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The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2005
Article 19(1)(c) in The Constitution Of India 1949
Article 19(1) in The Constitution Of India 1949
Article 19 in The Constitution Of India 1949
Section 16 in The Government Securities Act, 2006
Citedby 408 docs - [View All]
Ahmad Ali Akhtar And Anr. vs Union Of India (Uoi) And Anr. on 2 March, 1993
The Lord Krishna Sugar Mills ... vs The Union Of India And Another(And ... on 6 May, 1959
Senairam Doongarmal Agency (P.) ... vs K.E. Johnson And Others. on 15 March, 1963
Kishan Chand Arora vs Commissioner Of Police, Calcutta on 9 December, 1960
Kesavananda Bharati ... vs State Of Kerala And Anr on 24 April, 1973

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Supreme Court of India
State Of Madras vs V.G. Row.Union Of India & State ... on 31 March, 1952
Equivalent citations: 1952 AIR 196, 1952 SCR 597
Author: M P Sastri
Bench: Sastri, M. Patanjali (Cj), Mahajan, Mehr Chand, Mukherjea, B.K., Das, Sudhi Ranjan, Aiyar, N. Chandrasekhara
           PETITIONER:
STATE OF MADRAS

	Vs.

RESPONDENT:
V.G. ROW.UNION OF INDIA & STATE	  IntervenersOF TRAVANCORE

DATE OF JUDGMENT:
31/03/1952

BENCH:
SASTRI, M. PATANJALI (CJ)
BENCH:
SASTRI, M. PATANJALI (CJ)
MAHAJAN, MEHR CHAND
MUKHERJEA, B.K.
DAS, SUDHI RANJAN
AIYAR, N. CHANDRASEKHARA

CITATION:
 1952 AIR  196		  1952 SCR  597
 CITATOR INFO :
 RF	    1954 SC  92	 (35)
 RF	    1954 SC 229	 (28)
 RF	    1956 SC 479	 (19)
 R	    1956 SC 559	 (4,8,9)
 E&R	    1957 SC 896	 (10)
 E	    1958 SC 578	 (169)
 F	    1958 SC 731	 (21)
 F	    1959 SC 300	 (5)
 R	    1960 SC 468	 (6)
 R	    1960 SC1080	 (40)
 R	    1960 SC1124	 (25,42,64)
 R	    1961 SC 448	 (7)
 R	    1961 SC 705	 (5,11,20)
 R	    1961 SC 884	 (24)
 R	    1962 SC 123	 (15)
 R	    1962 SC 263	 (25)
 R	    1962 SC 305	 (29)
 A	    1962 SC 316	 (35,36)
 R	    1962 SC1371	 (34,64,65,66)
 R	    1963 SC 996	 (2)
 R	    1964 SC 416	 (11)
 RF	    1967 SC 829	 (6,7)
 R	    1968 SC 445	 (14)
 RF	    1970 SC 898	 (58)
 R	    1970 SC1157	 (12)
 R	    1970 SC1453	 (15)
 R	    1971 SC 530	 (259)
 R	    1971 SC 966	 (7)
 R	    1971 SC1667	 (10,25,27)
 RF	    1973 SC 947	 (8)
 RF	    1973 SC1461	 (594,1547)
 F	    1975 SC 550	 (8)
 RF	    1976 SC1207	 (300)
 RF	    1977 SC1825	 (29)
 R	    1978 SC 597	 (132)
 F	    1978 SC 771	 (15,22)
 R	    1978 SC1457	 (62)
 R	    1979 SC  25	 (31)
 R	    1980 SC 898	 (70)
 RF	    1980 SC1992	 (12)
 R	    1981 SC 873	 (19,23)
 RF	    1981 SC1030	 (16)
 MV	    1982 SC1325	 (32)
 R	    1984 SC 882	 (3)
 R	    1984 SC1213	 (8)
 RF	    1985 SC 551	 (35)
 R	    1986 SC 515	 (80)
 R	    1986 SC1205	 (17)


ACT:
 Indian Criminal Law Amendment Act (XIV of 1908) as amended
by Indian Criminal Law Amendment (Madras) Act, 1950, ss.  15
(2)(b),	 16--Law  empowering State to  declare	associations
illegal by notification-No provision for judicial inquiry or
for  service of notification on association or	office-bear-
ers--Validity of law--Unreasonable restriction	on right  to
form  associations--Constitution of India, art. 19 (1)	(c),
(4).



