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.
| 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 sense of equalness, 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, it is this thing that makes us realize that this country belongs to me as much as anyone else’s. I have as much contribution in grooming this country as anyone else.
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 any individual, society or institution, then it can be given. However, remember here that whenever such a classification is made in favor of a particular class or a particular person, it also creates inequality, but this inequality is not a defect in itself.
That is to say that if we know that women can be abused at workplace and we make special laws for that then it is not a fault. If Dalit society is protected by some special law then it is not a fault.
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 exceptions to this, which you will see at the end of the article.
| 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 the statement ‘only’ is used to mean that the distinction can be made on other grounds. For example, there may be discrimination on the basis of economic, social or political. If a person is handicapped, there can be discrimination on that basis.
(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 partially 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.
(3) 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.
(4) 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.
* Actually this is the fourth provision of Article 15, it was added by the first constitutional amendment, to understand why it was added, you have to understand the case of Champakam Dorairajan. For now, just understand that the purpose of inserting this clause in the constitution was to give reservation to backward class citizens and SC and ST category in the state educational institutions.
(5) 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.
* The fifth provision of Article 15 has been inserted in the Constitution by the 93rd Constitutional Amendment 2005. Why it has been inserted and what is the meaning of these amendments, we will understand it in detail in the article on reservation.
Remember here that with the help of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment in the year 2019, a provision for reservation has also been made for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS), and this provision has been given a place in the Constitution under the 6th provision of Article 15. Is. We will also understand this in the article on reservation.
| 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.
That is, Article 16(1) gives the right to all citizens to work under the state. It is not limited only to the organized public services and external posts held on contract basis but also to the customary posts in the villages appointed by the state.
Remember here that promotion and termination of service are also kept under employment or appointment.
(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.
Here you can see that the word ‘only’ has been used i.e. you will not be discriminated against in government jobs on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth and residence but can be done on other grounds other than this. such as on the basis of your ability, disability, age etc.
(3) Parliament may, if it so desires, impose a condition of residence for any particular employment.
You can understand this in such a way that the people of a developed state are going to the underdeveloped state and taking jobs, this can cause a lot of obstacles in the development of the underdeveloped states, that is why this arrangement has been made under the third provision of this article 16 so that where But jobs have been created so that the local people can get the benefit of it.
(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.
This provision is very important, that is because the reservation which is given to some classes (SC, ST etc.) in jobs is given under this. That is, this provision is an exception to the first and second provisions of Article 16. However, it is to be remembered here that there are certain provisions of clauses 1 and 2 of Article 16 which are equally applicable to reserved persons such as pension, increment, conditions of employment etc.
One more thing to be remembered here is that through two amendments, some other provisions have also been added to Article 16(4) such as, with the help of 77th Constitutional Amendment 1995, consequential seniority in promotion for the people of SC and ST category. has been added and with the help of 81st Constitutional Amendment Act 2000, arrangements have been made to fill backlog vacancies in the coming years. What is all this, you will understand it very well when you understand the reservation.
(5) An institution or a member of its executive council may be professing a particular religion under law.
Suppose if a temple trust is being run by a cleric, then what will be the situation. This does not mean that it cannot happen, but if Parliament has made a law that the people of that religion will be its supreme authority, then it can happen.
(6) 10% reservation for the economically weaker sections
It has been added to the Constitution in the year 2019 with the help of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment. And under this, the benefit of 10 percent additional reservation has been given to the persons belonging to the Economically Weaker Section (EWS). What is the math behind this, we will understand it in the article with reservation.
To understand well what we have talked about above, we have to understand reservation. The article on reservation is available in four volumes. Go through all the articles in order to clear all your reservation related doubts;
| 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. That is why the imposition of any disability arising out of untouchability was banned. But it was not that easy. More or less untouchability is still there even though it is a fundamental right.
So whenever the Fundamental Right is not able to function properly, the government makes a separate law to give it power, that is why many necessary laws were made for it from time to time, such as;
The Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955,
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989),
Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 (Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016) ,
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.
| Some exceptions
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.
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 .