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!