HEADNOTE:
  Section  15 (2) (b) of the Indian Criminal  Law  Amendment
Act,  1908, as amended by the Indian Criminal Law  Amendment
(Madras)  Act,	1950, included within the definition  of  an
"unlawful  association" an association "which has  been	 de-
clared by the State by notification in the Official  Gazette
to  be unlawful on the ground  (to  be	specified   in	 the
notification)	that  such  association	 (i)  constitutes  a
danger	to  the	  public  peace, or  (ii)has  interfered  or
interferes with	 the maintenance of public order or has such
interference  for its object, or (iii) has   interfered	  or
interferes  with  the administration of the law, or has such
interference  for  its object."	 Section 16 of	the  Act  as
amended	 provided  that a notification under s. 15  (2)	 (b)
shall (i) specify the ground on which it is issued and	such
other particulars, if any, as may have a bearing on the
598
necessity therefor and (ii) fix a reasonable period for	 any
officebearer  or  member  of the association  or  any  other
person	interested  to make a representation  to  the  State
Government  in	respect of the issue  of  the  notification.
Under  s. 16 A the Government was required after the  expiry
of the time fixed in the notification for making representa-
tion  to  place the matter before an Advisory Board  and  to
cancel	the notification if the Board finds that' there	 was
no  sufficient	cause for the issue  of	 such  notification.
There was however no provision for adequate communication of
the  notification  to  the association and  its	 members  or
office	bearers.  It  was conceded that the  test  under  s.
15(2)(b)  as amended was, as it was under s. 16 as it  stood
before	the  amendment,	 a subjective one  and	the  factual
existence or otherwise of the grounds was not a	 justiciable
issue and the question was whether s. 15(2)(b) was unconsti-
tutional and void:
    Held,   (for  reasons stated below) that  s.  15  (2)(b)
imposed restrictions on the fundamental right to form  asso-
ciations  guaranteed  by  art. 19 (1) (c),  which  were	 not
reasonable within the meaning of art. 19 (4) and was  there-
fore  unconstitutional and void.  The fundamental  right  to
form associations or unions guaranteed by art. 19 (1) (c) of
the  Constitution has such a wide and varied scope  for	 its
exercise, and its curtailment is fraught with such potential
reactions  in  the religious, political	 and  economic	fiel
this,  that  the vesting of the authority in  the  executive
Government  to	impose restrictions on such  right,  without
allowing  the  grounds	of such imposition,  both  in  their
factual	 and legal aspects to be duly tested in	 a  judicial
inquiry,  is  a strong element which should  be	 taken	into
account	 in judging the reasonableness of  restrictions	 im-
posed  on  the fundamental right under	art.  19(1)(c).	 The
absence	 of  a provision for adequate communication  of	 the
Government's  notification  under s. 15(2)(b).	by  personal
service	 or service by affixture to the association and	 its
members and office-bearers was also a serious defect.
The formula of subjective satisfaction of the Government  or
of its officers with an advisory Board to review the materi-
als on which the Government seeks to override a basic  free-
dom  guaranteed to the citizen, may be viewed as  reasonable
only  in very exceptional circumstances and within the	nar-
rowest limits.
    In	considering  the  reasonableness  of  laws  imposing
restrictions on fundamental right, both the substantive	 and
procedural  aspects of the impugned law should	be  examined
from  the point of view of  reasonableness and the  test  of
reasonableness,	 wherever prescribed, should be	 applied  to
each   individual statute impugned and no abstract  standard
or  general  pattern of reasonableness can be laid  down  as
applicable to all cases. The nature of the right alleged  to
have been infringed, the underlying purpose of the  restric-
tions imposed, the extent and urgency of the evil sought  to
be  remedied thereby, the disproportion of  the	 imposition,
the prevailing conditions at the time should all
599
enter  into the judicial verdict.  In evaluating  such	elu-
sive  factors  and forming their own conception of  what  is
reasonable, in all the circumstances of a given case, it  is
inevitable  that  the  social philosophy and  the  scale  of
values	of the judges participating in the  decision  should
play an important part, and the limit to their	interference
with legislative judgment in such cases can only be dictated
by their sense of responsibility and self-restraint and	 the
sobering reflection that the Constitution is meant not	only
for  people of their way of thinking but for all,  and	that
the  majority of the elected representatives of	 the  people
have,  in  authorising the imposition of  the  restrictions,
considered them to be reasonable.
    A.K.  Gopalan  v. The State ([1950] S.C.R. 88)  and	 Dr.
Khare  v.  The State of Punjab ([1950] S.C.R.  519)  distin-
guished.



