The goal of this study is to determine what the broad concept of Right to
is. The term Right to Equality
need no explanation because
its meaning is self-evident. It is also one of our basic rights. However, there
are certain secret elements that need to be explained, and this study effort
focuses on such points and exceptions that are permitted by our Indian
constitution. It's also useful to understand why discrimination is tolerated
under Indian law. Article 14 of Indian law guarantees the right to equality. It
is one of the basic rights. It ensures that everyone has the right to equality
before the law and equal protection under the law. It is not only an Indian
citizen's right, but also a non-right.
In general, everyone here understands Article 14 of the Indian Constitution,
which is the Right to Equality
. Our country has yet to achieve true
freedom after 73 years of independence. Discrimination and other evils still
exist in our country. This anathema afflicted even the man who drafted our
Constitution. Even today, there are some regions where people are treated
unequally and discriminated against based on factors such as religion, race,
sex, caste, and place of origin.
Knowing the situation in India, our Constitution-makers included Article 14 in
the Indian Constitution as a fundamental right for both citizens and
non-citizens of our country. The primary goal of this article is to provide
clarity on Article 14. When we observe a husband abusing his wife, a girl who is
unable to complete her education owing to family pressure, or a lower caste man
being treated as inferior to upper caste people, we should be concerned.
Discrimination can be seen in several situations.
We can see how crucial the state's role in maintaining citizen equality is in
this context."The State shall not refuse to any individual within the territory
of India equality before the law or equal protection of the laws," says Article
14.The essential premise of liberalism is to treat all citizens equally, and
Article 14 ensures that all citizens receive the same treatment. Any
individual's liberty is inextricably linked to the level of equality he or she
enjoys in society.
Equal Justice Under the Law
As we all know, our country is a democratic one, and it is the world's largest
democratic democracy. Everyone is free to think about anything and do anything
(within reason), and our government is there to put appropriate restrictions in
place. All people on our country's territory should be treated equally in the
eyes of the law.Equality before the law essentially means that all people should
be treated similarly, regardless of their socioeconomic status, gender, or
caste. This state is unable to grant any preferential treatment to anyone in the
country. It's sometimes referred to as legal equality.
Absolute equality and equality before the law
On the one hand, Equality before the Law bans any community or individuals from
receiving preferential treatment. It makes no mention of equal treatment under
the same conditions. According to it, the ideal situation must exist, and the
state does not need to intervene in society by giving additional benefits. The
Right to Equality, on the other hand, is not absolute and has various
restrictions. As a result, equals must be treated equally. There are a few
exceptions to equality before the law, such as the President's and Governor's
immunity. Reservation is another common illustration of how the Right to
Equality is not absolute and may be limited (or rather used effectively)
depending on the situation.
The topic of whether the Right to Equality is absolute or not was discussed in
the well-known case of State of West Bengal v. Anwar Ali Sarkar
Supreme Court ruled that the right to equality isn't absolute in this case. The
State of Bengal was found to have used its power to submit any matter to the
Special Court created by them arbitrarily in this case. As a result, the State
of Bengal Act was found to be in violation of the Right to Equality.
Equality before the law and the rule of law are two concepts that are often used
interchangeably.We've previously gone through Equality before the Law in depth,
but there's also a clear link between Equality before the Law and Rule of Law.
In fact, according to Prof. Dicey's Rule of Law, no one is above or below the
law, and everyone is equal in front of the law. Equality before the law is
guaranteed by the rule of law.
The Rule of Law argues that everyone in a country should be treated equally, and
as there is no official religion, the state should not discriminate against any
religion. Instead, the principle of uniformity should be used. It is based on
the Magna Carta (which is a written charter of rights).
To be fair, classification must meet the following two criteria:
The categorization must be based on an intelligible differentia that separates
those who are grouped together from those who are excluded from the group, and
the differentia must have a reasonable relationship to the goal of the act. The
differentia, which serves as the foundation for classification, and the act's
goal are two separate entities. There must be a connection between the
foundation of categorization and the aim of the act that creates the
Legislation that makes such a categorization may only be ruled discriminatory if
there is no legitimate basis for it. As a result, the legislature may set an age
at which people are considered able to contract with one another, but no one
will claim that competency. There is no way to make a contract based on height
or hair colour. A categorisation like this will be arbitrary.
