In this article, we will discuss all the articles coming under the Right to Equality in a simple and easy way, and try to understand its various important aspects ;

So to understand well, definitely read the article till the end and also read other articles related to this topic.

This article is a continuation of the previous article. The basics of Fundamental Rights have been discussed in the previous article . Must read this article for better understanding.

Establishing equality in this unequal society may seem a bit strange, but if there is no equality then this unequal society will continue to become even more unequal.

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Basic understanding Equality

Equality means to bring equality by eliminating inequality, but the question comes, what kind of inequality?

One is Natural inequality , that is, such inequalities which are natural and which are not controlled by humans. For example, appearance, physical ability, mental ability, certain types of biological properties, etc. There is a lot of difference between men and women in almost every aspect, so to establish equality, should all women be made men or should all men be made women?

The second is social inequality , that is, such inequalities as the society is basically behind it. For example, inequalities based on gender, caste, religion, high-low, rich-poor, helpless-powerful, exploited/victim-privileged etc. Should this inequality be abolished? The answer would probably be yes.

It is worth noting that some major ideologies such as Socialism , Marxism , Feminism etc. are only about eliminating inequalities.

Socialism , it talks about eliminating the inequalities created by industrial capitalism, although it completely opposes the market-based economy but emphasizes the equitable distribution of resources to eliminate inequalities. For this, they support government regulation, planning and control over some basic sectors such as health, education, agriculture.

According to Marxism , inequality has increased because private ownership has been established over the means of production and distribution including water, forest, land. That is why in order to eliminate inequality, it is necessary that private ownership should be abolished.

Feminism , it talks about equality of men and women, but it does not mean that woman should be made man and man should be made woman or be considered so. Its main focus is on eliminating the inequalities created by patriarchy. That is, the woman should get the same importance and power in the society as the man gets.

There are more or less skylines in the society, people have the idea of ​​ending inequality. That is why it is very difficult to arrive at any one definite idea about equality.

Some become very rich by hard work and ability, while some are not able to recover from poverty and inefficiency for the whole life. Someone acquires a lot of power, then someone becomes powerless and isolated in the society due to physical disability and incurable disease. So how would equality be established?

For smooth functioning of the society, division of work is necessary. In such a situation, it is natural for someone’s work to get more importance, to get more benefit from some work or to get privileges to someone. Just like the police shoot someone, he cannot be hanged directly like other people. Because of a decision of the Prime Minister, if someone has to stand in queues for hours and someone dies, it does not mean that he should be tried and put in jail.

That is to say that equality does not mean at all that all kinds of differences should be eliminated. It only means that the treatment we are given and the opportunities we get should not be determined by birth, gender, caste or any other social circumstances.

In other words, all human beings are entitled to equal treatment and respect with the exception of reasonable and just exceptions and if any inequality flourishes on this ground whether it is social or natural; He should try to finish it.

Our constitution also does the same thing. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, it abolishes the practice of untouchability, it provides for equality of opportunity and on a just and equitable equality by abolishing non-essential privileges. gives strength.

Right to Equality (Articles 14 – 18)

Right to Equality is described in Articles 14 to 18 of Part 3 of the Constitution . Which can be seen in the chart below.

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 means equality , 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 which starts arising in our inner mind only 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, if we all have the same value of vote, this thing makes us realize that this country belongs to me as much as anyone else’s, in grooming this country, I also have as much in it. Contribution is as much as anyone else’s.

So let us look one by one and try to understand the right to equality mentioned in our constitution. 

Article 14 – Equality before law and equal protection of laws

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

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

Equality before Law

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

In other words, no one is above the law, if anyone violates any law, he can be punished. That is, our constitution provides for the “rule of law” , and the rule of law is the basic structure of the constitution, so Parliament cannot amend it.

Overall, it is negative because it gives nothing but ensures that all are equal before the law. If there is any discrimination against anyone, he will be stopped as per law.

Equal Protection of Laws

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

That is to say that in an unequal society everyone cannot be treated equally. If everyone is treated as equal then one who is backward will always remain backward.

For example, a rich man can afford the most expensive lawyer to fight the case in the court , while on the other hand the poor man does not even have the ability to do a simple lawyer. In such a situation, right justice will be done only when that poor person is also provided with a lawyer to speak his point.

