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Right to equality and equal protection of laws - Article 14 to 18

Article 14 to 18 is defined equality of our country's citizens and race, caste, sex, religion, place of birth. Our Indian Constitution is liberal. And each and everything persons has equal right to speech, work, live & any other and equality of opportunity in matters of employment under the state. The right is available to citizens only. In Indian Constitution Untouchability is abolished and it's practice in any form is forbidden. The enforcement of disabilities arising out of Untouchability Shall be an offences punishable in accordance with law.

Article 14 says that the State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.

Now the discussion of the Article can conveniently be divided in four parts:

  1. Nature of the guarantee.
  2. To whom the guarantee is available?
  3. against whom the guarantee is enforceable/
  4. What is the ambit of protection?

Article 15 says that the state shall not any discriminate against any citizen on ground only of religio, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.

According to Oxford dictionary, the word 'discrimination' used in Article 15 means to distinguish unfavorably and preference are twin and inseparable. There cannot be discrimination in favour of someone else. The validity of an act under Article 15 is not to be judged on the basis of the motive behind or object of the act but by method of its operation and effect on fundamental right.

If the effect of the operation of an act is to discriminate again citizens on any ground mentioned in the article the act is unconstitutional.

Article 16 guarantee equality of opportunity in matters of employment under the state. The right is available to citizens only.

In matters of employment also, it is impossible to treat all persons alike. Equality only means equal treatment to equals. A reasonable classification is not prohibited by Article 16.

Article 17 deals with a peculiar problem of our country. Howsoever praiseworthy the caste system in its origin might have been, it certainly proved to be a disgrace to humanity, a threat to unity and a serious hindrance to social, educational and economic progress of our country. The treatment gives to schedule caste in India by higher caste Hindus can be comparable to that given to Negroes by white people in America at least upto the middle of the twentieth century, though in the eyes of law schedule castes in India enjoyed slightly better status than Negroes of the United States of America. Gandhi ji and other freedom fighters had realised that equal treatment yo these castes was not only necessary for winning freedom for the nation but also for peace and progress of the country after independence.

Meaning of Untouchability
Untouchability In a wider sense would include persons whom are treated as untouchables temporarily or otherwise for various reasons, such as suffering from as are associated with brith or death or social boycott resulting from caste or other duspute or women of other families under some moral precepts. While Article 17 was being considered by the constituents assembly, Nasiruddin Ahmed and K. T. Shah pointed out that in the absence of a precise definition, lawyer might make capital out of such an article and an amendment was moved by Mr. Nasiruddin Ahmed but it could not be carried out.

In Devarajiah v. Padmanna Mysore high court held that the subject- matter of article 17 is not Untouchability In its liberal or grammatical sense but the practice as it developed historically India. The court emphasizes that the untouchability In Article 17 was placed in inverted commas.

Article 18 Abolition of titles No title, not being a military or academic distinction, shall be conferred by the State No citizen of India shall accept any title from any foreign State No person who is not a citizen of India shall, while he holds any office of profit or trust under the State, accept without the consent of the President any title from any foreign State No person holding any office of profit or trust under the State shall, without the consent of the President, accept any present, emolument, or office of any kind from or under any foreign State Right to Freedom.

Abolition of title

  1. No title, not being ba military or academic distinction shall be conferred by the state.
  2. No citizen of India shall accept any title from any foreign state.
  3. No person who is not a citizen of India shall, while he holds any office of the president any title from any foreign state.
  4. No person holding any office of profit or trust under the state shall, without the consent of the president, accept any present emolument or office of any kind from or under any foreign state.

Case-1. Yet again in a recent decision in State of Haryana v. Charanjit Singh a Bench of three learned Judges, while affirming the view taken by this Court in State of Haryana v. Jasmer Singh, Tilak Raj, Orissa University of Agriculture & Technology v. Manoj K. Mohanty and Govt. of W.B. v. Tarun K. Roy has reiterated that the doctrine of equal pay for equal work is not an abstract doctrine and is capable of being enforced in a court of law. Inter alia, observing that equal pay must be for equal work of equal value and that the principle of equal pay for equal work has no mathematical application in every case, it has been held that Article 14 permits reasonable classification based on qualities or characteristics of persons recruited and grouped together, as against those who are left out.

Of course, the qualities or characteristics must have a reasonable relation to the object sought to be achieved. Enumerating a number of factors which may not warrant application of the principle of equal pay for equal work, it has been held that since the said principle requires consideration of various dimensions of a given job, normally the applicability of this principle must be left to be evaluated and determined by an expert body and the court should not interfere till it is satisfied that the necessary material on the basis whereof the claim is made is available on record with necessary proof and that there is equal work of equal quality and all other relevant factors are fulfilled.(1).

R.Appunatesan Vs. the Chief Secretary and ors.

Court: Chennai

Decided on : Nov-30-2011
... cannot be entertained. 14. in balaji raghavan vs. union of India {1996 (1) scc 361}, a constitution bench of the supreme court considered the question as to whether the national awards such as Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan And Padma Sri are titles within the meaning of article 18(1) of the constitution. while holding that what was sought to be put an end ..... to, by article 18(1) of the constitution was only the conferment of titles of nobility and that the constitution did not intend to prohibit the state from recognizing merit or work of extraordinary nature.... decision did not deal with the question as to whether the decision taken by the selection committee to confer the award, is justifiable or not. the anguish expressed by the constitution bench of the supreme court in the above decision shows that the court may not be averse to the idea of at least examining in appropriate cases, as to whether ..... to feelings of respect rather than suspicion, need to be examined by a high level committee that may be appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the president of India. even otherwise it is time that such a committee looks into the working of the existing guidelines in view of the experience gained. we say no more as we have .(2).

Special provision for women and Children and SC,ST & backward classes:
Article 14 of Indian constitution law says that all are equal in the eye of law. No one can prevent the state from making any special provisions for women and children. For a examples, special seating arrangement for women in buses, trains, metros trains is not unconstitutional. It was held by court that reservation of some seats for women in college.

According to section 497 of Indian penal code, adultery is consider as offence when it committed by men , not consider offence if committed by women thus women cannot be Prosecuted for abetters. It is clear that it makes special provision for women and which is valid Under constitution law article 15(3). Section 437 of cr.p.c., 1973 restricts the release of an accused person a capital offence on Bail except women, children under age of 16 years or ill or infirm persons. in Choki v. State of Rajasthan, the court has held that it valid on the grounds make special Provision for women and therefore, it is protected under article. Article 15(4) has been inserted by the constitution ( first amendment ) Act, 1951. This amendment has been changed in the supreme court case state of Madras v. Champakam Dorairajan.

In this case, the reservation of seats for the admission to state medical and engineering colleges was made on the ground of caste and religion. The court said that it unconstitutional on the ground that it was based on communal matter. Article 15(4) was interested in the Indian constitution law after the amendment. the aim to empower the government to make special provisions for the betterment of educationally and socially backward classes of citizen of India and for the Scheduled tribes and scheduled castes.

State has made many special provision for the weaker sections such as ST, SC and educationally and socially backward classes of citizens of India., Meaning of Scheduled Caste means such castes, race, or tribes or parts of or groups within Such castes, races or tribes as are deemed under article 341 to be scheduled castes for the purposes of this constitution. article 341(1) provide additional protection to the members of the scheduled castes having regard to the social, economical, educational, backwardness from which they suffer because of their caste.(3).

Written By: Uma

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