Right to Form Associations and Unions

Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution of India guarantees to all or any its citizens the proper to make associations and unions under clause (4) of Article 19, the state may by law impose reasonable restrictions on this right in the interest of public order or morality or the sovereignty and integrity of India. the proper to make associations or unions features a very wide and varied scope including all kinds of associations’ viz., political parties, clubs, societies, companies, organizations, entrepreneurship, trade unions, etc. It thus includes the proper to make companies, societies, partnerships, and trade unions. This text will deal with Article 19(1) (b) and (c) and its reasonable restrictions.

Keywords- guarantees, Right to make, reasonable restrictions, the interest of public order

Introduction

The freedom to assemble and the liberty of association are cornerstones of the lifetime of citizens during a constitutional democracy. These freedoms enable organizing for the achievements of collective aims and the engagement of citizens with one another. These freedoms also enable political organizing. Therefore, they are amongst the first rights or freedoms to be restricted by any state. The Constitution of India provides for freedom to assemble and the liberty to associate. Article 19 (1) (b) provides that each one citizen shall have the proper to assemble peaceably and without arms. While Article 19 (1) (c) accords all citizens the proper to make associations or unions or cooperative societies. The liberty to assemble is of interest within the realm of constitutional law since it is enabled and restricted by an intersection of the constitutional text and the criminal procedure code.

While the constitution provides for it as a right, the procedural provisions radically restrict this freedom, by empowering the state to manage its expression and peremptorily curtail its exercise. This rather contradictory approach is a reflection of a colonial legacy and the unquestioning adoption of most of the provisions of the 1872 Code of Criminal Procedure by the contemporary Indian State. it’s logical that the colonial state maintained a legal framework that enabled a fast breakup of any kind of organizing, meeting, association, or assembly that would threaten it. it’s unfortunate that fashionable India continues this legacy, both in the context of assembly and association rights. The freedom of association is not curtailed by any procedural code. Its character and breadth are formed only by the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court, and the restrictions imposed by the Constitution. The reasoning of the Court is superficial when it comes to appreciating the freedom of association.

Right to make an association[i] 

The right bound to form associations or unions is more or less a charter for all working people class during this nation. Union activity wasn’t only restricted by most of the Western nations until comparatively recently, but in many nations, it had been even looked upon as an anti-social and anti-state consideration. Working-class had to undergo great problems before they might obtain even the elementary rights that vitally affected their existence as a separate group or class in social norms. it had been only in the 20th century, particularly after the primary war, that any significant measure was imposed on the state to make sure the legitimate rights of the working-class through labour and industrial legislation. To urge these rights fundamental and embody them intrinsically in the Constitution was indeed a way bolder breakthrough. Fully recognizing the recent trend of these times, the Constitution of India has made the labour right to make the association a fundamental one.

The right to make associations or unions are often stopped only in the interests of public order or values there are often no association or union for an unethical or conspiratorial manner. Interpreting the scope of the proper the Supreme Court held in the case of State of Madras vs. V.G. Rao “The right to make associations or unions has such wide and varied scope for its exercise and its curtailment are fraught with such potential reactions in the religious, political and economic fields. That the vesting of authority in the chief government to impose restrictions on such right, without allowing the grounds of such imposition, both in their factual and legal aspects, to be duly tested during a judicial inquiry, is a robust element which, in our opinion, must be taken under consideration in judging the reasonableness of the restrictions imposed on the exercise of the elemental right under Article 19 (1) (c)[ii].”

Right to make Association:

  • It is a fundamental Right given in the Constitution of India under Article 19(1)(c).
  • It proclaims that each one citizen shall have the freedom to make associations or unions for a lawful purpose.
  • The right to make associations indicates that several individuals get together and form voluntarily an association with a standard aim, legitimate purpose, and having a community of interest.
  • It is not an absolute Right rather it’s certain Reasonable Restrictions.

The right to make associations or unions, however, is not available to each citizen in an equivalent measure. A member of the general public services, although he’s a citizen, cannot claim the proper to the extent that a personal citizen can.

Reasonable Restriction

Like any other Fundamental Right under Article 19, the proper to the association is additionally not absolute and is subjected to regulation in social interest. Article 19(4) specifically empowers the state to form any law to fetter, abridge, or abrogate any of the rights under Article 19(1) (c). Clause (4) empowers the state to impose reasonable restrictions on the exercise of Right to make Association, in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, Public order and Morality,

Essential Elements of Restriction

  • It is often imposed only by the authority of law.
  • The restriction must be Reasonable.
  • The restriction must be associated with the aim specifically mentioned in Clause 4.
  • Judiciary has the facility to check the validity of those Restrictions on two grounds: whether the restriction is cheap, and whether it is for the aim mentioned in the clause under which the restriction is being imposed.

