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Right to Equality in Indian Constitution, Articles (14 to 18)

Right to Equality

Nelson Mandela stated, “As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in the world, none of us can truly rest”. Only in societies where all members of the population are treated fairly and without bias can democracy prosper. In order to remove the barrier of current social and economic inequalities and enable the varied populations of the country to enjoy the rights and liberties provided by the constitution, it was felt by the Constitution’s drafters to include such a clause.

Eliminating disparities based on religion, social conventions, and long-standing customs like untouchability, casteism, racial discrimination, etc. that are still prevalent in some parts of India was considered crucial.

The concept of equality is closely associated with the theory of natural rights. For a democracy to flourish the individuals in the society need to be treated equally and without any discrimination. This led the framers to incorporate such a provision in the Indian constitution. The aim was to remove existing socio-economic inequalities and enable every community of our country to enjoy the rights and liberties guaranteed to them.

Read about: Important Articles of Indian Constitution

Right to Equality in Indian Constitution

  • Constitutional Provision: Articles 14-18 of Part III of the Constitution of India provide for the Right to Equality.
  • Nature of Rights: The right to equality provides for both “positive rights” i.e. demands to be treated equally, as well as “negative rights” i.e. prohibits unequal treatment.
  • Implements Philosophy of Preamble: The right to equality as a Fundamental Right, gives effect to the concept of “equality of status and of opportunity” mentioned in the Preamble of Indian Constitution.

Right to Equality Articles

The Indian Constitution outlines 6 fundamental rights, with the Right to Equality being one of them. The right to equality ensures that everyone will be treated equally before the law and prohibits discrimination on a variety of grounds. The Indian Constitution’s Article 14-18 provides everyone with the right to equality.

Article Subject Matter
Article 14 No Indian Citizen should be denied equality before the law or equal protection of the laws.
Article 15 The state shall not discriminate prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
Article 16 Equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters of public employment or appointment to any office under the State.
Article 17 Abolition of untouchability and prohibition of its practice.
Article 18 Abolition of titles except military and academic.

Read More: Salient Features of Constitution of India

Right to Equality Article 14

Article 14 states that no one may be denied equality before the law or equal protection under the law within the boundaries of India. The framers of the Indian constitution borrowed the concept of equality before the law from the British constitution and the concept of “equal protection of laws” has been borrowed from the Constitution of America.

Equality Before the Law Equal Protection of Law
  • It is the absence of any special privileges in favour of any person.
  • Equal adherence to the common law of the territory by all people.
  • No person is above the law
  • The equality of treatment under equal circumstances.
  • Applying the same laws uniformly to everyone.
  • The like should be treated alike sans any discrimination.

Right to Equality Article 15

Article 15: Discriminating on grounds of only religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth shall not be done by State. Only Indian nationals have access to it. Although it has some reasonable restrictions as the state came with some special provisions for the upliftment of the women or the children, as well as for the socially and educationally backward classes.

Additionally, the Government by the 93rd Constitutional Amendment Act 2005 made special provisions, for the advancement of the socially and educationally backward classes regarding their admission to educational institutions including private institutions, and the 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act 2019, was enacted by the parliament for providing 10% reservation to the Economically Backward sections in the admission of educational institutions.

Right to Equality Article 16

Article 16 guarantees equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters of employment or appointment to any office under the State. No citizen can be discriminated against for any employment or office under the State on grounds of only religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth or residence.

However, The State can provide for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class that is not adequately represented in the state services, The state is permitted to make a provision for the reservation of up to 10% of appointments or posts in favour of any economically weaker sections of citizens.

The 10% reservation would be in addition to the existing reservation. Hence, the economically weaker sections would be notified by the state from time to time on the basis of family income and other indicators of economic disadvantage.

The 103rd Amendment Act of 2019, in order to give effect to this provision, the central government issued an order (in 2019) providing 10% reservation to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWSs) in Public Services and services in the Government of India

Right to Equality Article 17

The article deals with the abolition of ‘untouchability’ and forbids its practice in any form in Indian society. Any impairment resulting from untouchability must be enforced, which is illegal and subject to legal penalties. Despite the fact that neither the government’s statutes nor the constitution use the term “untouchability,”.

The Supreme Court ruled that the right under Article 17 can be used against private individuals and that the State has a fundamental duty to take the appropriate steps to prevent its infringement.

Right to Equality Article 18

Titles are abolished according to Article 18. It specifies that the State shall not bestow any titles that are not academic or military honours. No Indian national may accept any titles from foreign governments. Only titles that might affect social equality and lead to injustice among community members are covered by this article.

It also restricts Indian nationals from receiving any title from a foreign nation, it also bars them to receive any gift, emoluments or office of any type without the prior permission of the Indian President.

Right to Equality UPSC

The right to equality is considered a basic feature of the Indian Constitution it plays an important role in achieving social and economic justice in our society where the upliftment of certain classes is considered necessary for our country to flourish. Its emphasis is on the fundamental unity of individuals by providing equal opportunities and treatment to all. It provides every individual in the country with all the elements essential for the development of its personality

In order to accomplish the goals, set forth by the Constitution’s framers, courts—who are seen as its guardians—ensure that the right to equality is interpreted broadly.

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FAQs

What is the right to equality under Indian Constitution?

The government shall not deny to any person in India equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws

Concept of Equality before law is borrowed from?

The concept Equality before law has been borrowed from the British constitution.

Concept of Equality Protection of law is borrowed from?

The concept Equality Protection of law has been borrowed from the American Constitution.

What does Article 17 talks about?

It talks about the abolition of untouchability and prohibition of its practice.

What does Article 18 of the constitution deal with?

It deals of the abolition of titles except military and academic.

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