JUDGMENT:

M. C, Setalvad, Attorney-General for India, (S. Govind Swaminathan and R. Ganapathi Iyer, with him) for the appel- lant (State of Madras).

C.R. Pattabhi Raman for the respondent.

M C. Setalvad, Attorney-General for India (G. N. Joshi. with him) for the Union of India.

T.N. Subrahmanya lyer, (Advocate-General Travancore- Cochin (M. R. Krishna Pillai, with him) for the State of Travancore-Cochin.

1952. March 31. The Judgment of the Court was delivered by PATANJALI SASTRI C.J.--This is an appeal from an order of the High Court of Judicature at Madras adjudging section 15 (2)(b) of the Indian Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1908 (Act No. XIV of 1908) as amended by the Indian Criminal Law Amendment (Madras) Act, 1950, (hereinafter referred to as the impugned Act) as unconstitutional and void, and quashing Government Order No. 1517, Public (General) Department, dated 10th March, 1950, whereby the State Government de- clared a Society called the People's Education Society an unlawful association.

The respondent, who was the general secretary of the Society, which was registered under the Societies' Registra- tion Act, 1860, applied to the High Court on 78 600 10th April, 1950, under article 226 of the Constitution complaining that the impugned Act and the Order dated 10th March, 1950, purporting to be issued there-under infringed the fundamental right conferred on him by article 19 (1)

(c) of the Constitution to form associations or unions and seeking appropriate reliefs.The High Court by a full bench of three Judges (Raja-mannar C.J., Satyanarayana Rao and Viswanatha Sastri JJ.) allowed the application on 14th September, 1950, and granted a certificate under article

132. The State of Madras has brought this appeal. The Government Order referred to above runs as follows:-- "WHEREAS in the opinion of the State Government, the Association known as the People's Education Society, Madras, has for its object interference with the administration of the law and the maintenance of law and order, and consti- tutes a danger to the public peace;

NOW, therefore, His Excellency the Governor of Madras, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 16 of the Indian Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1908 (Central Act XIV of 1908) hereby declares the said association to be an unlawful association within the meaning of the said Act. No copy of this order was served on the respondent or any other office-bearer of the society but it was notified in the official Gazette as required by the impugned Act. The declared objects of the Society as set out in the affidavit of the respondent are:

(a) to encourage, promote, diffuse and popularise useful knowledge in all sciences and more specially social science;

(b) to encourage, promote, diffuse and popularise polit- ical education among people;

(c) to encourage, promote and popularise the study and understanding of all social and political problems and bring about social and political reforms; and 601

(d) to promote, encourage and popularise art, literature and drama.

It was, however, stated in a counter-affidavit filed on behalf of the appellant by the Deputy Secretary to Govern- ment, Public Department, that, according to information received by the Government, the Society was actively helping the Communist Party in Madras which had been declared unlaw- ful in August 1949 by utilising its funds through its Secre- tary for carrying on propaganda on behalf of the Party, and that the declared objects of the Society were intended to camouflage its real activities.