The Constitution of India has given fundamental rights to the protection of associations. Article 19(1) (c) speaks about the elemental right of a citizen to make associations and unions. Under clause (4) of Article 19, however, the State may by law impose reasonable restrictions on this right in the interest of public order or morality or the sovereignty and integrity of India. The proper association pre-supposes organization. It as an association or permanent relationship between its members in matters of common concern. It thus includes the right to form companies, societies, partnerships, trade unions, and political parties. The proper security isn’t simply the right to make association however additionally to continue with the association intrinsically. The freedom type to make association implies additionally the freedom to make or to not form, to hitch or to not join, an association or union.

In Damayanti v. Union of India[1], The Supreme Court held that “The right to form an association”, the Court said, “necessarily ‘implies that the person forming the association has also the right to still be related to only those whom they voluntarily admit in the association. Any law by which members are introduced in the voluntary association with none option being given to the members to stay them out, or any law which takes away the membership of these who have voluntarily joined it, is going to be a law violating the right to form an association”.

According to my view technically, an argument is often raised that Article 19 allows freedom to form associations. However, labour unions are ruled by the trade unions act. Therefore, the constitutional guarantee is restricted by the statutory provisions. Now trade unions act doesn’t mention the formation of trade unions as a matter of right however tons of as a variety and completion of formalities. Therefore, it can’t be said that there is a right to form trade unions. The right to form associations or unions doesn’t ask statutory bodies like local board and municipalities and thus suppression of an area board or municipalities under the relevant law can’t be deemed to be an infringement of such right to form associations or unions.

In O.K.A. Nair v. Union of India[2] and the appellants were members of the civil employee’s unions in the varied centres of Defense Establishments. The Commandant declared their unions as an unlawful association. They challenged the validity of the impugned order on the bottom that the said order was volatile of Article 19 (1) (c). The Supreme Court held that the civil employees of the defence establishments, answer the outline of the members of the soldiers within the meaning of Article 33, and thus they aren’t entitled to form trade unions. The right to form associations or unions does not carry with it the right to achieve any objective. Thus, the trade unions have no guaranteed right to effective bargaining. 

In Balakotaih v. Union of India[3] , the services of the appellant were terminated under Railway Service Rules for his being a member of the communist party and a trade unionist. The appellant contended that the termination from service amounted in substance to denial to him the right to form an association. The appellant had no doubt a fundamental right to form an association, but he had no fundamental right to continue in Government service. Hence, it had been held that the order terminating his services wasn’t in contravention of Article 19 (1) (c) because the order didn’t prevent him to continue in Communist Party as a trade unionist. Reasonable Restrictions

In G.K. Ghosh v. E.X. Josef[4], Rule 4-B of the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1955, requires a Government servant to not join or still be a member of the Association of state servants as soon as the recognition is given to such association is withdrawn or if the association is made, no recognition is granted thereto within six months. The Supreme Court held that the condition on recognition of the said association to be a right would be ineffective and illusory and the imposition of such condition on the right of the association has no reference to the general public order of the State.

The restrictions on the right to form associations and unions imposed by law must be reasonable and that they can only be imposed on the grounds specifically mentioned in clause (4) of Article 19, in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, or public order or morality on the exercise of this right.

A restriction which does not fulfil these conditions are going to be considered as unreasonable by the courts and can be declared illegal. it might be an unreasonable restriction to compel employees to possess previous permission before becoming members of a specific union. Similarly, when a law imposes a restriction on the union on the bottom that a union shall not be entitled to represent its members in an industrial dispute unless the union is approved by the executive authority at his absolute discretion, can’t be sustained. In Raghubar v. Union of India[5], it’s been similarly held that no-one is often compelled to become a member of a Government-sponsored union.

Grounds on which this freedom gets restricted

  • Sovereignty and Integrity of India: To safeguard the sovereignty of the country the freedom to form association are often restricted. This freedom also will be restricted if it causes any disturbance or affects the oneness of the country.
  • Public Order: to take care of safety, public peace, order and tranquillity of the country, the right to form an association is often restricted.
  • Morality: This freedom is often restricted if any of the individual’s activities involve indecency or obscenity.

The right to form association includes the right to form companies, societies, partnerships, trade union and political parties. The right guaranteed is not merely the right to form association but also to continue with the association intrinsically. The freedom to form association implies also the freedom to form or to not form, to hitch or to not join, an association or union.

