Freedom of Movement

Article 19(4) of Indian Constitution provides as under :

This freedom entitles every citizen to move freely throughout the territory of the country. He can move freely from one state to another or from one place to another within a state. This right underline the idea that India is one unit so far as the citizens are concerned. Thus, the purpose is to promote national feeling and not parochialism.

The grounds of imposing reasonable restrictions on this freedom are two, namely, the interests of general public and the protection of interests of any scheduled tribe. The entry of outsiders in tribal areas is restricted to protect the distinctive culture, language, customs and manners of scheduled tribes and to safeguard their traditional vocation and properties against exploitation.

The Supreme Court held that the freedom of movement of prostitutes can be restricted on the ground of public health and in the interest of public morals. The Bombay High Court validated the restrictions on the movement of persons affected by AIDS.

The freedom of movement has two dimensions, viz, internal (right to move inside the country) and external (right to move out of the country and right to come back to the country). Article 19 protects only the first dimension. The second dimension is dealt by Article 21 (right to life and personal liberty).

By : Ramakant Verma

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