As the Madras Amendment Act (No. XI of 1950) was passed on the 12th August, 1950, during the pendency of the peti- tion, which was taken up for hearing on the 21st August, 1950, the issues involved had to be determined in the light of the original Act as amended. In order to appreciate the issues it is necessary to refer to the relevant provisions. Before amendment by the Madras Act, the material provisions were as follows:-"15. In this Part-

(1) "association" means any combination or body of persons whether the same be known by any distinctive name or not; and (2) "unlawful association" means an association(a) which encourages or aids persons to commit acts of violence or intimidation or of which the members habitually commit such acts, or

(b) which has been declared to be unlawful by the Pro- vincial Government under the powers hereby conferred.

16. If the Provincial Government is of opinion that any association interferes or has for its object interference with the administration of the law or with the maintenance of law and order, or that it constitutes a danger to the public peace, the Provincial Government may by notification in the official Gazette declare such association to be unlawful."

The amending Act substituted for clause (b) in Section 15(2) the following clause :--

602

"(b) which has been declared by the State Government by notification in the official Gazette to be unlawful on the ground (to be specified in the notification) that such association--

(i) constitutes a danger to the public peace, or

(ii)has interfered or interferes with the maintenance of public order or has such interference for its object, or

(iii) has interfered or interferes with the administra- tion of the law, or has such interference for its object". For the old section 16, sections 16 and 16 A were substi- tuted as follows:

"16. (1) A notification issued under clause (b) of sub- section (2) of section 15 in respect of any association shall-

(a) specify the ground on which it is issued, the rea- sons for its issue, and such other particulars, if any, as may have a bearing on the necessity therefor; and

(b) fix a reasonable period for any office-bearer or member of the association or any other person interested to make a representation to the State Government in respect of the issue of the notification.

(2) Nothing in sub-section ( 1 ) shall require the State Government to disclose any facts which it considers to be against the public interest to disclose.

Under section 16 A the Government is required, after the expiry of the time fixed in the notification for making representations, to place before an Advisory Board consti- tuted by it a copy of the notification and of the represen- tations, if any, received before such expiry, and the Board is to consider the materials placed before it, after calling for such further information as it may deem necessary from the State Government or from any office-bearer or member of the association concerned or any other person, and submit its report to the Government. If it is found by the Board that there is no sufficient cause for the issue of the notification in respect of the association 603 concerned, the Government is required to cancel the notifi- cation.

There is no amendment of section 17 which prescribes penalties by way of imprisonment or fine or both for member- ship or management of an unlawful association and for taking part in meetings of such association or making, receiving or soliciting contributions for purposes thereof. Section 17 A, which confers power on the Government to notify and take possession of places used for the purposes of an unlawful association, was amended by the addition of subclauses 2(a) and 2(b) providing for a remedy, where such power was exer- cised, by way of application, within thirty days of the notification in the official Gazette, to the Chief Judge of the Small Cause Court or the District Judge according as the place notified is situated in the Presidency Town or out- side, for "a declaration that the place has not been used for the purposes of any unlawful association". If such declaration is made, the Government is to cancel the notifi- cation in respect of the place. Section 17B empowers the officer taking possession of a notified place to forfeit movable property found therein if, in his opinion, such property" is, or may be used for the purposes of the unlaw- ful association" after following the procedure indicated. Section 17E similarly empowers the Government to forfeit funds of an unlawful association "if it is satisfied after such enquiry as it may think fit that such funds are being used or intended to be used for the purposes of an unlawful association". The procedure to be followed in such cases is also prescribed. By section 17F jurisdiction of civil courts, save as expressly provided, is barred in respect of proceedings taken under sections 17 A to 17E. By section 6 of the amending Act notifications already issued and not cancelled before the amendment are to have effect as if they had been issued under section 15 (2) (b) as amended, and it is provided in such cases a supplementary notification should also be issued as required in section 16 (1)( a) and (b) as amended and thereafter the procedure provided by 604 the new section 16-A should be followed. It was under this provision that the validity of the notification issued on the 10th March, 1950, under old section 16 fell to be con- sidered in the light of the provisions of the amended Act when the petition came up for hearing in the High Court on 21st August, 1950.

