Article 19 of Indian Constitution: A Comprehensive Overview

Article 19 of Indian Constitution

One of the most significant fundamental rights that the Indian Constitution guarantees to its citizens is Article 19 of Indian Constitution. It guarantees the preservation of some liberties that are necessary for both the general growth of the individual and the smooth operation of a democratic society. This article explores the specifics of Article 19, emphasising the freedoms it protects and its importance.

Article 19 of Indian Constitution(1)(a): The Freedom of Speech and Expression in India

Every citizen can use any communication medium to express their ideas and opinions thanks to this freedom. It includes the freedom to express one’s thoughts and opinions, as well as the ability to do so in print and online media and on radio, television, and any other digital platform. This freedom is not unrestricted, though, and can be subject to reasonable limitations for reasons such as maintaining India’s integrity and sovereignty, maintaining public order, maintaining friendly relations with other countries, or preventing crimes such as defamation, contempt of court, or inciting others to commit crimes.

Article 19 of Indian Constitution(1)(b): The Right to Assemble Peaceably and Without Arms

This right allows people to gather peacefully and without the use of force. Because it allows for open forums, processions, and protests, it is the foundation of any democracy. However, this right does not protect those who carry weapons or organize violent gatherings. The state may impose reasonable restrictions on this right to maintain public order, as well as India’s sovereignty and integrity.

Article 19(1)(c): The Freedom to Form Associations or Unions in India

The freedom to organize into associations, unions, or cooperative societies is granted by this clause. It encompasses the freedom to establish political organizations, businesses, alliances, societies, clubs, etc. However, for the sake of morality, public order, and India’s sovereignty and integrity, the state may impose reasonable limitations on this right.

Exploring Article 19(1)(d): The Freedom to Move Freely Throughout India

This right ensures that every Indian citizen can travel freely throughout their country. It implies that a person’s right to move within any region of India or between states cannot be restricted. To protect the interests of the general public or any Scheduled Tribe, the state may impose reasonable restrictions on the right to free movement.

Article 19(1)(e): The Right to Reside and Settle in Any Part of India

A citizen has the freedom to live, settle, and rent real estate anywhere in the nation. To protect the interests of any Scheduled Tribe or the general public, the state may, nevertheless, impose reasonable limitations on this right.

Landmark Cases of Article 19 of the Constitution of India:

  • Romesh Thappar vs The State Of Madras (1950): The decision in this case established a standard for how the right to free speech and expression should be understood. The Supreme Court ruled that a statute allowing the executive branch to restrict free speech is unconstitutional.
  • Kameshwar Prasad vs State of Bihar (1962): In this case, the constitutionality of a policy prohibiting government employees from participating in political activities was challenged. The Supreme Court ruled that the rule in question was unconstitutional, preserving the freedom to form associations.
  • Menaka Gandhi vs Union of India (1978): The right to life under Article 21 was interpreted in this case to include the right to live with human dignity, which was deemed to fall under the right to privacy.

Breach of Article 19: Rights and Remedies

  • Compensation: The Indian Supreme Court has ruled in several decisions that if someone’s fundamental rights are violated, they may be entitled to compensation.
  • Public Interest Litigation (PIL): If someone or a group of people’s fundamental rights are violated, any public-spirited person or non-governmental organization may file a Public Interest Litigation on behalf of the party who was wronged.
  • Civil Suit: In addition to the aforementioned options, a person may choose to sue for damages in a civil suit before a competent court for the infringement of their fundamental rights.
  • Writ Petition: Articles 32 and 226 of the Indian Constitution guarantee fundamental rights. If a person believes their fundamental rights have been violated, they may petition the Supreme Court or the High Court to have them upheld. Depending on the nature of the violation, courts may grant writs such as habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto, and certiorari.
  • Human Rights Commissions: For redress of grievances related to the violation of fundamental rights, one may also approach the State Human Rights Commission or the National Human Rights Commission.

Conclusion

Article 19 of Indian Constitution guarantees fundamental liberties like the right to free speech, assembly, association, mobility, and residency. These rights are essential to both individual growth and the smooth operation of a democratic society. They are, nevertheless, subject to reasonable limitations to preserve national integrity and public order. These fundamental rights are important and should be protected, as demonstrated by landmark cases and remedies.

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