing is important to that right. The journal should also have a title meaning without dissemination.

The freedom of the press could not only be violated if the publication’s circulation is not directly prohibited, as was the case with Romesh Thapar, but also if some government action adversely affects the circulation of the publication.

Sakal Papers (P) Ltd. v. Union of India

In Sakal Papers (P) Ltd. v. Union of India , the Supreme Court held the right not only to the subject which it was entitled to disclose, but also to the volume of circulation to spread his ideas as granted by Article 19(1)(1).

Throughout this situation, the Laws of the Price and Page Act of 1956 allowed the Central Government, throughout relation to the pages and the scale of newspapers, to control rates and the distribution of advertising space. The Central Government released an Order for the Daily Newspapers in 1960 according to that law, which laid out the maximum number of pages that the journal might print on a price basis. A minimum price was determined and a number of pages were published by a newspaper.

The decree was protested as a breach of press rights, and by sicking up its implementation, the amount of pages was either reduced or the price was raised. The distribution rate of the publication would be decreased in that situation and thus the press rights would be infringed explicitly. The command was thus a double-edged sword. By limiting the space of the pages as a result of a reduction in the number of pages it cuts out circulation or publication or distribution of news, ideas and knowledge.

Bennett Coleman and Co. v. Union of India

The Supreme Court has, in the Bennettt Coleman trial, checked the clear and relative effect on freedom of speech provided under Article 19(1)(a), of the challenged conduct. The Express Newspapers Pvt application of this exam. Ltd. v. Union of India, the supreme court held that the notice of re-entry upon the forfeiture of lease and of the threatened demolition of the Express Buildings, intended and meant to silence the voice of the Indian express and therefore, violative of Article, 19 (1) (a) read with Article 14 of the Constitution.

The applicant was allocated land plots for the construction of its presidential building under a lease agreement in this case. In contravention of municipal corporate law, the Lt. Governor of Delhi claimed that the New Express Building was built and served as a notice of re-entry and demolition. The relevant evidence in this situation was adequate to demonstrate that the notifications challenged were unreasonable and unenforceable. Accordingly, Articles 19(1) and 14 have been broken.

Hamdard Dawakhana (Wakf) lal kuan v. Union of India

In Hamdard Dawakhana (Wakf) lal kuan v. Union of India, it was held that “commercial advertisements” were not covered within the concept of freedom of speech and expression.

The 1954 Medicines and Magic Cures Act, which aimed at avoiding self-medication and self-care, was subsequently enacted by banning the printing of product ads containing mystical properties for the treatment of diseases. The activities have been brought into doubt in breach of the freedom of speech enshrined in Article 19(1). The Court found the Act to be constitutional and stated that it did not infringed on freedom of expression but that the purpose and object of the challenged Act, its true meaning and intent, was connected with commerce. In the public interest the terms of the Act imposed fair limits on the petitioner’s exchange and company and were repealed in compliance with Clause 19(6).

TATA Press Ltd. v Mahanagar telephone Nigam Ltd

The Supreme Court held in TATA Press Ltd. v Mahanagar telephone Nigam Ltd. that the security of Section 19(1) “economic speech” could not necessarily be refused if entrepreneurs made it.

The Tatas published the Tata Press Yellow Pages (“Tata-Pages”), which was a buyer’s guide to computation of advertising received by merchants, retailers and practitioners according to trade, sector or occupation. In this instance Tatas was invited to publish the paper.

The Supreme Court found that the Tata press yellow pages was a buyer’s guide that includes advertising and that only the advertiser should be a trader, businessman or professional was applied in the form of the basis / criterion for acceptance or advertising publication. The applicants thus were not willing to prevent the publishing of the “Tata Press Yellow Pages” by Nigam or the Union of India.

Union of India v. Assocaition for democratic reforms

This states that democracy is an evolving process and “a good society requires a ‘aware citizenship.'” The Apex Court for electoral changes in India vs Association rule that electors will have the right to be told about the biography of the party’s candidate contesting M.P. Or M.L.A. was essential and central to the society ‘s life. The Court held that, in the absence of free and reasonable elections and without accurate and far-reachingly educated electors, “democracy will live,” the elector had the right to material knowledge about a nominee who contested elections for a position that was extremely essential for democracy, was implied in the freedom of speech guaranteed by article 19(1)(a).