It will be seen that while old section 16 expressly conferred on the Provincial Government power to declare associations unlawful if, in its opinion, there existed certain specified grounds in relation to them, those grounds are now incorporated in section 15(2)(b) as amended, and the reference to the "opinion" of the Government is dropped. This led to some discussion before us as to whether or not the grounds referred to in section 15 (2) (b) as amended are justiciable issues. if the factual existence of those grounds could be made the subject of inquiry in a court of law, the restrictions sought to be imposed on the right of association would not be open to exception, but then the Government would apparently have no use for section 15 (2)

(b). For, it was strenuously contended on its behalf by the Attorney-General that the incorporation of these grounds in a definition clause, which made a declaration by Govenment the test of unlawfulness, rendered the insertion of the words "in its opinion" unnecessary and, indeed, inappropri- ate, and that the omission of those words could not lead to any inference that the grounds on which the declaration was to be based were intended to be any more justiciable than under the old section 16; more especially as the "opinion" or the "satisfaction" of the Government or of its officers is still the determining factor in notifying a place under section 17 A (1) and in forfeiting the movables found there- in under section 17B (1) or the funds of an unlawful associ- ation under section 17E (1). The provision for an inquiry as to the existence or otherwise of such grounds before an Advisory Board and for cancellation of the notification in case the Board found there was no sufficient cause for declaring the association as unlawful also pointed, it was urged, to the same conclusion. The contention is not 605 without force, and the position was not contested for the respondent. It may, accordingly, be taken that the test under section 15 (2) (b) is, as it was under the old section 16, a subjective one and the factual existence or otherwise of the grounds is not a justiciable issue. It is on this basis, then, that the question has to be determined as to whether section 15 (2)(b)as amended falls within the limits of constitutionally permissible legisla- tive abridgement of the fundamental right conferred on the citizen by article 19 (1) (c). Those limits are defined in clause (4) of the same article.

"(4) Nothing in sub-clause (c) 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 imposing, in the interests of public order or morality, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right con- ferred by the said sub-clause."

It was not disputed that the restrictions in question were imposed "in the interests of public order". But, are they "reasonable" restrictions within the meaning of article 19 (4)?

Before proceeding to consider this question, we think it right to point out, what is sometimes overlooked, that our Constitution contains express provisions for judicial review of legislation as to its conformity with the Constitution, unlike as in America where the Supreme Court has assumed extensive powers of reviewing legislative acts undercover of the widely interpreted "due process" clause in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. If, then, the courts in this country face up to such important and none too easy task, it is not out of any desire to tilt at legislative authority in a crusader's spirit, but in discharge of a duty plainly laid upon them by the Constitution. This is especially true as regards the "fundamental rights ", as to which this Court has been assigned the role of a sentinel on the qui vive. While the Court naturally attaches great weight to the legislative judgment, it cannot desert its own duty to determine 606 finally the constitutionality of an impugned statute. We have ventured on these obvious remarks because it appears to have been suggested in some quarters that the courts in the new set up are out to seek clashes with the legislatures in the country.

The learned Judges of the High Court unanimously held that the restrictions under section 15 (2) (b) were not reasonable on the ground of-(1)the inadequacy of the publi- cation of the notification, (2) the omission to fix a time- limit for the Government sending the papers to the Advisory Board or for the latter to make its report, no safeguards being provided against the Government enforcing the penal- ties in the meantime, and (3) the denial to the aggrieved person of the right to appear either in person or by pleader before the Advisory Board to make good his representation. In addition to these grounds one of the learned Judges (Satyanarayana Rao J.) held that the impugned Act offended against article 14 of the Constitution in that there was no reasonable basis for the differentiation in treatment be- tween the two classes of unlawful associations mentioned in section 15 (2) (a) and (b). The other learned Judges did not, however, agree with this view. Viswanatha Sastri J. further held that the provisions for forfeiture of property contained in the impugned Act were void as they had no reasonable relation to the maintenance of public order. The other two Judges expressed no opinion on this point. While agreeing with the conclusion of the learned Judges that section 15 (2) (b) is unconstitutional and void, we are of opinion that the decision can be rested on a broader and more fundamental ground.

