Article 19 of the Indian Constitution contains at present six freedoms
This is a positive right conferred by the constitution in order to promote the ideal of liberty held out by preamble.
In the original constitution, there were freedoms in Article 19(1), but that one of them namely the right to acquire, hold and dispose of the property has been omitted by the Constitution(44th Amendment) Act 1978.
(a) To freedom of speech and expression
(b) To assemble peacefully and without arms
(c) To form association or union
(d) To move freely throughout the territory of India
(e) To reside and settle in any part of the territory of India
(g) To practice and profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.
Article 19(1)(a) also includes
(i). Flying of the national flag.
(ii). Casting a vote.
(iii). Right to Information – Voter’s right to know the antecedents/assets of a candidate contesting the election.
(iv). The right to speech implies the right to silence.
(v). It implies freedom not to listen, not to be forced to listen.
Article 19(1)(c): This article provides the freedom to form a union by a group of individuals and governs its affairs. But no citizen has a Fundamental Right under Article 19(1)(c) to become a member of a voluntary association or a cooperative society. His rights are governed by the provisions of the statue. So the right to become or to continue being a member of the society is a statutory right.
Article 19(1)(d): This article provides every individual to move freely throughout the territory of India. He can visit any part of the territory of India. The only exception to this freedom is that his movement shall not violate the rights of tribal, does not create law and order problems, violate the right to privacy of others.
Limitation upon the freedom under Article 19(1) :
(i) The constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression. But this freedom is subject to reasonable restriction imposed by the state relating to (a) defamation (b) contempt of court (c) decency and morality (d) security of state (e) friendly relation with foreign state (f) incitement to an offense (g) public order (h) maintenance of sovereignty and integrity of India.
Decency and morality are not confined to sexual morality alone. It indicates that the action must be in conformity with the current standard of behavior or property. Hence seeking a vote at an election on the ground of the candidate’s religion in a secular state is against the norm of decency and propriety of the society.
(ii) The right of meeting or assembly shall not be liable to be abused so as to create public disorder or a breach of the peace or to prejudice the sovereignty and integrity of India.
(iii) Right to form association or Unions- This freedom will not entitle any group of individuals to enter into a criminal conspiracy or to form any association dangerous to public peace or to make illegal strikes or to commit a public disorder or to undermine the sovereignty and integrity of India.
(iv) The right to move freely throughout the territory of India or to reside and settle in any part of the country. This right shall be subject to restrictions imposed by the state in the interest of the general public or for the protection of any scheduled tribe.
(v) Every citizen has the right to practice profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business but subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by the state in the interest of the general public and subject to any law laying down qualification for carrying on any profession or technical occupation or enabling the state itself to carry on any trade or business to the exclusion of the citizens.
The restrictions are to strike a balance between individual liberty and public welfare or general morality.
The scope of Judicial Review:
The test of reasonableness of a restriction
The Supreme Court has said that a restriction is reasonable only when there is a proper balance between the right of the individual and those of society.
The Supreme Court has held that in examining the reasonableness of a statutory provision, whether it violates the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 19 one has to keep in mind.
2. The restriction must not be arbitrary or of an excessive nature, going beyond the requirement of the interest of the general public.
3. The Just balance has to strike between the restriction imposed and social control envisaged by Article 19(6).
4. Prevailing social values as also social needs which are intended to be satisfied by the restrictions.
It follows therefore that the question of reasonableness should be determined from both the substantive and procedural standpoint.
The restriction imposed must have a reasonable relation to the collection object which the legislation seeks to achieve and must not go in excess of that object or in other words the restriction must not be greater than the mischief to be prevented.
Example: Total ban on Bidi manufacturing during the agriculture season.
Procedural Reasonableness :
In order to be reasonable not only the restriction must not be excessive. The procedure or manner of imposition of the restriction must also be fair and just.
Broadly speaking, a restriction is unreasonable if it is imposed in a manner that violates the principle of natural justice.
Example: If it seeks to curtail the right of association or freedom of business of a citizen without giving him an opportunity to be heard.
Freedom of Press under Article 19:
There is no specific provision in our constitution guaranteeing the freedom of the Press.
Article 19(1)(a) Freedom of expression means the freedom to express not only one’s own view but also the view of others and by any means including printing.
Freedom of Expression is not absolute freedom and is subject to the limitation contained in Clause(2) of Article 19.
But Press is not immune from:
(i) The ordinary form of taxation.
(ii) The application of general laws related to industrial relations.
(iii) The regulation of the conditions of service of the employee.
The same restrictions are also be applied in the case of Pre-Censorship of the motion picture to protect the interest safeguarded by Article 19(2).
It should be noted that when a proclamation of emergency is made under Article 352 on the ground of war or external aggression the operation of Article 19 remains suspended[Article 358]. So that pre-censorship may be imposed without restraint.
Article 19 of the Indian constitution provides six freedoms to the citizen of India. These are as Freedom of Speech and Expression, Right to assemble peacefully, Right to form an association, Right to Movement throughout the territory of India, Right to reside and settle in any part of India, Right to chose any profession,
The rights given under article 19 of the Indian constitution can be suspended during the time of the National Emergency under Article 352.
The six freedoms given under article 19(1) are as follows
(a) Freedom of speech and expression
(b) To assemble peacefully without arms
(c) To form an association
(d) To movement throughout the territory of India
(e) To reside and settle in any part of the territory of India
(g) To chose any profession, occupation, trade or business
Article 19(1)(a) gives the freedom of speech and expression to the citizen of India. It is one the most important fundamental right given to Indian citizen.