The supreme court has defined the real interpretation and scope of Article 14 in
As a result, the premises set out in Dalmia's case remain legitimate for
controlling a valid classification, and they are as follows:
- A legislation may be constitutional even though it applies to a single
individual if that single individual is considered as a class by itself due
to particular circumstances or reasons that apply to him but not to others.
- There is always a presumption in favour of a statute's legality, and the
burden of proof is on the person who challenges it to establish that it
violates constitutional principles.
- In certain situations, the assumption can be rebutted by demonstrating
that, notwithstanding the fact that the statute contains no classification
or distinction unique to any individual or class and not applicable to any
other individual or class, the legislation solely affects that individual or
- It must be presumed that the legislature recognises and understands the
need of its own people for its laws to address problems that have been
identified through experience, and that discrimination is founded on
- To uphold the presumption of legality, the court may examine issues of
common knowledge, matters of report, historical context, and any condition
of facts that may be imagined existing at the time.
Laws that provide equal protection
This is one of Equality's positive ideals. Section 1 of the 14th Amendment Act
of the United States Constitution guarantees equal treatment under the law. This
idea states that everyone who lives in India should be treated equally and have
equal legal protection. It ensures that all persons living inside India's
borders are treated equally, and the state cannot dispute this (for equal
protection of the law).It imposes a positive responsibility on the government to
avoid rights violations. This can be accomplished by implementing socioeconomic
reforms. In Stephens College v. The University of Delhi
, the same idea
In this case, the college admissions procedure was scrutinised, and the primary
point of contention was the propriety of giving Christian students precedence in
the admissions process. The Supreme Court ruled that a minority college
receiving state funding has the right to give preference or reserve places for
students from its group.The Supreme Court ruled that unequal treatment of
applicants in the admissions process does not violate Article 14 of the Indian
Constitution, and that it is necessary for minorities.
The term "equality before the law" refers to the fact that everyone has equal
access to the legal system. No one should be denied access to justice. In front
of the justice system, everyone should be treated equally. The term Access to
refers to a person's fundamental rights. By the term access to
, we imply that everyone should be able to go to court. In addition,
many people are denied access to justice owing to a lack of financial
understanding or awareness.
In this case, it implies that the government must play a critical role in
ensuring that they receive justice. Our legal system must be reformed in order
to provide Access to Justice. We must concentrate on the legal assistance issue.
Protection against arbitrary decisions
The border between arbitrary and non-arbitrary behaviours is narrow. The right
to equality precludes the state from acting arbitrarily. This article discusses
Equal Protection of the Law and how it differs from the notion of arbitrariness.
Every state organ is subject to a number of constraints in order to safeguard it
from arbitrariness. It plays a crucial role in preventing the state's organ from
making arbitrary decisions.
The legal notion of reasonable expectation
The notion of legitimate expectation is a moral duty on the part of the
administration to seek for and enact laws that offer equality to all persons in
a region, rather than a legal right. It establishes a judicial review right in
administrative law to defend people's interests when public authorities fail to
do so (or when Public authority rescinds from the representation made to a
person).It serves as a link between people's expectations and any act of power.
These expectations, however, have to be fair and rational, which is why they are
referred to as valid expectations.The court has a number of tools at its
disposal for reaching the goal of authoritative legislation (here motive is to
meet the legitimate expectation). These devices are provided to protect everyone
from the state's organs abusing their authority. It imposed a constraint on a
state's ability to wield its authority arbitrarily (albeit it is a moral
Validity of Special Courts under the Constitution
As previously stated, equality before the law is not absolute and has various
limitations. One of these exclusions is Article 246(2). According to Article
246(2),"Notwithstanding section (3), Parliament and, subject to clause (1), the
Legislature of any State have jurisdiction to pass laws relating to any of the
issues included in List III of the Seventh Schedule" (here List III is
Concurrent List). In The Special Courts Bill v. Unknown
constitutionality of Special Courts formed under the Special Courts Act was
called into doubt. The institution of special courts under this Act was
questioned as to whether it did not violate Article 14 of the Indian
Discretion in administration
It is the administration's flexibility to respond or make decisions in any
scenario based on the circumstances. It is critical to first grasp the meaning
of the phrase discretion. Discretion is defined as a person's ability to
determine what is wrong and what is right, what is true and what is false, and
how to react to these situations.