This Court had occasion in Dr. Khare's ease (1) to define the scope of the judicial review under clause (5) of article 19 where the phrase "imposing reasonable restric- tions on the exercise of the right" also occurs, and four out of the five Judges participating in the decision ex- pressed the view (the other Judge leaving the question open) that both the substantive and the procedural aspects of the impugned restrictive (1) [1950] S.C.R. 519, 607 law should be examined from the point of view of reasonable- ness; that is to say, the Court should consider not only factors such as the duration and the extent of the re- strictions, but also the circumstances under which and the manner in which their imposition has been authorised. It is important in this context to bear in mind that the test of reasonableness, whereever prescribed, should be applied to each individual statute impugned, and no abstract standard. or general pattern, of reasonableness can be laid down as applicable to all cases. The nature of the right alleged to have been infringed, the underlying purpose of the restric- tions imposed, the extent and urgency of the evil sought to be remedied thereby, the disproportion of the imposition, the prevailing conditions at the time, should all enter into the judicial verdict. In evaluating such elusive factors and forming their own conception of what is reasonable, in all the circumstances of a given case. it is inevitable that the social philosophy and the scale of values of the judges participating in the decision should play an important part, and the limit to their interference with legislative judg- ment in such cases can only be dictated by their sense of responsibility and self-restraint and the sobering reflec- tion that the Constitution is meant not only for people of their way of thinking but for all, and that the majority of the elected representatives of the people have, in authoris- ing the imposition of' the restrictions, considered them to be reasonable.

Giving due weight to all the considerations indicated above, we have come to the conclusion that section 15 (2)

(b) cannot be upheld as falling within the limits of autho- rised restrictions on the right conferred by article 19 (1)

(c). The right to form associations or unions has such wide and varied scope for its exercise, and its curtail- ment is fraught with such potential reactions in the reli- gious political and economic fields, that the vesting of authority in the executive government to impose restrictions on such right, without allowing the grounds of such imposi- tion, both in their factual and legal aspects, to be 608 duly tested in a judicial inquiry, is a strong element which, in our opinion, must be taken into account in judging the reasonableness of the restrictions imposed by section 15 (2) (b) on the exercise of the fundamental right under article 19 (1) (c); for, no summary and what is bound to be a largely one-sided review by an Advisory Board, even where its verdict is binding on the executive government, can be a substitute for a judicial enquiry. The formula of subjective satisfaction of the Government or of its officers, with an Advisory Board thrown in to review the materials on which the Government seeks to override a basic freedom guaranteed to the citizen, may be viewed as reasonable only in very exceptional circumstances and within the narrowest limits, and cannot receive judicial approval as a general pattern of reasonable restrictions on fundamental rights. In the case of preventive detention, no doubt, this Court upheld in Gopalan's case(1) deprivation of personal liberty by such means, but that was because the Constitution itself sanc- tions laws providing for preventive detention, as to which no question of reasonableness could arise in view of the language of article 21. As pointed out by Kania C.J. at page 121, quoting Lord Finlay in Rex v. Halliday(2), "the court was the least appropriate tribunal to investigate into circumstances of suspicion on which such anticipatory action must be largely based".

