Can a corporation or a company claim a right under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution?
It is the citizens alone whom the rights under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution are secured. An alien or a foreigner has no rights under this Article because he is not a citizen of India. Juristic persons such as companies or corporations are not citizens within the meaning of Article 19. ‘Citizens’ under this Article means only natural persons who have the status of citizenship under the law.
In the Bank Nationalization case it was held that a shareholder, a depositor or a director is not entitled to move a petition for infringement of the rights of the company, unless by the action impugned by him. Similarly, in
Bennett Coleman & Co. v. Union of India the Court said that the Fundamental Rights of the citizens are not lost when they associate to form a company. When their Fundamental Rights as shareholders are impaired by State action their rights as shareholders are protected. The reason is that the shareholder’s rights are equally and necessarily affected if the rights of the company are affected.