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Report No. 46

28. Consequences of mentioning whole of Article 19.-

On the other hand, if the whole of Article 19 is retained in the relevant provision of clause 3 of the Bill, it is likely to lead to some consequences which we view with grave concern. Sub-clauses (a), (b) and (c) of Clause (1) of Article 19 guarantee to all citizens fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression, to assemble peaceably and without arms, and to form associations or unions. We have already expressed our concurrence with the policy underlying the aim and object of clause 3 of the Bill and we have also indicated that a stage has now arrived when the primacy of the Directive Principles must not only be recognised in theory, but must become a reality of the part of national life.

Nevertheless, we cannot ignore the fact that there may be citizens or groups of citizens who subscribe to the conservative political philosophy and want the status quo to remain and laissez-faire to thrive. It is well known that the doctrine of laissez-faire and the rule of the market characterised the Victorian era in the English public life. So far as we are concerned, the days of laissez-faire and the rule of the market are over, and the Constitution in unmistakable terms provides for the pursuit of the idea of establishing an egalitarian society by the rule of law in a democratic manner.

Even so, if a section of the Indian community, however small in number, does not believe in this philosophy and wants to propagate the conservative view of life, it would be entitled to advocate the amendment of some of the Directive Principles to conform to its socio-economic philosophy. Freedom of speech and expression of opinion means not only freedom of speech and expression of opinion which is in conformity with the philosophy of the establishment, but more particularly freedom of speech and expression of opinion which dissents from the philosophy of the establishment. This position no democrat can dispute.

The Constitution (Twenty-Fifth Amendment) Bill, 1971 Back

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