Subjects >>Indian Polity >>Right to Equality (14-18)

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INTRODUCTION
15 Jul 2020

The principle of equality in its proper spectrum encompasses social and economic justice in a political democracy.

Note: Classification for the purpose of legislation cannot be done with mathematical precision.

Article 14

Article 14 – The state shall not deny to any person, Equality before law and equal protection of law.

Equality Before Law

Equal Protection of Law

· It is British concept

· It is Negative concept

· No one is above law

· No one can be punished without any breach of law.

· Everyone is equal before law.

· It is of USA origin

· It is a positive concept

· It allows special treatment

· It means ‘equality of treatment in equal circumstances. i.e., equals to be treated equally and unequals, unequally.

· It supports ‘doctrine of classifications’ and thereby under protective discrimination – ‘Reservation’.


Article 15

Article 15 – Prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth with regard to access to shops, public restaurants, hotels, place of public entertainment or the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and place of public resort maintained wholly or partially out of state funds or dedicated to the use of General Public.

Exceptions:

  • Special provisions for women and children allowed.
  • Special provisions for SC’s, ST’s and other weaker sections allowed.
  • Special provisions for SC’s/ST’s and other weaker section in admission to educational institutions including private education institution whether aided or unaided by the state other than minority educational institution allowed.
    • (added by 93rd Amendment Act, 2005)

Article 16

Article 16 – Equality to opportunity in matters of public employment.

No citizen shall on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them, be ineligible for, or discriminated against in any employment or office under the state.

Exceptions;

  1. Residence can be on ground for discrimination for historical reasons. (i.e., in Manipur, HP, Tripura etc.)
  2. Special favor can be given to SC’s/ST’s and other weaker section of the society.
  3. Religion can be on ground for discrimination, in limited sense, in special cases. (i.e., - appointment of madarsa teacher, religious teachers in military).

Article 17

According to this Article, untouchability is abolished and parliament is empowered to enforce it by making laws.

Subsequently, Parliament enacted Protection of Civil Rights Acts, 1955. This act declares following things as act of untouchability –

a)    Refusing admission to any person in any public educational institution on the grounds of caste, he/she belong.

b)    Preventing any person from offering prayer at a place of public worship.

c)    Preventing any person’s access to shops restaurants, hotels or use of well, tanks, public resort etc.

d)    Insulting a member of Supreme Court on the ground of untouchability.

e)    Preaching untouchability directly or indirectly.

f)     Justifying it on historical, religious, tradition or philosophical ground or on the ground of caste system.

Punishment:

  • 1-2 Year of imprisonment.
  • The convicted person is devoid from contesting election to parliament, state legislature or local body.
  • Article 17 is absolute right and having no reasonable restrictions to it.

Article 18

Article 18 - Abolition of Titles

Other than Military or Academic titles, state cannot confer any title to any individual.

This article also says that no Indian can receive any title from any foreign state. Also, no foreigner under the service of the state can receive any title from any foreign state without the consent of President of India.

Bharat Ratana, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Shree etc. do not violate Artcle-18. These are awards and not titles, these awards are given to the citizen for their distinguish work/achievement in various fields or activities. They may fir in the category of Academic distinction, however these cannot be used as a title r as a prefix or suffix with the name

Did You Know

  • The concept of ‘equality’ is the essence of democracy and accordingly a basic feature of the Constitution.