Reasonable Restrictions On Fundamental Rights And Right To Property (1)

Reasonable restrictions on fundamental rights and right to property

Fundamental Rights are the basic rights of the people and the charter of rights contained in Part III of Constitution of India. It guarantees civil liberties such that all Indians can lead their lives in peace and harmony as citizens of India. These include individual rights common to most liberal democracies, such as equality before law, freedom of speech and expression, religious and cultural freedom and peaceful assembly, freedom to practice religion, and the right to constitutional remedies for the protection of civil rights by means of writs such as habeas corpus, Mandamus, Prohibition, Certiorari and Quo Warranto.

Though the Constitution of India guarantees all these Fundamental rights for the citizen, yet there are some limitation and exceptions of these rights also. A citizen can not enjoy Fundamental Rights absolutely or at will.

Reasonable’ means that which is in accordance with reason, and which is associated with logic and not arbitrariness. It implies intelligent care and deliberation that which reason dictates. The expression “reasonable restriction” signifies that the limitation imposed on a person in the enjoyment of the right should not be arbitrary or of an excessive nature beyond what is required in the interest of the public.

 Within some Constitutional limitation citizen can enjoy their Rights. The Constitution of India imposes some reasonable restrictions upon enjoyment of these Rights so, that public order, morality and health remain intact . The Constitution always aims at restoration of collective interest along with individual interest .For example, right to religion is subject to restrictions imposed by the state in the interest of public order, morality and health so, that the freedom of religion may not be abused to committee crimes or anti-social activities . Similarly Rights guaranteed by article-19 does not mean absolute liberty . Absolute individual rights can not be guaranteed by any modern state . There fore our Constitution also empowered the state to impose reasonable restrictions as may be necessary in the larger interest of the community . our Constitution always attempts “ to strike a balance between individual liberty and social control .” and to establish a welfare state where collective interest got prominence over individual interest .Freedom of speech and expression (Art.19-1-A) is also subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by the state relating to defamation, contempt of court, decency or morality, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states , incitement to an offence, public order, maintenance of the sovereignty and integrity of India . Freedom of assembly (Art.19-1-B) is also subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by the state that the assembly must be peaceful and without arms in the interest of public order. Freedom of press which is included in the wider freedom of expression is also subject to reasonable limitations and the state can impose restriction upon freedom of press in the larger interest of the state or for the prevention of contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.

Right to property

Property, as a legal and social institution, has different forms in different cultures and legal systems. However, only a definition of Constitutional property is common in all democratic countries. Since state exercises eminent domain power against private property, it is pertinent to discuss the concept of private property in brief. The institution of private property has been a controversial issue with conflicting views, one completely denying the right to own private property and the other supports the holding of the private property. However, the right to property is a natural and inherent right of an individual.

After independence, no Fundamental right has caused so much trouble and has given so much of litigation between the government and citizens as the property right. The reason is that the central and state governments have enacted massive hysteron of laws to regulate property rights. First, the government undertook to reconstruct the agrarian economy, interalia, by trying to confer right to property on tillers, abolition of zamindaris, giving security of tenure to tenants, fixing a ceiling limit on personal holding of agricultural land and redistributing the surplus land among the landless. Secondly, in the area of urban property, measures have been taken to provide housing to the people, clearance of slums and planning, control rents, acquire property and impose a ceiling on urban land ownership etc., Thirdly, government has undertaken to regulate private enterprises and nationalization of some commercial undertakings. These various legislative measures have been undertaken to effectuate accepted goal of establishing a socialistic pattern of society. Hence Articles 31 and 19(1)(f)  were repealed. Historical evolution and demise of repealed Articles 31 and 19(1)(f) are still relevant for the understanding of constitutional developments of property right. Since the commencement of the Constitution fundamental right conferred by Article 31 and Article 19(1)(f) has been modified by six times by the constitutional amendments. The first amendment added two explanatory Articles 31-A & 31-B to the Constitution; the fourth amendment amended clause (2) of Article 31, added clause (2A) to the same Article, inserted new provisions in Article 31-A and enlarged the ninth schedule; the seventeenth amendment further elaborated the definition of ‘estate’ in clause (2) of Article 31-A; and the twenty fifth amendment amended Article 31(2), added clause (2-B) and added a new Article 31-C. In the forty second amendment Article 31-C was substituted by the words “ the principles specified in clause (b) or clause (c) of the Article 39” for the words “all or any of the principles laid down in part IV of the Constitution”.

finally forty fourth amendment repealed the entire Article 31 and Article 19(1)(f) & inserted Article 300A.

Ninth Schedule – A Protective Umbrella

Article 31-B, does not by itself give any fundamental right. The Acts and regulations placed under ninth schedule shall not be deemed to be void or ever to have become void on the ground of its inconsistency with any fundamental right. In Kameshwar Singh 80 case, the Supreme Court said that no Act brought under the ninth schedule could be invalidated on the ground of violation of any fundamental rights.

With the introduction of the above amendment, it became very easy for the Government to acquire property and to carryout different agrarian reforms. Firstly the acquisition laws under the fear of being challenged were inserted in the ninth schedule by the constitutional amendments and thereby the concerned laws were made immune from challenge against any of the fundamental rights guaranteed under part III of the Constitution.

So for now right to property in india is a statutory right under the article 300A of Indian constitution.


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