Reasonable Restriction I

Under Article 19(6) of The Constitution, the State has to conform to two separate and independent tests if it is to pass constitutional muster – the restriction on the fundamental right must first be a reasonable restriction, and secondly, it should also be in the interest of the general public. Perhaps the best exposition of what the expression ‘reasonable restriction’ connotes was laid down in Chintaman Rao v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 1950 SCR 759. The phrase ‘reasonable restriction’ connotes that the limitation imposed on a person in enjoyment of the right should not be arbitrary or of an excessive nature, beyond what is required in the interests of the public. The word ‘reasonable’ implies intelligent care and deliberation, that is, the choice of a course which reason dictates. Legislation which arbitrarily or excessively invades the right cannot be said to contain the quality of reasonableness and unless it strikes a proper balance between the freedom guaranteed in Article 19(1)(g) and the social control permitted by 19(6), it must be held to be wanting in that quality.”

– Hon’ble Justice R.F. NarimanCellular Operators Association of India v. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India [Civil Appeal No. 5018 of 2016].