ARTICLE 19 OF THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION
As citizens of India, we have certain fundamental rights. Part III of the Indian constitution protects fundamental rights. There are universal rights that we have from the moment we are born. No one individual or state has the authority to deprive us of our rights.
The right to liberty (Articles 14-18), the right to democracy (Articles 19-22), the right against coercion (Articles 23 and 24), the right to freedom of expression (Articles 25-28), educational and cultural rights (Articles 29 and 30), and the right to constitutional redress (Article 32) are the six fundamental rights .
We will focus on Article 19, which deals with the six fundamental freedoms. The most relevant and critical clause enshrining the “fundamental rights” is Article 19. Article 19(1) of the Constitution guarantees certain fundamental rights and prevents the state’s authority to limit exercising those rights. Thus, the article aims to give light to these freedoms from state intervention.
WHERE DID FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND EXPRESSION ORIGINATE FROM?
The concept of freedom of expression has been around for a long time. The Greeks were the first to incorporate it. They used the word “parrhesia,” which implies “free expression” or “frankness.” In the fifth century B.C., this word first emerged. Countries like England and France have taken a long time to accept independence as a constitutional right. Freedom of expression was defined as a civil right in the English Bill of Rights in 1689, and it is still in force today. Similarly, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizens was accepted by the French at the time of their revolt in 1789.
On December 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which included freedom of speech and expression as one of the human rights.
WHAT IS MEANING OF FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND EXPRESSION?
Freedom of speech and expression is described as the ability to freely convey one’s own views, emotions, and opinions by publishing, pictures, movements, spoken words, or other means. It requires the visual expression of one’s thoughts, such as movements, signals, and other forms of the communicable medium. It also requires the freedom to disseminate one’s opinions by print media or other means of communication. This means that press freedom is listed in this group as well. The aim must be the free circulation of ideas, which can be achieved by the press or some other means.
According to Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the right to freedom of speech and expression includes the freedom to search, obtain, and transmit knowledge and all sorts of thoughts, regardless of borders, verbally, in literature, print, painting, or any other medium of their choosing.
WHAT ARE THE VARIOUS RIGHTS UNDER ARTICLE 19?
Article 19, as we have mentioned above, gives various freedoms under its head. We will write about each of them below:
- Article 19(1)(a) - Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution grants freedom of speech and expression to Indian people but not to foreign nationals. Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution guarantees the freedom to express itself in any medium, including publishing, singing, gesturing, or any other means. It also covers communication freedom as well as the ability to propagate or print one’s viewpoint. The freedom mentioned above, granted by our constitution, is recognized as one of the most important aspects of a stable democracy. It encourages people to engage in the country’s social and political processes freely.
- Article 19(1)(b) & (c) - According to Article 19(1)(b) of the constitution, the right to a peaceful assembly without weapons is a constitutional right. Articles 19(1)(a), 19(1)(b), and 19(1)(c) of the Constitution grant people the right to freedom of speech, the right to assemble freely without arms, and the right to join organizations or labor unions. These three articles define the right to protest, providing that a protester can exercise his right to demonstrate against any topic of national or social concern. The right to freedom of speech and expression ensures that everyone can freely express themselves by gestures, words, and other means. The right to free speech in the absence of arms, such as conducting public gatherings or ending a parade is essential for civil disobedience movements.
- Article 19(1)(d) & (e) - Any citizen of India has the right under Article 19(1)(d) and (e) of the Indian Constitution to travel freely within India’s territory and to live and settle in any part of it. This privilege is subject to appropriate limits placed by statute in the general interest or for protecting any Scheduled Tribes’ interests.
- Article 19 (1)(g) - The Indian Constitution, in appreciation of the value of employment, enshrines and guarantees a constitutional right to all persons living within the country’s jurisdiction under Article 19(1)(g) to exercise any career or to carry on any occupation, commerce, or service. This right is associated with the health and well-being of people and the country as a whole. Under this article, every person has the right to pursue a profession, commerce, or occupation of their own volition and free will. However, the state also has the right to enforce such restrictions that it considers appropriate for the public benefit. This article does not give any person a monopoly in their chosen career. The right to run a company often entails the ability to shut it down at any moment if the owner so desires. The government cannot force a person to operate a company that he does not want to run. However, just as no right is unconditional, the right to shut a company is not either. It is something that the state has the legislative power to govern for the general interest. The right to close a company is not the same as the ability to not operate or operate a business. If an individual does not want to start a company or even plans to do so, he cannot be forced to do so; it is entirely up to him. However, if an individual is engaged in an enterprise, he or she can be forced to shut it down by the government for public safety reasons.
WHAT ARE THE EXCEPTIONS TO THE RIGHTS GIVEN UNDER ARTICLE 19?
Article 19 does provide some exceptions for the rights given under Article 19(1), and they may be suspended at some time. Those restrictions which are provided under Article 19(2) to Article 19(6) are:
- In the view of decency and morality.
- Friendly relations with neighboring countries.
- Public order.
- Contempt of Court.
One of the most fundamental guarantees to people is freedom of expression in speech, which is provided by the Indian Constitution. Finally, we may say that the right to freedom of speech and expression is a significant human right whose meaning has been expanded to include freedom of the press, the right to know (including commercial information), right to remain silent, and the right to criticize.
In today’s society, the right to freedom of expression includes the capacity to express itself by words and the opportunity to express oneself through a range of forms of communication. However, under Article 19(2) to Article 19(6) of the Indian Constitution, the rights we have mentioned are subject to fair limits.