This article is a compilation of Article 14 as it is. You can understand it well, that’s why its explanation is also given below, you must read it. Its explanation is also available in Hindi, for this you can use the link given below;

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Article 14
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📖 Read This Article in Hindi

📜 Article 14

14. Equality before law.—The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.

🔍 Explanation

Right to Equality has been described from Articles 14 to 18 of Part 3 of the Constitution. Which can be seen in the chart below. The first article of this is Article 14, which talks about equality before law and equal protection of laws.

right to equality
| Article 14 – Equality before law and equal protection of laws
| Article 15 – Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, sex and place of birth
| Article 16 – Equality of opportunity in public employment
| Article 17 – Abolition of untouchability
| Article 18 – Abolition of titles

Equality is a fundamental element for the establishment of a public welfare state because it prevents us from social, economic, political deprivation.

Equality is a feeling that starts arising in our inner self during the process of our socialization. We expect equal respect from others, we expect equal treatment from society, we expect our state to provide equal opportunities. and so on and so forth.

  • For example, we all have the same vote value, this thing makes us realize that this country is as much mine as anyone else’s, in grooming this country, mine too It is as much a contribution as anyone else’s.

There can be many types of equality: for example-

  • Natural – that is, equality created by nature, such as the right to eat, the right to mate, etc.
  • Social – that is, socially generated equality, such as the right to be free from untouchability.
  • Civil – i.e. civil rights, such as security, civil service etc.
  • Political – such as the right to access government offices, the right to public representation, etc.
  • Economic – such as the right to earn money etc.
  • Legal – that is, the right to justice.

| Article 14 – Equality before law and equal protection of laws

The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.

There are two terms in this, first, equality before law and second, equal protection of laws, both of these are related to equality of justice, but there is some subtle difference between the two.

What is equality before law?

It has been taken from the British Constitution. It means that any person whether rich, poor, high-low, official, non-official all are equal before the law, there will be no privilege for anyone.

In other words, no one is above the law, if someone violates any law, whoever it may be, he can be punished. That is, our Constitution provides for “Rule of Law”, and the rule of law is the basic structure of the Constitution, that is why the Parliament cannot amend it.

Overall it is considered to be negative in nature as it does not give anything but ensures that all are equal before the law. If there is any discrimination against anyone, it will be stopped according to the law.

What is Equal Protection of Laws?

It is taken from the US Constitution. Which means trying to establish equality among unequal people or in unequal society.

The meaning is that everyone cannot be treated equally in an unequal society. If everyone is treated as equal, then he who is backward will always remain backward.

⚫ That is, the principle of equality does not mean that all laws are applicable to all, that too when we understand that not all have the same nature, qualities, or circumstances. In such a situation, according to the different needs of different classes of people, separate treatment is required with them.

For example, a rich man can hire an expensive lawyer to fight a case in court, on the other hand, a poor man does not even have the ability to hire an ordinary lawyer. In such a situation, proper justice will be given only when that poor person is also provided with a lawyer to speak his mind.

Or, as if suppose that a special class of farmers is being given 6 thousand rupees annually by the government. So in such a situation an inequality arises because all the farmers are not getting this benefit.

⚫ Overall, if some additional treatment is given to any person, society or organization for the smooth functioning of this unequal society, then it can be given.

However, remember here that whenever such classification is done in favor of a particular class or individual, it creates inequality but this inequality is not a fault in itself.

The meaning of saying is that if we know that women can be misbehaved at the workplace and for that we make special laws then it is not a fault. If Dalit society is protected by some special law, then it is not a fault.

⚫ However, this does not mean that the government can make any classification arbitrarily. Classification should always be reasonable.

Always keep one thing in mind that it is not complete nor final in itself. That’s why don’t know how many controversies have happened for the fundamental rights and often continue to happen. However, there are exceptions to this which we will see later.

So now the question arises whether a law is rational or not, how will it be decided?

| Reasonable Classification Basis

(1) The first thing is that it goes on assuming that the law made by the Legislature or the Parliament is reasonable. But this assumption doesn’t always work.

That’s why if any discrimination or classification has to be done, then its proper logic is told in that law itself. If it does not, the law can be declared unconstitutional.

(2) secondly, that no classification is reasonable; The burden of proof is on the person who has claimed that the law or its provision is not reasonable.

(3) The third thing is that if the state, considering only one person as a class, makes a law in his favor, then that too will be considered reasonable, if the special circumstances applicable to that person are such which are not applicable to others.

That is to say, if the government has a proper rationale, then a law can be made even for the purpose of benefiting an individual.

Note – The principle of equal protection is followed in the case of taxation law also. That is, on the basis of reasonable classification, different groups can be taxed differently. Apart from this, it is applicable everywhere whether it is a matter of admission in college or interview for a government job.

Overall, till now we have understood that when a law discriminates without a reasonable basis, that law can be held invalid on the ground that it is against the principle of equal protection. However, there are some exceptions to Article 14; Let’s see that too;

| Exception :

  • According to Article 361, the President of India or the Governors of the States are not answerable to any court for the exercise of their powers/duties and no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against them in any court during their tenure.
  • According to Article 361-A, no person shall be liable to any civil or judicial proceedings for publishing any substantially true report of either House of Parliament and State Legislature.
  • A member of Parliament (Article 105) and State Legislature (Article 194) shall not be liable to any court of proceedings in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament or any committee.
  • Foreign sovereigns (rulers), ambassadors and diplomats enjoy immunity from criminal and civil proceedings.

So under equality before law, all people are considered equal before law. But under equal protection of law, something can be done in favor of backward, downtrodden, exploited, oppressed etc. communities. Such action is called affirmative action. Reservation is related to this. To understand all these topics in detail, you can read the article given below.

Reservation in India [1/4]

So overall this is Article 14, I hope you have understood. To understand other paragraphs, you can use the link given below.

| Related Article

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⚫ अनुच्छेद 15
⚫ अनुच्छेद 16
⚫ अनुच्छेद 17
⚫ अनुच्छेद 18
⚫ Article 15
⚫ Article 16
⚫ Article 17
⚫ Article 18
⚫ Constitution
⚫ Basics of Parliament
⚫ Fundamental Rights
⚫ Judiciary in India
⚫ Executive in India
⚫ Constitution
⚫ Basics of Parliament
⚫ Fundamental Rights
⚫ Judiciary in India
⚫ Executive in India
Disclaimer - The articles and their interpretations presented here are based on the original Constitution (latest edition), DD Basu's commentary on the Constitution (mainly) and various scholars of the Constitution (whose writings are available in newspapers, magazines and audio-visuals on the Internet). We have just tried to make it interesting and easy to understand.