Article 19 of Indian Constitution
The natural and fundamental freedoms that these six rights represent are only available to citizens, or to natural persons who have the legal status of citizens. These freedoms and rights are not absolute, but they are nonetheless subject to some reasonable restrictions.
Initially, the Constitution of India provided seven freedom rights under Article 19 of Indian Constitution, but the 44th Constitutional Amendment Act 1978 by Indian Government omitted Article 19(1)(f) Right to Acquire, hold and dispose of Property, presently it is under Article 300A and is reduced merely to a constitutional right.
Read More: Right to Equality
Article 19 of Indian Constitution Clauses
Every Indian citizen is entitled to six essential freedoms under Article 19 of Indian Constitution, including:
- Article 19(1)(a) Freedom of speech and expression
- Article 19(1)(b) Freedom of assembly
- Article 19(1)(c) Freedom of association
- Article 19(1)(d) Freedom of movement
- Article 19(1)(e) Freedom to residence and settlement
- Article 19(1)(f) Right to Acquire, hold and dispose of Property (Repealed)
- Article 19(1)(g) Freedom of profession, occupation, trade or business
Read More: Articles 12 and 13
Article 19(1)(a) of Indian Constitution
Article 19(1)(a) and 19(2): All citizens have the right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) of Indian Constitution. One of the citizens’ most prized rights is their freedom of speech and expression, which is the cornerstone of a democratic society. It is the first prerequisite for freedom and has a significant impact on how the general population feels.
Freedom of Speech & Expression Meaning
The right to express oneself through any means, including speaking, writing, images, signs, and the internet, is known as freedom of speech and expression. The right to be informed and to express their opinions, as well as the right to possess an opinion has been ensured to every citizen of India.
Freedom of Speech and Expression Scope
The courts have acknowledged a number of aspects of the right to free speech and expression. The following list includes some of the elements or rights that make up freedom of speech and expression.
Freedom of Press: Press freedom is perhaps the most essential freedom right enshrined under the Right to Speech and Expression. Although, it has not been explicitly mentioned in the constitution. Freedom of the press is ensured with the following:
- No, restrictions on the publication of articles on matters of public importance
- There should be no pre-censorship in the press.
- They have freedom for circulation of newspapers.
- No excessive tax to be imposed on the press etc.
Although, this right is insured with some reasonable restrictions in the interest of Justice under Article 19(2) of the Indian Constitution. In Bennett Coleman & Co v. Union of India (1972) case the Supreme Court held that the right to free speech and expression of the people is represented through press freedom. In both circulation and content, freedom exists.
Right to Know and to Obtain Information: Supreme Court in State of U.P. v. Raj Narain (1975), held that the right to know is derived from the concept of freedom of speech. The Court further ruled that the citizens of this nation have a right to know about every public act and everything that their public functionaries conduct in a public fashion.
Every citizen must have a right to know what their government is doing; this is a fundamental tenet of democracy. Transparency and accountability in governance can only flourish when the general public is informed of the actions of the government. The Right to Information Act of 2005 finally recognised the right to know, receive, and share information as a component of freedom of speech and expression.
Right to Remain Silent: The freedom of speech extends to the freedom of silence as well. The Supreme Court ruled in Bijoe Emmanuel v. State of Kerala (1986) that students who chose not to sing the National Anthem did not break any laws because there is no law that can be used to restrict their freedom of speech and expression.
Freedom of Speech and Expression Restrictions
Free speech and expression are not absolute rights and are subject to appropriate limitations. Article 19(2), imposes reasonable restrictions on the following grounds:
- Security of Nation
- Sovereignty and Integrity
- Friendly relations with a foreign nation
- For maintaining public order, morality etc.
- Contempt of court
- Incitement of an offence
Read about: Article 14 of Indian Constitution
Article 19(1)(b) of Indian Constitution
Article 19(1)(b) and 19(3): The Freedom to Assemble peacefully and without weapons assemble is granted by Article 19(1)(b) of Indian Constitution. This includes the freedom to conduct processions, hunger strikes, and public meetings. However, the meeting must be nonviolent and free of weapons.
The Supreme Court overturned a provision that allowed the police commissioner to impose a complete ban on all public gatherings and processions in Himmat Lal v. Police Commissioner, Bombay (1972). It was decided that the state could only enact laws to support citizens’ rights to assemble and could apply reasonable restrictions to maintain public order, but no law could be established outright forbidding any meetings or processions.
Freedom of Assembly Restrictions
Under Article 19(3), reasonable restrictions can be imposed on the ground:
- To protect the sovereignty and integrity of India, or
- To maintain public order and morality in the country.
