(1) All citizens shall have the right—

      (a) to freedom of speech and expression;

      (b) to assemble peaceably and without arms;

      (c) to form associations or unions;

      (d) to move freely throughout the territory of India;

      (e) to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India;

      (g) to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.

 

(2) Nothing in sub-clause (a) of clause (1) shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, in so far as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause in the interests of the 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.

 

 (3) Nothing in sub-clause (b) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India or public order, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause.

(4) Nothing in sub-clause (c) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, in the interests of the sovereignty andintegrity of India or] public order or morality, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause.

 

(5) Nothing in 1 [sub-clauses (d) and (e) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of any of the rights conferred by the said sub-clauses either in the interests of the general public or for the protection of the interests of any Scheduled Tribe.

 

(6) Nothing in sub-clause (g) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, in the interests of the general public, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause, and, in particular, nothing in the said sub-clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it relates to, or prevent the State from making any law relating to,—

         (i) the professional or technical qualifications necessary for practising any profession or carrying on any occupation, trade or business, or

         (ii) the carrying on by the State, or by a corporation owned or controlled by the State, of any trade, business, industry or service, whether to the exclusion, complete or partial, of citizens or otherwise.

Debate Summary

Draft Constitution of India, 1948

13. (1) Subject to the other provisions of this article, all citizens shall have the right-

(a) To freedom of speech and expression;

(b) To assemble peaceably and without arms;

(c) To form associations or unions;

(d) To move freely throughout the territory of India;

(e) To reside and settle in any part of the territory of India;

(f) To acquire, hold and dispose of property; and

(g) To practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.

(2) Nothing in sub-clause (a) of clause (1) of this article shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, relating to libel, slander, defamation, sedition or any other matter which offends against decency. or morality or undermines the authority or foundation of the State.

(3) Nothing in sub-clause (b) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, imposing in the interests of public order restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause.

(4) Nothing in sub-clause (c) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, imposing, in the interests of the general public, restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause.

(5) Nothing in sub-clauses (d), (e) and (f) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, imposing restrictions on the exercise of any of the rights conferred by the said sub-clauses either in the interests of the general public or for the protection of the interests of any aboriginal tribe.

(6) Nothing in sub-clause (g) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, imposing in the interests of public order, morality or health, restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause and in particular prescribing, or empowering any authority to prescribe, the professional or technical qualifications necessary for practising any profession or carrying on any occupation, trade or business

Draft Article 13 (Article 19, Constitution of India 1950) was debated on the 1 December 19482nd of December 1948, 16th October 1949 and 17th of October 1949.

While the Constituent Assembly was unanimous on the incorporation of the rights to freedom in the Constitution, conflicts emerged.

The Assembly saw skirmishes primarily around the clauses that allowed existing and future laws to restrict the rights to freedom on certain grounds. While some members were convinced rights could not be absolute, others were concerned that restrictions effectively nullified the rights.

It was suggested that the term ‘reasonable restrictions’ be introduced into the Article - this allowed the Courts to review legislation and strike down restrictions that were arbitrary.

The Article was adopted with amendments.