Fundamental Rights- The Golden Treasure of Indian Constitution (Part 1)

Right to Equality (Article 14 to 18)

“Equality before the law means that Equality among equals the law should be equal for all and should be equally administered, that like should be treated alike. The Right to sue and be sued, to prosecute and prosecuted for the same kind of action should be same for all citizens of full age and understanding without distinctions of race, religion, wealth, social status or political influence.” – Dr. Jennings

Article 14- Equality before the law


The State does not deny any person equality under the watchful eye of the law or the equal protection of the laws in India. Protection denial of discrimination on religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. Prof. Dicey, clarifying the notion of legal equality as its employment in England, said: “With us, each official, from the President to a constable or an authority on taxes, is under a similar obligation regarding each act managed with no legitimate avocation as some other citizen.”

“equality to the law” is mentioned in almost all constitutions that ensure fundamental rights. All citizens established of birth, religion, sex, or race are equal under the watchful eye of the law; in other words, there shall not be any discretionary discrimination between one citizen or class of citizens. All citizens will, as human people, be held equal under the law. All occupants of the republic are guaranteed equality under the laws.

Chief Justice Patanjali Sastri observed that the subsequent aspect is the end product of the first, and it is hard to imagine a condition in which the infringement of laws won’t be the infringement of equality under the watchful eye of laws along these lines, in substance the two aspects mean the same thing. As Dr Jennings said, “Equality under the law implies that uniformity among approaches the law ought to be equal for all. Also, it ought to be similarly controlled, that like ought to treat the same. The option to sue and be sued, to indict and prosecuted for a similar sort of activity ought to be same for all citizens of full age and comprehension without differentiation of race, religion, riches, societal caste or political impact.”

Equality Before Law

This pessimistic notion guarantees that there is no extraordinary prerogative for anybody, that all are similarly established upon the conventional rule that everyone must follow. No individual, whatever be his caste or condition, is exempt from the powers that everyone else has followed. This is comparable to the second result of the Dicean notion of the Rule of Law in Britain. This, be that as it may, is anything but an outright rule, and there are various exemptions for it, e.g., foreign representatives are immune from the country’s legal process; Art. 361 states impunity to the President of India and the State Governors; public officials and judges likewise partake in some protection. But, on the other hand, some particular groups and interests, similar to the employment’s organizations, have been extended the exceptional prerogatives by law.

Yet, when a charge of discrimination was made for treating diploma holders and degree holders in a similar class, the Supreme Court out of nowhere said that Art.14 couldn’t be overextended far as it will incapacitate the authority and repulse the test as expressed in case of Dilip Kumar Garg vs. State of Uttar Pradesh [2009) 4 SCC 753: (2009) 3 JT 202].

Article. 14 hence implies that ‘same should be dealt with the same; it doesn’t imply unequal equals should be dealt with similarly.’ So, people in the like conditions ought to be dealt with similarly. Then again, where people or groups are not arranged similarly, regarding them as equivalents would be violative of Art. 14 as this would bring about the disparity.

Equal Protection of Laws

The subsequent notion, ‘equal protection of laws,’ is positive in content. However, it doesn’t imply that a similar law should apply to all people indistinguishably or that each direction should include a general application inside the country, regardless of conditions.

Equal Protection of the laws doesn’t propose equal treatment of all people without qualification. It offers similar laws the same and without discrimination to all people comparatively arranged. It signifies equality of treatment in equal conditions. It suggests that among rises to, the law ought to be equal and similarly regulated, that the like be dealt with the like without qualification of race, religion, riches, societal caste, or political impact as expressed in the case of Jagannath Prasad vs. State of Uttar Pradesh [A.I.R. 1961 SC 1245: (1962) 1 SCR 151].

The Supreme Court has held in Sri Srinivasa Theatre vs. Govt. of Tamil Nadu A.I.R. 1992 S.C., at 1004, that the two aspects ‘equality under the law’ and ‘equal protection of law’ don’t mean precisely the same thing regardless of whether there might be much in like manner between them. “Equality before the law” is a powerful notion having numerous features.

One aspect is that there will be no favoured individual or class, and none will be above the law. One more feature is “the commitment upon the State to achieve, through the apparatus of law, a more equal society… For, equality before the law can be predicated genuinely just in an equal society….” The qualification line between the equivalents and unequal ought not to be self-assertive yet be founded on pertinent and legitimate reasons mirroring the natural contrasts in attributes.

As all people are not equal essentially or conditions, the fluctuating necessities of various classes or individuals require differential treatment. This prompts appointment among multiple groups of people and discrimination between such categories. To apply the standard of Equality helpfully, the courts have developed the rule that assuming the law being referred to depends on regular order; it isn’t viewed as biased as expressed in the case of Ashutosh Gupta vs. State Rajasthan [(2002) 4 S.C.C. 34].

A Legislature is qualified to make a sensible categorization for grounds behind legislation and treat it as one class on an equal note. The Supreme Court in the case of Western U.P. Electric Power and Supply Co. Ltd. vs. State of Uttar Pradesh [A.I.R. 1970 SC 21, 24: (1969) 1 SCC 817] expressed that:

“Article. 14 of the Constitution guarantees equality among approaches: protection against discriminatory treatment. It doesn’t anyway employment against sane grouping. So, an individual setting up a complaint of refusal of equal treatment by law should set up that between people also conditions, some were blessed to receive their bias, and the differential treatment had no sensible connection to the Article looked to be accomplished by the law.”