Overall, for the smooth functioning of this unequal society, if some additional treatment is given to an individual, society or institution, then it can be given.

One thing should always be kept in mind that it is not complete in itself nor is it final. That is why there have been so many disputes for Fundamental Rights and they continue to happen frequently. There are some exceptions to this.

Article 15 – Prohibition of discrimination on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth

(1) The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth.

For example, suppose the government has installed a hand pump, then the government cannot forbid a particular caste to drink water from that hand pump.

, One thing to be noted here is that in that statement ‘only’ is used to mean that the distinction can be made on other grounds.

(2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, caste, sex, place of birth or any— (a) enter shops, public eateries, hotels and places of public entertainment, or (b) wholly or wholly funded by State funds or shall not be subject to any liability, restriction or condition in respect of the use of dedicated wells, ponds, bathing ghats, roads and places of public gathering for the use of the general public.

It can be understood in this way that in a fair which is open for everyone to visit, no one can be stopped from going to it on the basis that you can first dig 10 feet pit and then only you can roam.

exceptions to this

(1) In spite of what is written above, the state can make special provisions for women and children if it wants. Such as free education for children, paid maternity leave for women etc.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in this article or the provisions of clause (2) of article 29 ; The State may make any special provision for the development of socially and educationally backward classes or Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Such as waiver of application fee for government jobs etc.

(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in this article or the provisions of sub-section (g) of clause (1) of article 19 ; The State may make any rule regarding exemption for admission in educational institutions for the upliftment of socially and educationally backward people or people belonging to Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes. These educational institutions may also be other than the educational institutions referred to in clause (1) of article 30 . That is, they can be any type of state-aided, private or minority.

Article 16 – Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment

(1) There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.

(2) No citizen shall be ineligible or discriminated against in relation to any employment or office under the State on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, residence or any of them.

(3) Parliament may, if it so desires, impose a condition of residence for any particular employment.

(4) Notwithstanding anything contained in this article, the State may provide for reservation in appointments in favor of any backward class of citizens who are not adequately represented in the services under the State.

(5) An institution or a member of its executive council may be professing a particular religion under law.

Right to Equality and Mandal Commission

Morarji Desai constituted the Second Backward Classes Commission in 1979 Presided over by P. Mandal . Its purpose was to find out the social and educational status of the people belonging to the backward classes and to suggest to the government what could be done for this.

The commission identified 3743 backward castes, which was about 52 percent of the country’s population.

Recommended 27 percent reservation for these backward castes.

In 1990, VP Singh’s government announced 27 percent reservation. There was a lot of opposition to this. In 1991, the government of PV Narasimha Rao introduced two changes in this (1) this 27% OBC reservation gives priority to poor people on economic basis, and (2) 10% separate from the poor or economically weaker sections of the general classes. Reservation from

This matter went to the Supreme Court. And the Supreme Court rejected the 10% additional reservation but retained the 27% OBC reservation with certain conditions. The conditions were as follows –

(a) Persons belonging to the creamy layer of OBCs should be denied the facility of reservation.

(b) The system of reservation should be for appointment only and not for promotion.

(c) Except in exceptional circumstances, the total reserved quota should not exceed 50%.

(d) If the reservation seats are not filled, then they can be filled further, that is, carry forward rule will work here but in this also the principle of 50 percent should be followed.

After this arrangement of the Supreme Court, the government took some steps, which are as follows;

(1) Ram Nandan Committee was formed to identify the creamy layer in OBC, in 1993 his report was accepted and the creamy layer system was started. It is discussed below.

(2) In 1993, the National Commission for Backward Classes was formed, whose main task was to add and subtract names in the reservation list.

(3) In the matter of promotion, a new Part 4A was added to Article 16 through the 77th Amendment 1995, under which the States were empowered that in the eyes of the State, the representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the State Service was not adequate. Reservation can be given in promotion. Again in 2001, by the 85th Amendment, provisional seniority was provided in the case of promotion of scheduled castes and tribes to government servants .

Consequential seniority

Suppose a general category man is at level 3 in a government job. A man from Scheduled Caste is appointed at the same level but junior to a man from General Category.

Since there is a system of reservation in promotion, that’s why the Scheduled Caste man gets promotion before the general category and now he becomes senior to that general category man.

