Articles 14, 19 and 21 of our Indian Constitution create a Golden Trinity as they constitute the fundamental principles for the smooth running of the lives of Indian people. This trinity ensures the preservation of the right of a person from being abused by the society. We tried to examine the significance of Article 19 in this study. Article 19 brings in significant changes in culture, as it offers the people equal rights so that there is peace among our country’s citizens. While this article covers a wide range of operations, it does not grant a person the right to do anything and everything in accordance with their whims and fancies.
Preamble of our Indian Constitution secures many rights to the citizens of India. These rights are essential for all the citizens, not only for their personal development in all aspects of life but also to ensure the harmony and security in the society and for the growth of the country. As these are most necessary rights and fundamental in nature thus they are called ‘Fundamental Rights’. These are enshrined in Part III (Articles 12 to 35) of the Constitution of India. These fundamental rights are irrespective of any discrimination and are universally applicable and are protected by judiciary.
Among the several rights that are ensured to us, one of them is Right to freedom which vests from Article 19 to Article 22. In the original Constitution, there were 7 freedoms in Art. 19(1), but one of them namely, ‘the right to acquire, hold and dispose of property’ was disposed of by the Constitution (44th Amendment) Act, 1978, leaving only 6 freedoms in this Article. Articles 19(2) to 19(6) contain ‘reasonable restrictions’ on the rights enshrined under Article 19(1).
According to the Article 19 Clause (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;
(g) to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.
- FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND EXPRESSION
This freedom is given to the citizens to ensure that they participate in the public activities. They form an opinion and have a word to say in public activities. This is why it is an important aspect of a democracy. A person can express his views on any issue and through any medium which he wishes. No country in world guarantees freedom of speech in absolute terms. The US constitution in its 1st Amendment stated: ‘Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press’. As this right isnot absolute so it allows Government to frame laws to impose reasonable restrictions in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency and morality and contempt of court, defamation and incitement to an offence.
Freedom of speech means the right to share not only one’s own views but also others’ opinions, whether by printing or broadcasting, or any means.
Indian Express Newspapers vs. Union of India
The Hon’ble Supreme Court, in this case, observed that, Article 19 of the Indian Constitution does not use the phrase “freedom of press” in its language, but it is contained within Article 19(1) (a). There cannot be any interference with the freedom of press in the name of public interest. The purpose of the press is to enhance public interest by publishing facts and opinions, without which a democratic electorate cannot take responsible decisions.
- FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY
Assembly freedom gives people the right to have public meetings, and to carry out processions. Article 19(1)(b)] allows for the right of people to meet one another. To access this right the people’s assembly must be a) peaceful, and b) arms-free. In the interests of — a) public order, and b) India’s sovereignty and integrity, the State may further impose reasonable restrictions. Also, if magistrate feels that there is a threat to public order or peace that he can impose restrictions on the freedom of assembly of people under Section 144 of Cr.P.C.
KanhaiyaKumar v. State of Nct of Delhi
In the present case the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University organized an event on the Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, who was hanged in 2013. The event was a protest through poetry, art, and music against the judicial killing of Afzal Guru. Allegations were made that the students in the protest were heard shouting anti-Indian slogans. A case therefore filed against several students on charges of offence under Sections124-A, 120-B, and 34 of the Indian Penal Code. The University’s Students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested after allegations of ‘anti-national’ sloganeering were made against him. Kanhaiya Kumar was released on bail by the Delhi High Court as the police investigation was still at nascent stage, and Kumar’s exact role in the protest was not clear.
- FREEDOM TO FORM ASSOCIATION OR UNIONS OR CO-OPERATIVES
Article 19(1)(c) confers the freedom to form associations or unions on the people. Article 19(1)(c) provides the right not only to join an association but also to proceed with the association as such. Free association also means the right to form or not form, join or not join an organization or union.
In the interests of — a) public order, b) morality, and c) India’s sovereignty and integrity, the State can impose reasonable restrictions on freedom of association or union.
- FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT
Article 19(1)(d) guarantees freedom of movement in the territory of India; while appropriate limitations may be placed on that right in the interest of — a) the general public, or b) to protect the interests of any Scheduled Tribe. Of example, movement and travel restrictions can be enforced to monitor epidemics or to protect the environment or biodiversity, or to preserve tribal culture such as Jarawas in Andaman. Likewise, restrictions can be imposed by a District Magistrate or Police Commissioner order to exclude a person from a given area (Tadipar) for a temporary duration of up to three months.
- FREEDOM OF RESIDE AND SETTEL
[Art. 19(1)(e)] grants people the freedom to live (temporary residence) and settle anywhere in the Indian Territory. The freedom of movement and the freedom to reside and settle are mutually complementary. Their purpose is to remove barriers inside India. They uphold India’s national unity and dignity. The right is subject to fair restrictions from abuse and coercion by the State for the benefit of the — a) general public, or b) for the security of the scheduled tribes. Of the same reasons listed above, the freedom to travel and live or settle in north-eastern states of India, Uttarakhand etc. has been limited.
- FREEDOM TO PRACTISE ANY PROFESSION, OR TO CARRY ON ANY OCCUPATION, TRADE OR BUSINESS
[Art. 19(1)(g)) grants a person the freedom to choose the source of his or her choice of living. The right covers the right not to choose an undertaking or the right to close a company. The second right comes with other provisions such as payment of wages for jobs, pension, etc. The right of the person to carry on a career is fundamental to a man’s life and the state does not place any specific restriction on it, except for the general public’s benefit. There is of course no right to carry on a dangerous or immoral business.
Thus, the Article 19 of our Constitution is one of the most important article which ensures the welfare of the citizens of our country. It enables them to form opinions and choices and work accordingly to their will. But through reasonable restrictions it also ensures that while one is exercising his right he doesn’t infringe the right of any other person or create thread to the society.
- The Constitution on India an In-depth Analysis by DevaaangSalva&TanmaySadh.
Article 19 of Indian Constitution, 1947
1985 2 SCC 434
P. (CRL) 558/2016