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Mutilated Liberty and the Constitution

Mutilated Liberty and the Constitution

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Published by ElizabethDarcy

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Published by: ElizabethDarcy on Mar 08, 2012
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Mutilated Liberty and the Constitution Author(s): Nirmalendu Bikash Rakshit Source: Economicand Political Weekly, Vol. 38, No. 16 (Apr. 19-25, 2003), pp. 1548-1550 Published by: Economicand Political Weekly Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4413455 Accessed: 18/03/200923:30
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available athttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part,that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copiesof articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use.Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained athttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=epw.Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or  printed page of such transmission.JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 to build trusted digital archives for scholarship. We work with the scholarly community to preserve their work and the materials they rely upon, and to build a commonresearch platform that promotes the discovery and use of these resources. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.Economic and Political Weekly is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Economicand Political Weekly.http://www.jstor.org
 
were out of their classes in protest, soon to be joined by others - their teachers, coevais from other institutions and past students, thelast demonstrating the nostalgia that an endangered alma mater can evoke. There were others too, those with concern for the city, itsheritage and for its much-misused Marina. All these reactions were spontaneous, not fanned by politicians or professional agitators.These also came in of course and added to the tension and the drama. There were reports of ‘masquerades’, of the politicallymotivated trying to pass off as police and students and rumours of dire threats to student leaders. The closure of the college wasordered and naturally legal redress was sought. The chiefjustice was sharply critical of the government’s handling of the situation.He ordered the opening of the college and stayed demolition until the final verdict.-And there the matter rests, for the time being.But the incident did generate some side-shows, the arrests of DMK tnen, including M K Stalin, on the charge of inciting thestudents.An intriguing question why is 1 so keen on the QMC site? 1t is not tnntthere is so severe a shonage of space in Chennai that 21 functioning heritage building has to be demolished to make way for a newsecretariat complex assuming that this has high priority when the state‘s coffers are so depleted as to occasion econcmy measuresimpinging on employment and emoluments in the government sector. Naturally, the talk is that the dccision is in accordance with‘vaasthu' dictates - the same that led to the removal of the Kannagi statue (see ‘Tamil Nadu: Travails of a Statue’, EPW, February 2,2002). And it is said that the propitious time had also been set, and hence the unseemly haste. The timing of some other operationsalso seems to be set in accordance with astrological prescriptions. Itwas reported that in the matter of a midnight arrest, the policewaited for quite some time outside the home of their quarry for the ‘auspicious’ hour! Meanwhile, some of the opposition led byKarunanidhi seem to consider the time suitable for more serious action, demanding the use of Article 356. Summer is advancingand the temperature will rise all round, it seems. [1111
Mutilated Liberty and the Constitution
Without liberty there cannot be democracy and Article 19 of the Indian Constitution guarantees that right to all citizens. In order that the state can regulate the individual ’s freedom in the greater interest of societya number of restrictions have been placed on these rights. However the restrictions have become sonumerozis today that the balance has tilted towards social control rather than liberty.
 NIRMALENDU BIKASH RAKSHITrticle 19 ofthe Indian Constitution Ahas guaranteed the right to liberty to all citizens. It is closely related to the preamble whichintends to create a ‘sovereign democratic republic‘ and it is axiomatic that without liberty there cannot be democracy. In that sense,Article 19 is a very important Anicle of the C0nstituti0n.1 Although it has been given second place in the list of our fundamentalrights, it is not secondary in imp0rtance.2 It is rather the basic right which was felt to be essen~ tial for the establishment of the freeInclia.Of course, right to liberty is covered by Articles 19, 20, 21 and 22 andembraces the classical liberties of the individual.3 The makers realised mm without such right, no man can, in fact, seek to be at his best. As S L Sikri observed, “Taken together, these four Articles form a charter of liberties which provide the backbone 0f thechapter on fundamental rights.‘But Article 19 is the crown and it can be easily separated from Articles 20, 2l and 22 in the sense that while they deal with‘personal liberty’, Article 19 speaks of the basic ‘liberty’. It is, thus, the single provision which has eagerly been inserted to protectthe ‘liberty’ of the individual. In this way, Article 19 forms the core of our freed0m.5But, as a matter of fact, liberty has many aspects and Article 19 singularly covers all of them. As 21 stark reality, it deals with six basic freedoms.‘/’ It, in its original form, stated that all citizens shall have the right: (21) to freedom of speech and expression; (b) toassemble peaceably and withoutarms;(c) to form associations and unions; (d) to move freely throughout the territory of India;(e) to reside and settle in any part of India; (F) to acquire, hold or dispose of property (omitted by the 44th Amendment in 1978);and (g) to practise any profession or to curry on any occupation, trade or business»

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