Other Restrictions: A magistrate may halt an assembly, meeting, or procession under CrPC Section 144 if there is a chance that it will disturb the law and order. The IPC Section 141, restricts a group of five or more individuals from gathering at a place that is illegal if its purpose is to:
- Against any law that the government is enforcing
- Take possession of another person’s property without permission,
- Criminal trespass,
- Compel someone to carry out a prohibited action, or
- Impede the proper execution of any legal obligations.
Read about: Article 15 of Indian Constitution
Article 19(1)(c) of Indian Constitution
Article 19(1)(c) and 19(4): The ability to organise into organisations, unions, or cooperative societies is provided for under Article 19(1)(c). An association is a collection of people who have banded together to accomplish a certain goal, whether it is for the members’ benefit, the welfare of the public at large, a scientific, charitable, or any other reason.
Since without this right, political parties that are essential to a democracy’s operation cannot be founded, the freedom to form associations is seen as the lifeblood of democracy.
Freedom to Form Associations or Unions
The right to form organisations and unions includes the freedom to found companies, societies, trade unions, partnership enterprises, clubs, etc. The right encompasses all aspects of an association’s formation, administration, and operation, going beyond simple creation. Article 97 of the 2011 Constitutional Amendment Act authorised the founding of cooperative societies.
No Right to Strike: Supreme Court held that the trade unions have no guaranteed right to effective bargaining or right to strike or right to declare a lockout
T.K. Rangarajan vs. State of Tamil Nadu 2003: In this case, the Supreme Court held that government officials don’t have the statutory or fundamental right to strike.
Freedom to form Associations Restrictions
Reasonable Restrictions: Article 19(4) imposes reasonable restrictions on Freedom to form Association on the following grounds:
- To protect the sovereignty and integrity of India
- To maintain public order and morality
Read More: Article 16 of Indian Constitution
Article 19(1)(d) of Indian Constitution
Article 19(1)(d) and 19(5): Article 19(1)(d) of Indian Constitution ensures an Indian citizen’s freedom of movement throughout the nation. A person has the freedom to migrate between states and between locations inside a state. This privilege upholds the notion that, in terms of its citizens, India is a single entity. Therefore, the goal is to advance nationalism rather than localism.
Article 19(5): It provides dual grounds for imposing reasonable restrictions on this freedom, namely, the interests of the general public and the protection of interests of any scheduled tribe.
Dimensions of Freedom of Movement
Freedom of movement has two dimensions,
- Internal movement is the right to move inside the country which is protected by Article 19.
- External movement right to move out of the country and the right to come back to the country: which is protected by Article 21.
Read about: Constitution Day of India
Article 19(1)(e) of Indian Constitution
According to Article 19(1)(e) of Indian Constitution, every citizen has the freedom to reside and settle in any part of the Indian territory. This right has two parts, firstly; Right to reside in any part of the country, which means to stay at any place temporarily, and secondly; the Right to settle in any part of the country has been ensured to Indian Citizens, which means to set up a home or domicile at any place permanently. This right is focused to remove barriers within the country or between any of its parts. This promotes nationalism and avoids narrow-mindedness.
Article 19(5): It imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of this right on two grounds, namely, the Interest of the general public and the protection of interests of any scheduled tribes.
Read More: Overseas Citizenship of India
Article 19(1)(g) of Indian Constitution
Under Article 19(1)(g) of Indian Constitution, the right to practice any profession and to engage in any occupation, trade, or business is guaranteed to all citizens of India. This right is extremely broad because it encompasses every source of income.
Article 19(6): In the interest of the general public, it places reasonable restrictions on the use of this power. In addition, the State has the authority to establish the professional or technical requirements for carrying out any employment, trade, or company, for instance. B.Ed can be necessary to become a teacher.
Secondly, it is free to conduct any trade, company, industry, or service without (completely or partially) excluding citizens. Therefore, there can be no complaints where the State operates a trade, company, industry, or service as a whole or partial monopoly; to the full or partial exclusion of citizens; or in rivalry with any citizen. It is not necessary for the state to defend its monopoly. Examples include Indian Railways and ISRO.
This right does not include the freedom to practice an unethical (such as trafficking in women or children) or hazardous profession, business, trade, or occupation (harmful drugs or explosives, etc,). These are totally subject to state prohibition or licensing-based regulation. For instance, online gambling.
Read about: Articles 17 and 18 of Indian Constitution
Article 19 of Indian Constitution UPSC
The Supreme Court stated in the seminal decision of Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India (1978) that it is feasible for a right to be covered by an article 19(1) clause even if it is not expressly included in any of those clauses. This is accurate since Article 19(1)(a) implicitly mentions the freedom of the press as one of those crucial essential rights.