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Home > Know Your Rights > Right to form Associations
FAQ's | Landmark Judgements | Legal Frameworks


Q1.  What is meant by the right to freedom of association?

A1.  Right to freedom of association is a fundamental right granted to all citizens of India by the Constitution of India. It entitles every citizen of India to join or form any association or union. This includes companies, societies, partnerships, trade unions, and political parties. The freedom to join any voluntary association and the freedom to continue as a member are included in the right to freedom of association. However, the association or union must not be illegal.


Q2.  That means I can form any association that I want to?

A2.  Yes, you can form an association of your own with like-minded people. However, the purpose of your association must be legal. That is to say that nobody has the right to form associations for pursuing illegal activities or conducting anti-social activities.


Q3.  How will forming or joining an association or union help me?

A3.  Associations are formed to fulfill a common purpose shared by the members who join them. Right to form an association provides a weapon in the hands of millions of people to fight against arbitrary action. Every citizen has a right to form association to achieve legal purpose through legal means. It is a great means of collective bargaining to demand your legitimate rights.


Q4.  Are there any restrictions to the right to form associations?

A4.  Yes, reasonable restrictions apply to this right, concerning public order, morality, the sovereignty and integrity of India. For example, you cannot form an association that might prove dangerous to the security of India. You are not entitled to form associations that undermine the secular structure of our nation. You cannot form an association that indulges in obscene activities so as to have a bad impact on the decency and morality of the society.


Q5.  Can any citizen of India form or join any association or union?

A5.  All citizens have the right to form and join associations. However, certain restrictions apply on members of the armed forces and government servants. Members and employees of the armed forces, even if they are civilians, cannot claim this right. A member of the public services, although he is a citizen, cannot claim the right to the extent that a private citizen can. Being a Government servant, he is bound by his service rules and he cannot challenge his service rules on the ground that they stand in his way of fully enjoying the right to form associations.


Q6.  How can common workers and laborers working in unorganized sector benefit from this right?

A6.  The right to form associations or unions is very useful for all working people in India. This right empowers them to organize themselves in the form of Trade Union to demand what they deserve. So, Right to form trade unions is included in the right to form associations and unions. Right to form trade unions is now a fundamental right in India, which means that workers can now unite themselves to fight for better working conditions and other issues that affect them.


Q7.  Can the Right to form Trade Unions be restricted?

A7.  The right to form trade unions can be restricted only in the interests of public order or morality. There can be no association or union for an illegal or conspiratorial purpose. Nor can there be an association to further immorality. Workers cannot form a trade union merely because they want to pressurize their employer to fulfill some arbitrary demand.


Q8.  Do the workers have a right to strike?

A8.  Strike is a weapon used by workers by stopping work to demand for their rights. Right to strike is a part of the fundamental right to form associations and unions. However, right of workers to strike in India is not fully established and there is still debate going on this. It has yet to be recognized by authorities. However, few Supreme Court judgments have recognized it as a right of the workers and trade unions.

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