The Attorney-General placed strong reliance on the decision in Dr. Khare's ease(3) where the subjective satis- faction of the Government regarding the necessity for the externment of a person, coupled with a reference of the matter to an Advisory Board whose opinion, however, had no binding force, was considered by a majority to be "reasona- ble" procedure for restricting the right to move freely conferred by article 19 (1)(b). The Attorney-General claimed that the reasoning of that decision applied a fortiori to the present ease, as the impugned Act provided that the Advisory Board's report was binding on the Government. We cannot agree. We consider that that ease (1) [1950] S.C.R. 88. (2) [1917] A.C. 260, 269. (3) [1950] S.C.R. 519, 609 is distinguishable in several essential particulars. For one thing, externment of individuals, like preventive detention, is largely precautionary and based on suspicion. In fact, section 4 (1) of the East Punjab Public Safety Act, which was the subject of consideration in Dr. Khare's case(1), authorised both preventive detention and externment for the same purpose and on the same ground namely, with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the public safety or the maintenance of public order it is necessary, etc." Besides, both involve an element of emer- gency requiring prompt steps to be taken to prevent appre- hended danger to public tranquillity, and authority has to be vested in the Government and its officers to take appro- priate action on their own responsibility. These features are however, absent in the grounds on which the Government is authorised,under section 15 (2) (b), to declare associa- tions unlawful. These grounds, taken by themselves, are factualand not anticipatory or based on suspicion. An asso- ciation is allowed to be declared unlawful because it "constitutes" a danger or "has interfered or interferes" with the maintenance of public order or "has such interfer- ence for its object" etc. The factual existence of these grounds is amenable to objective determination by the court, quite as much as the grounds mentioned in clause (a) of sub-section (2) of section 15, as to which the Attorney- General conceded that it would be incumbent on the Govern- ment to establish, as a fact, that the association, which it alleged to be unlawful, "encouraged" or "aided" persons to commit acts of violence, etc. We are unable to discover any reasonableness in the claim of the Government in seek- ing, by its mere declaration, to shut out judicial enquiry into the underlying facts under clause (b). Secondly, the East Punjab Public Safety Act was a temporary enactment which was to be in force only for a year, and any order made there-under was to expire at the termination of the Act. What may be regarded as a reasonable restriction (1) [1950] S.C.R. 519.

610

imposed under such a statute will not necessarily be consid- ered reasonable under the impugned Act, as the latter is a permanent measure, and any declaration made thereunder would continue in operation for an indefinite period until the Government should think fit to cancel it. Thirdly, while, no doubt, the Advisory Board procedure under the impugned Act provides a better safeguard than the one under the East Punjab Public Safety Act, under which the report of such body is not binding on the Government, the impugned Act suffers from a far more serious defect in the absence of any provision for adequate communication of the Government's notification under section 15 (2) (b) to the association and its members or office-bearers. The Government has to fix a reasonable period in the notification for the aggrieved person to make a representation to the Government. But, as stated already, no personal service on any office-bearer or member of the association concerned or service by affixture at the office, if any, of such association is prescribed. Nor is any other mode of proclamation of the notification at the place where such association carries on its activities provided for Publication in the official Gazette, whose publicity value is by no means great, may not reach the members of the association declared unlawful, and if the time fixed expired before they knew of such declaration their right of making a representation, which is the only opportunity of presenting their case, would be 1oat. Yet, the consequences to the members which the notification involves are most serious, for, their very membership there- after is made an offence under section 17.

There was some discussion at the bar as to whether want of knowledge of the notification would be a valid defence in a prosecution under that section. But it is not necessary to enter upon that question, as the very risk of prosecution involved in declaring an association unlawful with penal consequences, without providing for adequate communication of such declaration to the association and its members or office bearers, may well be considered sufficient to render the imposition of 611 restrictions by such means unreasonable. In this respect an externment order stands on a different footing, as provi- sion is made for personal or other adequate mode of service on the individual concerned, who is thus assured of an opportunity of putting forward his case. For all these reasons the decision in Dr. Khare's case(1) is distinguisha- ble and cannot rule the present case as claimed by the learned AttorneyGeneral. Indeed, as we have observed earli- er, a decision dealing with the validity of restrictions imposed on one of the rights conferred by article 19 (1) cannot have much value as a precedent for adjudging the validity of the restrictions imposed on another right, even when the constitutional criterion is the same, namely, reasonableness, as the conclusion must depend on the cumula- tive effect of the varying facts and circumstances of each case.

Having given the case our best and most anxious consid- eration, we have arrived at the conclusion, in agreement with the learned Judges of the High Court, that, having regard to the peculiar features to which reference has been made, section 15 (2)(b) of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1908, as amended by the Criminal Law Amendment (Madras) Act, 1950, falls outside the scope of authorised restrictions under clause (4) of article 19 and is, therefore, unconsti- tutional and void.

The appeal fails and is accordingly dismissed with costs.

Appeal dismissed.

Agent for the appellant: P.A. Mehta.

Agent for the respondent: S. Subrahmanyan. Agent for the Union of India and the State of Travan- core-Cochin: P.A. Mehta.

(1) [1950] S.C.R. 519, 612