Right to Protest in India | Is Protesting a Fundamental Right?

19/07/2023 knowyourlaw By jiten


The Right to Protest in India is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution, which ensures the freedom of speech and expression. Protest is considered an important tool for citizens to voice their concerns regarding social, economic, and political issues. Article 19(1)(b) guarantees the right to freedom of association, allowing citizens to form political organizations to challenge government activities collectively. Article 19(1)(c) grants individuals the right to peacefully assemble and question government actions through demonstrations, agitations, and public assemblies. However, it is important to note that these rights are not absolute and can be subject to reasonable restrictions in the interest of public order, morality, and the sovereignty and integrity of India.


Two landmark cases help us understand the extent of the right to protest and the permissible restrictions. In the Ramlila Maidan Incident case (2012), the Supreme Court of India examined the right to peaceful protest and emphasized that restrictions on this right should be reasonable and proportionate to maintain public order. In the Himat Lal K. Shah vs. Commissioner of Police case, the court highlighted the imposition of reasonable restrictions to safeguard public safety and prevent incitement to violence. The court held that restrictions on the right to protest are permissible if they are necessary to maintain public order, protect the rights of others, and prevent potential harm or violence.


In conclusion, the right to protest is an essential aspect of the Indian legal system, protected and upheld by the Constitution and through landmark cases. While individuals have the right and freedom to express their views and dissent, reasonable restrictions may be imposed by the Government of India in the interest of public order and the integrity of the nation.

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