The right to move freely throughout the territory of India, to reside and settle in any part of it are guaranteed under sub-clauses (d) and (e) respectively of clause (1) of Article 19. The importance of the freedom of movement and residence cannot be exaggerated. In fact, the enjoyment of the freedoms guaranteed under the other rights depends largely on the freedom of movement unhampered and uncircumscribed.
The State’s power to place reasonable restrictions on these freedoms is limited to two: the interests of the general public and the protection of the interests of any Scheduled Tribe. For instance, it is in the interests of the general public to restrict the free movement of a person suffering from a contagious disease.
Similarly, the Scheduled Tribes form separate communities by themselves, backward and unsophisticated, with separate cultural and property interests. Although, complete segregation of the Tribal people in the name of their separate culture and general backwardness is wrong and against the ultimate aim of complete national integration, certain safeguards as are envisaged here seem to be justified.
Otherwise, the Tribal people may become easy victims of exploitation at the hands of their more “civilised”, shrewd and designing brethren. Hence there are various provisions disabling them from alienating their own properties except under special conditions.
In their own interest and for their benefit, laws may be made restricting the ordinary rights of citizens to go and settle in particular areas inhabited by the Tribal people or acquire property in them.
The reference to the interests of the Scheduled Tribes makes it clear that the free movement spoken of in the clause relates not to general rights of locomotion but to the particular right of shifting or moving from one part of the Indian Territory to another, without any sort of discriminatory barriers.