Any law by which members are introduced in the voluntary association with none option of being given to the members to stay them out, or any law which takes away the membership of these who have voluntarily joined it, is going to be a law violating the right to form an association. The Hindi Sahitya Sammelan Act does not merely regulate the administration of the affairs of the first society, what it does is to change the composition of the society itself. The results of this alteration in the composition are that the members who voluntarily formed the association are now compelled to act in the association with other members who are imposed as members by the act and in whose admission to a membership that they had no say. Such alteration in the composition of the association itself interferes with the right to still function as members of the association which was voluntarily formed by the first founders. The Act, therefore, violates the right of the first members of the society to form an association guaranteed under Article 19 (1) (c).

Regarding the plea that the Act imposes reasonable restriction under clause (4) of Art 19, the Court said that clause (4) can’t be called in to say validity for the Act. Under clause (4), of Art 19 reasonable restrictions are often imposed only in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India or the interests of public order or morality. The alteration of the constitution of the society in a manner laid down by the act is not in the interest of the sovereignty or integrity of India or the interests of public order or morality.

Right of Association and soldiers

In O.K.A. Nair v. Union Of India[6], a crucial question arose whether civilian employees, designated as non – combatants like cooks, chowkidars, barbers, mechanics, bootmakers, tailors etc. Attached to the Defence Establishments have a right to form associations or unions. The appellants were members of the civil employee’s unions in the varied centres of the Defence Establishment. The Commandment declared their unions as unlawful associations. They challenged that the impugned action was violative of their fundamental right to form associations or unions under Art 19(1)(c) of the Constitution. They contended that the members of the unions, though attached to the Defence Establishments, were civilians and their service conditions were regulated by government officials Rules and thus they might not be called as ” members of the Armed Forces” within the meaning of Art 33 of the Constitution. The Supreme Court rejected the contentions of the appellants and held that the civilian employees of the Defence Establishments answer the outline of the members of the soldiers within the meaning of Art 33 and, therefore weren’t entitled to form trade unions. It’s their duty to follow or accompany the Armed Personnel on active service or in camp or on March. Although they are non-combatants and in some matters governed by the government officials Rule, yet they are integral to soldiers. Consequently, under the Army Act, the Central Government was competent to form rules restricting or curtailing their fundamental right under Art 19(1) (c).

Restrictions on the liberty of Association

In Haji Mohd. District Board, Malda[7] , it had been held that a restriction requiring an educator to require prior permission to interact in political activities is an inexpensive restriction. It aimed toward preventing teachers from getting involved with political institutions. For, an educator is not merely a citizen but he has got to be under certain terms and discipline of employment.

In Ramakrishna v. President, District Board, Nellore[8], a Government order requiring municipal teachers to not join unions aside from those officially approved was held to impose prior restraint on the right to form association and union, which was in the character of administrative censorship, and hence invalid.

Conclusion

Therefore, it can be concluded that these associations, clubs, groups and other organizations do indeed play a big role in an individual’s life. They also play a serious part in determining his perception and persuade him to possess a broader vision and a widened approach towards everything happening in society. The Constitution ensures that no citizen residing within the territorial jurisdiction of the country is bereft of this right granted under Art 19(1) (c). But at an equivalent time, it is that the duty of the citizens to make sure that in the due course of formation of a specific association also as during the time span of the membership, harmony, discipline and order continues to continue the society. It is important to require into consideration that an equivalent does not produce to breach of public peace. It’s also necessary that the formation or participation and even continuation of those different associations don’t act as a barrier or an obstacle in the progress and development of the country. If in the least the goal or the motive of the people engaged in them is evil or ulterior an equivalent will end in causing an imbalance in the democratic system. It’ll also pose a threat to the welfare and well-being of the people in the country.

Questions

  1. What is right to form associations and unions?
  2. Who has the right to form association and union?
  3. What are the essentials of restriction?
  4. Which grounds restricts the freedom?

[1] AIR 1971 S.C. 966

[2] AIR 1976 S.C. 1176

[3] AIR 1958 S.C. 232,

[4] AIR 1963 S.C. 812

[5] AIR 1962 S.C. 263

[6] AIR 1976 S.C. 1176

[7] AIR 1958 Cal 401

[8] AIR 1952 Mad 253


[i]https://indianlegalsolution.com/right-to-form-an-association-misuse-of-article-19-complete-details/

[ii] https://lawbriefs.in/case-brief-state-of-madras-v-s-vg-row-and-others-1952/

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