Freedom of Association

Article 19(3) of Indian Constitution provides as under :

All citizens have the right to form associations or unions or cooperative societies. It includes the right to form political parties, companies, partnership firms, societies, clubs, organisations, trade unions or any body of persons. It not only includes the right to start an association or union but also to continue with the association or union as such. Further, it covers the negative right of not to form or join an association or union.

Reasonable restrictions can be imposed on the exercise of this right by the State on the grounds of sovereignty and integrity of India, public order and morality. Subject to these restrictions, the citizens have complete liberty to form associations or unions for pursuing lawful objectives and purposes. However, the right to obtain recognition of the association is not a fundamental right.

The Supreme Court held that the trade unions have no guaranteed right to effective bargaining or right to strike or right to declare a lockout. The right to strike can be controlled by an appropriate industrial law.