Article 19(6) of Indian Constitution provides as under :
All citizens are given the right to practise any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business. This right is very wide as it covers all the means of earning one’s livelihood.
The State can impose reasonable restrictions on the exercise of this right in the interest of the general public. Further, the State is empowered to:
- prescribe professional or technical qualifications necessary for practising any profession or carrying on any occupation, trade or business; and
- carry on by itself any trade, business, industry or service whether to the exclusion (complete or partial) of citizens or otherwise.
Thus, no objection can be made when the State carries on a trade, business, industry or service either as a monopoly (complete or partial) to the exclusion of citizens (all or some only) or in competition with any citizen. The State is not required to justify its monopoly.
This right does not include the right to carry on a profession or business or trade or occupation that is immoral (trafficking in women or children) or dangerous (harmful drugs or explosives, etc,). The State can absolutely prohibit these or regulate them through licencing.