The Apex Court directed the Indian Election Commission to preserve purity of elections, particularly to provide clarity in the mechanism of elections, to call upon each candidate seeking election to parliament or a State Legislature, in accordance with Article 324, on an affidavit by issuing required orders, in exercise of his authority and as a required item of his nominations document.

Holding that the Court could not pass any order, directing the legislature to amend the law, the Delhi high Court in Association for democratic reforms v. Union of India directed in Election Commission to secure to voters, information pertaining to assets, education qualifications and antecedents of life of the candidates contesting election.

Ministry Information and broadcasting v. Cricket Association of Bengal

The Supreme Court in its Registrar, the Bengal Ministry of Information and Radio Cricket Association, rendered a huge breakthrough and held that, under Article 19(1)(a), a individual had a right to television and transmit to audience via the electronic media, television and radio, every significant case, and the State had no monopoly on electronic communication. It was found to be inconsistent with right of freedom of speech as a monopoly over broadcasting by either the government or any other body. Any monopoly could be created in such media precisely because, unlike Article 19(2), State monopolies under Article 19(6) will not be permitted to conform with Section 19(1)(g) of the Act.

It ordered the central government to take urgent measures to establish an independent public authority to regulate the usage of airwaves, to relieve Doordarshan or Akashvani of influence of the government and to ensure a full and efficient enjoyment of citizens’ freedom of speech and expression.

K.A. Abbas v. Union of India

Under this case it was before the Supreme Court that movies were constitutionalised as outlets of speech and their pre-censorship. In accordance with the 1952 clinematograph Act, films are classified as ‘U’ and ‘A’ films. Whereas ‘U’ movies are intended for unlimited displays. Only adults will view ‘A’ videos. The applicant did not obtain the ‘U’ certificate for the film ‘The Tale of Four Cities,’ and the laws set out below were challenged on the legitimacy of the Cinematograph Act of 1952.

The Supreme Court upheld the validity of the contested law and stated that a reasonable restriction on the precensorship of films was justified under Article 19(2). Films had to be treated separately from other forms of art and expression because a motion picture could reinforce emotion more deeply than any other art product. Consequently, it was deemed as true that the films were categorized into two categories – ‘U’ and ‘A’ films.

Bijoe Emmanuel v. State of Kerala

The Supreme Court in Emmanuel v. Kerala ruled that no one should be required to sign the National Anthem “unless he has sincere moral convictions on the grounds of his religious conviction.” Three girls, belonging to Jehovah ‘s witnesses in this case, were suspended, sang, and never joined the school for failing to sing the National Anthem.

The High Court of Kerala upheld their expulsion from school because they had a fundamental obligation to choose their National Hymn and committed an offense under the 1971 National Honorary Act, Prevention of Insults.

However, the Supreme Court overturned the High Court’s ruling and found that it had committed no violation. The expulsion of children from school in accordance with Article 19(1), subparagraph (a) was also a violation of their basic rights, which led to freedom of silence.

Chintaman Rao v. State of M.P

In Chintaman Rao c. M.P. State to provide adequate work in bidi production during agricultural seasons for agricultural purposes. The legislation was unconstitutional as the freedom to carry out the bidi manufacturing sector in such a region was unreasonably limited, because this was far outside the reach of the rule. In conclusion of the Supreme Court:

It goes well beyond the point …. The Law as it stands does not only place a prohibition on those who are interested in cultivation, but also forbids people who have no association with farming activities from participating in the sector of bidi development and thus earn a living.

Sushila Saw Mill v. State of Orissa

the Supreme Court upheld the validity of the Orissa Saw mills and Saw Pit (Control) Act, 1991 under which a total was imposed on the right to carry on trade or business in saw milling operation sawing operation within the prohibited area. One of the few situations in which complete prohibition was needed was to protect woods, which were of growing public concern.

The matter that a ban should require ‘fair limitation’ relies on the extent of the mishap that the parliament attempts to address. Of eg, if the manufacture or selling of toxic liquors, the traffic in explosives and commerce is potentially hazardous, the traffic in tourism should be completely prohibited.

Author- PragyaJaishwal (Symbiosis Law School, Noida)

You might be also interested to read:

  • Nature of the Indian Constitution
  • Evolution of the Rule of law in India
  • Implications of Judicial Activism on The Indian Democracy
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