Freedom of Residence

Article 19(5) of the Indian Constitution provides as under :

Every citizen has the right to reside and settle in any part of the territory of the country. This right has two parts: (a) the right to reside in any part of the country, which means to stay at any place temporarily, and (b) the right to settle in any part of the country, which means to set up a home or domicile at any place permanently.

This right is intended to remove internal barriers within the country or between any of its parts. This promotes nationalism and avoids narrow mindedness.

The State can impose reasonable restrictions on the exercise of this right on two grounds, namely, the interest of general public and the protection of interests of any scheduled tribes. The right of outsiders to reside and settle 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. In many parts of the country, the tribals have been permitted to regulate their property rights in accordance with their customary rules and laws.

The Supreme Court held that certain areas can be banned for certain kinds of persons like prostitutes and habitual offenders.

From the above, it is clear that the right to residence and the right to movement are overlapping to some extent. Both are complementary to each other.

By : Ramakant Verma

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