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Report No. 43

8.6. Supreme Court decision in V.G. Row's case.-

In the leading case on the right to form an association, the validity of the Madras Amendment of 1950 to the Indian Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1908 was under challenge. The Supreme Court, after setting out the considerations to be borne in mind in examining the reasonableness of restrictions, observed1-

"Giving due weight to all the considerations indicated above, we have come to the conclusion that section 15(2)(b) cannot be upheld as falling within the limits of authorised restrictions on the right conferred by Article 19(1)(c). 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 by section 15(2)(b) on the exercise of the fundamental right under Article 19(1)(c); for, no summary and what is bound to be a largely one-sided review by an Advisory Board, even where its verdict is binding on the executive government, can be a substitute ford 4 judicial enquiry.

The formula of subjective satisfaction of the Government or of its officers, with an Advisory Board thrown into review the materials on which the Government seeks to override a basic freedom guaranteed to the citizen, may be viewed as reasonable only in very exceptional circumstances and within the narrowest limits, and cannot receive judicial approval as a general pattern of reasonable restrictions on fundamental rights."

1. State of Madras v. V.G. Row, 1952 SCR : AIR 1952 SC 196.

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