After that, I'd want to clarify why administrative discretion is necessary. Any
legislation passed by the legislature is based on numerous assumptions, and it
is impossible to predict everything that will happen as a result of that law.
The basic goal of administrative discretion is to ensure that all members of
society are treated equally. This administrative power, however, should not be
abused and should be utilised sparingly.
Landmark Judgment (Article 14) A.K. Gopalan v. State of Madras
This was one of the first major instances involving India's constitution's Part
3. In this decision, the Supreme Court construed Part III of the Indian
Constitution's basic rights. In this case, the court had to decide if the Madras
Detention Act violated Articles 14, 19, and 21 of the Indian Constitution.
Apart from section 14 of the act and limits on the declaration on the grounds of
imprisonment, the court found that none of the parts of the Preventive Detention
Act of 1950 violate the requirements of Part 3 of the Indian Constitution. The
Preventive Detention Act's Section 14 was deemed illegal, and it was repealed.
However, this had no bearing on the act's overall legitimacy. In this decision,
the court also determined that the term law
as employed in Article 21 of
the Constitution refers to procedural due process. Even though several of
Gopalan's fundamental rights were infringed under sections 14, 19, and 21, the
court found that his detention was legal.
The Court further pointed out that the identical terms in two separate sections
cannot be interpreted in the same way. The phrases "procedure established by
law" do not equal "due process," according to the court. However, the court's
decision in this case was overturned in the case of Maneka Gandhi versus
Union of India
Landmark Judgment (Article 14) Chiranjit Lal Chowdhuri vs Union of India
The court had to decide if the behaviour in issue was in violation of the Indian
Constitution's Articles 14, 19(1)(f), and 31. The petitioner contended that the
statute violates Article 14 of the Indian Constitution because it opposes
equality before the law and equal protection under the law. In its decision, the
court stated that businesses, like persons, can approach the court under Article
32 of the Constitution since they, too, are protected by basic rights.
The theory of eminent domain was used in this case, which states that the
government has the authority to take ownership of private property and utilise
it for public purposes without the owner's approval. Both of the prerequisites
were satisfied since the land was used for the public good and the owner was
compensated. Clause 1 of Article 31 is similarly immaterial in this case,
according to the court.
In response to the question of equal protection under the law, the court decided
that this does not imply that the same laws should be applied to all people in
the country regardless of their circumstances or situations. However, no
distinction should be made between two people. In this instance, the court also
stated that companies and other organisations had basic rights.
Landmark Judgment (Article 14) State of Bombay v. FN Balsara
The legitimacy of the provisions of the Bombay Prohibition Act was called into
doubt in this case. In this case, the idea of pith and substance was applied.
The petitioner argued that the Bombay Prohibition Act violated Article 14 and
Article 19(1)(g) of the Indian Constitution and hence ought to be repealed.
Alcohol combined medications and cleaning items (such as toilet products) with
alcohol content were forbidden from selling and buying under the Bombay
The petitioners' pleas were granted by the Honourable High Court. Some portions
of the Act were found to be legal by the High Court, while others were found to
be invalid. The petitioner, who was dissatisfied with the result, went to the
Supreme Court and filed an appeal against the High Court's verdict.
The state government was entirely within its rights to ban the holding, selling,
and use of drunk wine under list 2, according to the Supreme Court, therefore
there was no disagreement. The court also stated that while some elements of the
Act were unconstitutional, the entire Act could not be set down on this basis.
In light of the above-mentioned comments by several courts, it is obvious that
Article 14 guarantees equality of rights without discrimination. It states that
in the eyes of the law, everyone is equal. Regardless of his colour, religion,
social rank, or financial standing.Finally, because our nation is democratic, we
have been granted certain fundamental rights to all citizens, and we must
guarantee that these rights are not infringed upon by anybody, even the state.
Even when so many legal obligations relating to it have been put forward by our
court system, our constitution's right to equality is not being fully
implemented. Our judiciary, along with the other two state institutions, is
working extremely hard to ensure equality among all inhabitants of our nation.
However, eradicating inequality is impossible unless individuals are informed of
their rights. Citizens' participation has become more important in the
conservation of the environment.The right to equality had to be put into
practise so that no one was denied their rights. Everyone, from Mahatma Gandhi
to Bhim Rao Ambedkar, aspires to live in a country free of prejudice.