Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Is freedom to reside in Mumbai the constitutional right of any Indian Citizen?

I have heard the argument – “how can MNS prevent non-Marathi people from coming to Mumbai?” many times in the past one year… This is the right given to every Indian citizen by the Constitution of this country! Is that true? Let’s do some research… the said rights are conferred to every Indian in article 19 of the Indian Constitution. The wordings are as follows -

Article 19. Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc.
All citizens shall have the right—
(a) to freedom of speech and expression;
(b) to assemble peaceably and without arms;
(c) to form associations or unions;
(d) to move freely throughout the territory of India;
(e) to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India;
(g) to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.

Bingo… sub clause (e) clearly is a “slap of the face” for “parochial politicians” like Raj Thackeray… right? Hmmm… not exactly.

Suppose as an Indian Citizen, you want to buy land and reside in Kashmir… you actually cant! You would argue that this is a exception because of the special status of Jammu & Kashmir state.

Then, why do I have to take permits from Himachal Govt to pray in the Tabo Monastery of Lahaul valley?… sensitive area bordering Tibet they say!

Can I buy land in Nicobar Islands or the Union Territory Lakshadweep… hell, no!

Hmm… how’s that possible? What about my “Constitutional rights”? Because the subclause (e) has a rider and it reads as follows -

Nothing in sub-clauses (d) and (e) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of any of the rights conferred by the said sub-clauses either in the interests of the general public or for the protection of the interests of any Scheduled Tribe.

This means that the Central or State government can restrict an Indian citizen from residing in an area if it is against the “interests of the general public”. What if MNS comes to power in Maharashtra and passes a law preventing non-Marathi people from settling in Mumbai? Technically, it is possible. They can show that the infrastructure in Maharashtra is crumbling under the immigrant population.

Law experts can poke holes in this hypothesis. A healthy debate is most welcome!

3M would like to emphasise – This blog does not recommend such a law… but wants to show that technically such a step is possible.


The Lone Wanderer said...

good research...u r right its quite possible to implement this technically...but im not too sure of its chances if challenged in court.

Im not much aware of the status of Andaman and Nicobar but one cannot and shud not equate JnK and Maharashtra or any other state..the geo political issues are too contrasting....

also one thing im very sure of is that such a law if actually passed in any state..u will definitely see a herd effect..

Mahesh Vijapurkar said...

I disagree.

The riders have a purpose. It is to protect the legal interests of people, natural justice, not to help them avoid an inconvenience.

Remember the anti-'Indian' agitation in the North East? Remember the partition?

What is on the basis of language, creed, prejudice are not be covered by the riders you mention. That would be misreading the intent.

The other way round is how I would appreciate the issue: allow free access to Indians to but in Kashmir and other areas. Remove the special provisions. Make India one.

What comes to my mind is that urban planning ought to take into account the load bearing capacity of a piece of land. Once a city reaches a particular size in terms of population, then only natural accretion should be allowed. No new jobs, no new industries, not even a new store should be allowed.

It is cheaper to run orderly smaller towns.

Hope I am not misunderstood.

Mahesh Vijapurkar

BharGo said...

In response to Mr. Vijapurkar

Sir, your comments are highly valued! I agree with the "intent" but am not sure if it cannot be misinterpreted at a later date.

Your suggestion on curbing sizes of town was certianly thought provoking.

Anonymous said...

you are promoting secessionist tendencies!

Vivek G said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mahesh Vijapurkar said...

I am averse to discuss issues on blogs because people tend to be condescending, abusive, and instead of being pointed and purposeful, get into alleys.

Vivek G's approach is one such: why call anyone 'junglee'? That shows up lack of a civilised approach to discussion. Expression can be free, but to lace it with abuse, pejoration converts a discussion into billingsgate cacaphony.

Cite reasons, argue your case by all means but remain decent; remain Marathi.

I opt out of this discussion henceforth. I like better company. The blogger may consider moderating the discussions.

BharGo said...

The adverse comment has been removed from the blog. Mr. Vijapurkar is requested to continue giving his inputs to enrich the blog.


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