The resultant seniority says that now even if that general category man gets promotion, he will remain junior to the scheduled caste man.

Right to Equality and Creamy Layer

Creamy layer  is a term used in Indian politics to refer to certain members of the backward class who are highly advanced socially and economically. The term was introduced in 1971 by the  Sattanathan Commission   , which directed that the “creamy layer” should be excluded from the quota for civilian posts. It was also identified by the Justice Ram Nandan Committee in 1993. Its only purpose was to deprive those people of backward classes from reservation who are economically, socially prosperous.

The creamy layer (income) criterion was defined as the parent’s gross annual income from all sources exceeding Rs 100,000 as defined by the Sattanathan Committee in 1971. When “Creamy Layer” was introduced in 1993, it was 1 lakh. It was later revised to Rs 2.5 lakh per annum in (2004), Rs 4.5 lakh in 2008, 6 lakh in 2013 and increased to Rs 8 lakh in 2017.

Article 17  – Abolition of untouchability

It means the complete end of untouchability. Its only purpose was to strengthen the sense of humanity among the people so that people of all classes could live together in the same society. But it was not that easy. More or less, untouchability is still there today. Even though it is a fundamental right.

So whenever the Fundamental Right is not able to work properly, the government makes a separate law to give it strength, that is why many necessary laws were made for it from time to time, such as the
Protection of Public Rights Act 1955 (The Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955) ,
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989) ,
Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 (Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016) ,
Mental Health Act 2017 (The Mental Health Care Act, 2017) etc.

, But there is an exception in this too, such as if a person has such a disease which can spread from him to another, then the state should we-you also stay away from him and leave the matter of touching it.

Article 18  – Abolition of titles

It means not to give any person any title which shows inequality. This was done because earlier it used to be that due to being born in a particular clan, the title of Maharaj, Maharajadhiraj or similar was put in front of his name.

But the question may come in your mind that still many degrees are available such as doctorate degree etc. The following four things have been mentioned in the constitution in this regard. 

(1) The State shall not confer any degree other than military or academic degrees. This means that if someone is given a doctorate, then it will not be considered as a violation of this fundamental right.

(2) No citizen of India shall accept any title from any foreign State.

(3) No person, who is not a citizen of India, while holding any office of profit or trust under the State, shall accept any title from a foreign State without the consent of the President.

(4) No person holding an office of profit under the State shall receive any title from a foreigner except with the permission of the President. 

Here also there is an exception like no one is considered as Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Shri and Bharat Ratna etc. And so the Supreme Court itself has clearly said that no person can put these words in front of the name, otherwise it will be taken away from him. 

parity exception

1. Certain powers have been given to the President and the Governors under Article 361 . such as

(a) The President or the Governor shall not be liable to any court in the country for any act done or decision taken during his tenure. Even if a civil suit is initiated, it can be done only after two months of giving its information to the President or the Governor.

(b) No criminal proceedings or proceedings for arrest shall be initiated against him during his tenure.

2. If the truthful proceedings of Parliament or the State Legislature are brought to the notice of the media by anyone, then he cannot be tried in any court under Article 361A.

3. According to Article 105 , no proceedings shall lie in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by any member of Parliament. That is, MPs can speak anything in Parliament. The same thing is available to the State Legislature under Article 194 .

4. Article 39C states that the state shall make its policy in the interest of the people in such a way that there is no concentration of money and the means of production. On the basis of this Article 31C says that if any rule is made by the State for the implementation of Article 39C or any other similar Directive Principle, it shall not be deemed to be a violation of Article 14.

That’s all for now in the article “Right to Equality”. An important component of this “reservation” needs to be understood separately. Afterwards, the rest will talk about the ‘ right to freedom ‘ from Articles 19 to 22 .

स्वतंत्रता का अधिकार (Right to Freedom)

शोषण के विरुद्ध अधिकार (Right against exploitation)

धार्मिक स्वतंत्रता का अधिकार । Right to religious freedom

समता का अधिकार Practice Quiz #UPSC

Important links,
मूल संविधान भाग 3 समता का अधिकार
NCERT कक्षा 11A राजनीति विज्ञान समता का अधिकार =
Consequential seniority↗️
Mandal Commission↗️ आदि।