Article 19 of the Indian Constitution

  • IASbaba
  • January 7, 2023
  • 0
Governance, Indian Polity & Constitution
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Context: By ruling that a citizen can seek enforcement of the fundamental rights to freedom of speech not just against the state, the Supreme Court has, effectively, extended the ground for seeking these rights against other citizens.

About Article 19:

Article 19(1) of the Constitution of India guarantees six fundamental freedoms to every citizen of India, namely:

  • Freedom of speech and expression;
  • Freedom to assemble peacefully and without arms;
  • Freedom to form associations, unions or co-operative societies;
  • Freedom to move freely throughout the territory of India;
  • Freedom to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India, and
  • Freedom to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.

Importance of Article 19

  • This freedom is essential because the censorial power lies in the people over and against the Government and not in the Government over and against the people.
  • The freedom of speech and expression is required to fulfil the following objectives :
    • To discover truth
    • Non self-fulfilment
    • Democratic value
    • To ensure pluralism

Reasonable Restrictions under Article 19: The State can impose restrictions on the freedom of speech and expression in the interests of

  • 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.

Key details of the Supreme Court ruling:

  • The court took this view while ruling that the right of free speech and expression guaranteed under the Article 19(1)(a) cannot be curbed by any additional grounds other than those already laid down in Article 19(2).
  • Article 19 which guarantees freedom of speech and expression is a right invoked against the state.
  • The court, extending free speech against private citizens, opens up a range of possibilities in Constitutional law.
  • This interpretation could also bring an obligation on the state to ensure private entities also abide by Constitutional norms.
  • K S Puttaswamy case: The Court relied on the 2017 verdict in Puttaswamy where a nine-judge bench unanimously upheld privacy as a fundamental right.
    • One of the key arguments by the government was that privacy is a right enforceable against other citizens and, therefore, cannot be elevated to the status of a fundamental right against the state.
  • Under Indian Constitution, all the Fundamental Rights are available against the State but only 4 fundamental Rights are available against both State and individuals.
    • Article 15(2) – no citizen shall be subjected to any form of discrimination based on caste, religion, place of birth, or caste.
    • Article 17 – abolition of Untouchability.
    • Article 23 – Prohibits trafficking of humans and forced labour.
    • Article 24 – Prohibits employment of children in factories and hazardous place.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) What is the position of the Right to Property in India? (2021)

  1. Legal right available to citizens only
  2. Legal right available to any person
  3. Fundamental Right available to citizens only
  4. Neither fundamental Right nor legal right

Q.2) A legislation which confers on the executive or administrative authority an unguided and uncontrolled discretionary power in the matter of the application of law violates which one of the following Articles of the Constitution of India? (2021)

  1. Article 14
  2. Article 28
  3. Article 32
  4. Article 44


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