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Right to Freedom

Right to Freedom is a Fundamental Right, which is enshrined in Part III of the Indian Constitution. Articles 19-22 deal with the provisions of the Right to Freedom. It includes the following rights:

i. Protection of Six Rights (Article 19)

The six rights are:

a) Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression –

  • Right to propagate one’s views as well as views of others.
  • Freedom of the Press.
  • Freedom of commercial advertisements.
  • Right against tapping of telephonic conversations.
  • Right to telecast, which implies government has no monopoly on electronic media.
  • Right against bundh called by a political party or organization.
  • Right to know about government activities.
  • Freedom of silence.
  • Right against imposition of pre-censorship on a newspaper.
  • Right to demonstration or picketing but not right to strike.

b) Freedom of Assembly –

  • Every citizen has the right to assemble peacefully and without arms.
  • It includes the right to hold public meetings, demonstrations, and take out processions.
  • It can be exercised only on public land.

c) Freedom of Association –

  • Every citizen has the right to form association or trade union or co-operative societies, like political parties, companies, partnership firms, societies, clubs, organisations, trade unions or any association of persons.
  • It also includes the right to continue with the association.
  • It also includes the right of not to form or join an association or union.

d) Freedom of Movement –

  • Every citizen is entitled to move freely throughout the territory of the country.
  • Two reasonable restrictions can be imposed on this freedom on the grounds of:
    • Interests of general public.
    • Protection of interests of any scheduled tribe.

e) Freedom of Residence –

  • Every citizen has the right to reside and settle in any part of the country, within the territory of the country.
  • Two reasonable restrictions can be imposed on this freedom on the grounds of:
    • Interests of general public.
    • Protection of interests of any scheduled tribe.

f) Freedom of Profession –

  • Every citizen has the right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.
  • State can impose restrictions on this right:
    • State can prescribe professional or technical qualification necessary for practicing any profession, or carrying on any occupation, trade, or business; and
    • carry on by itself any trade, industry or business, whether to the exclusion of citizens or otherwise.
  • This right does not include any immoral business.

ii. Protection in Respect of Conviction for Offences

Article 20 provides protection against arbitrary and excessive punishment to an accused person, whether citizen or foreigner or legal company.

iii. Protection of Life and Personal Liberty

According to Article 21, no citizen shall be deprived of his life and personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. This right is available to the citizens and the non-citizens as well.

iv. Right to Education

  • According to Article 21 A, the states shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 6-14 years, by the procedure determined by the state. Therefore, elementary education is made a fundamental right.
  • This was added by the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2002.

v. Protection Against Arrest and Detention

  • According to Article 22, protection is granted to the people who are arrested or detained.

There are two types of detention:

Punitive Detention Preventive Detention
Punishing a person for the offence committed by him after trial and conviction in a court. Detention of a person without trial and conviction by a court.
Right to be informed about the grounds of arrest. Detention of a person cannot exceed three months unless an advisory board reports sufficient cause for extended detention. The board consists of the high court judges.
Right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner. The grounds of detention should be communicated to the detained person. However, the facts considered to be against the public interest need not be disclosed.
Right to be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, excluding the time of journey. The detainee should be provided with an opportunity to make a representation against order.
Right to be released after 24 hours unless the magistrate authorizes further detention.

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