RIGHT TO FORM ASSOCIATION (MISUSE OF ARTICLE 19)
The right guaranteed to form associations or unions is more or
less a charter for all working people class in this nation. Trade union
activity was not only restricted by most of the Western nations until
comparatively recently, but in many nations, it was even looked upon as an
anti-social and anti-state consideration.
Working-class had to undergo great problems before they could
obtain even the elementary rights that vitally affected their existence as a
separate group or class in social norms. It was only in the 20th century,
particularly after the First World War, that any significant measure was
imposed on the nation to ensure the legitimate rights of the working-class
through labor and industrial legislation.
To get these rights fundamental and embody them as such in the
Constitution was indeed a much bolder step forward. Fully recognizing the
recent trend of those times, the Constitution of India has made the working
class right to form association a fundamental one.
The right to form associations or unions can be stopped only in
the interests of public order or values There can be no association or union
for an unethical or conspiratorial manner. Further nor can there be an
association or union to immorality. Interpreting the scope of the right the
Supreme Court held in the case laws of State of Madras vs. V.G. Rao:
“The right to form associations or unions has such wide and varied
scope for its exercise and its curtailment is fraught with such potential
reactions in the religious, political and economic fields. That the vesting of
authority in the executive 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 in a judicial inquiry, is a strong element
which, in our opinion, must be taken into account in judging the reasonableness
of the restrictions imposed on the exercise of the fundamental right under
Article 19 (1) (c).”
- It is a fundamental
Right given in the Constitution of India under Article 19(1)(c).
- It Proclaims that all
citizens shall have the freedom to form associations or unions for a lawful
- The right to form
associations indicates that several individuals get together and form
voluntarily an association with a common aim, legitimate purpose and having a
community of interest.
- It is not an absolute
Right rather it has certain Reasonable Restrictions.
The right to
form associations or unions, however, is not available to every citizen in the
same measure. A member of the public services, although he is a citizen, cannot
claim the right to the extent that a private citizen can. Being a Government
servant, he is bound by his service rules and he cannot challenge his service
rules on the ground that they stand in his way of fully enjoying the right to
form associations. This has been made clear by the Supreme Court in Balakotiah
vs. The Union of India.
Who can you this freedom?
Right to form an association under Armed Forces Articles 33 of the
Constitution empowers the Parliament to pass a law restricting the right to
form a political association to :
members of the Armed forces.
members of the Forces charged with or
employed in any bureau or other organization established by the state for
purposes of intelligence or counterintelligence, or
employed in or connection with the telecommunication system.
other Fundamental Right under Article 19, this right to association is also not
absolute and is subjected to regulation in social interest. Article 19(4)
specifically empowers the state to make 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 Form Association, in the
interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, Public order and Morality,
Here Public order means public peace, safety, and tranquility.
Elements of Restriction:
can be imposed only by the authority of law.
restriction must be Reasonable.
restriction must be related to the purpose specifically mentioned in Clause 4.
has the power to test the validity of these Restrictions on two grounds: whether
the restriction is reasonable, and whether it is for the purpose mentioned in
the clause under which the restriction is being imposed.
Constitution of India has given fundamental rights to the protection of
associations. Article19(1)(c) speaks about the Fundamental right of a citizen
to form 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
right of 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, partnership, trade union,
and political parties. The right secure isn’t simply the proper to create
association however additionally to continue with the association
intrinsically. The freedom type to create association implies additionally the
liberty to create or to not form, to join or not to join, an association or
v. Union of India, 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 continue to be associated
with only those whom they voluntarily admit in the association. Any law by
which members are introduced in the voluntary association without any option
being given to the members to keep them out, or any law which takes away the
membership of those who have voluntarily joined it, will be a law violating the
right to form an association”.
my view technically, an argument can be raised that Article 19 allows freedom
to form associations. However, labor unions are ruled by the trade unions act.
Therefore, the constitutional guarantee is limited by the statutory provisions.
Now trade unions act doesn’t mention the formation of trade unions as a matter
of right however a lot of as a selection and completion of formalities.
Therefore, it can’t be said that there is a right to form trade unions.