The above Right is certainly not a flat outright. Consequently, is established upon an exemption – sensible appointment. Article 14 precludes class legislation yet allows realistic characterization. The two trials of grouping are as per the following:

  • Ineligible Differentia: The appointment should be established on a coherent differentia that recognizes those gathered from others. Intervention is an enemy of precast to the right to Equality. Henceforth, there ought to be no extent of assertion in a grouping.
  • Logical Relation: That differentia should have a sane connection to the item tried to be accomplished by the Act [State of West Bengal vs. Anvar Ali, (1952) S.C.R. 289]. There must be a connection between the premise of appointment and the object of the demonstration, which makes the characterization. When there is no sensible reason for an order, legislation creating such a description might be proclaimed prejudicial.

Landmark Judgements

  • In E.P Royappa vs. State of Tamil Nadu and Another (A.I.R. 1974, S.C.555), it was held that Article 14 is one of the mainstays of the Indian Constitution and subsequently can’t be limited by a thin and unyielding translation. Therefore, article 14 should, along these lines, be given the most significant translation conceivable, which additionally incorporates sensibility and intervention of specific regulations of the legislations.
  • In the case of Maneka Gandhi vs. Union of India (1978 AIR 597), the Supreme Court precluded the space for volatility. ‘Article 14 strikes at assertion in State activity and guarantees decency and Equality of treatment. The rule of sensibility, which legitimately just as thoughtfully, is a fundamental component of equality or non-intervention, infests Article 14 like an agonizing ubiquity.’ The rule of law which pervades the whole texture of the Indian Constitution avoids discretion.

Article 15- Prohibition of Discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth


Article 15 restricts discrimination based on religion, sex, caste, race, and birthplace. Indian Constitution likewise precludes any incapacity, limitation, or condition concerning getting to shops, inns, recreational sections, and cafés. Additionally, no individual can be disallowed from utilizing wells, tanks, or other public hotels.

Categories of Prohibition

Article 15(1) restricts the State from segregating any citizen based on these after five classifications:

  • Religion – No individual can be discriminated against based on faith to get to any open place and so on
  • Race – Any individual’s starting point shouldn’t be a premise of discrimination.
  • Caste – Mainly, discrimination based on caste is restricted. This forestalls the violations submitted against the lower part.
  • Sex – The gender of a specific individual can’t be a premise to discriminate.
  • Place of Birth – Any particular birthplace can’t be thought about and discriminated against.
  • Any of the above mentioned.

In the case of DP Joshi vs. State of Madhya Bharat [1955 AIR 334: 1955 S.C.R. (1)1215], a medical school was set up in Indore, and Madhya Pradesh Government heavily influenced it. The govt had made a standard which expressed that all the Domicile students dwelling in Madhya Bharat wouldn’t be needed to pay any “capitation charges.” Yet, all the non-residence students were required to pay an apparent expense of Rs. 1300-1500 as capitation charges. This standard was tested by documenting a writ in Supreme Court under Article 32, asserting that it had abused the Fundamental privileges ensured under Art 14 and Art 15(1). The Court had passed a judgment expressing, However, then this standard doesn’t disregard article 15(1) as “Place of Residence” and “Place of Birth” are two particular terms.

Prohibition of all forms of Discrimination

Article 15(2) sets out that no individual will be exposed to any inability, limitation, or some other type of discrimination concerning access to shops, parks, eateries, inns, or some other public place. Every individual reserve the option to utilize wells, tanks, washing Ghats, streets, visiting public retreats, and whatever other site kept up with by government experts for the overall population. Article 15(2) applies to each person, which incorporates personal activities, while Article 15(1) suggests every one of the commitments done by the State, as it were.

Article 15(2) was summoned for Nainsukhdas vs. State of Uttar Pradesh [1953 AIR 384, 1953 SCR 1184]. The State had set up various constituent boards for multiple religions for this case. The Supreme Court had announced such discrimination on electing committees established on faith as illegal according to Art 15(2). Moreover, the Court had set out the judgment that the State will not discriminate against any person.

Special Laws for Women and Children

Nothing in this part can prevent the State from making any particular laws for women and youngsters. Under this Article, the State can draft extraordinary regulations for Women and Children. Under this Article, the Court had maintained the legitimacy of legislation or leader orders segregating women. This Article expresses that, even though the state wouldn’t discriminate against anybody on the premise referenced in Art 15(1), they have the absolute power to make particular regulations to ensure the interests of Women and Children.

Special Laws for Schedule Class, Scheduled Tribes and Socially and Educationally Backward Classes,

State of Madras vs. C. Dorairajan (1951 AIR 226: 1951 SCR 525) is a milestone judgment that adds Article 15(4) to the Indian Constitution. This is the significant fundamental judgment that managed reservations in India. The High Court of Madras has passed the order, which saved seats in Government occupations and school organizations established on the caste framework.

In the case of M.R. Balaji vs. State of Mysore [1963 AIR 649, 1962 S.C.R. Suppl. (1) 439], the Mysore state has reserved seats for every community, leaving the Brahmin people group aside. Mysore state has regarded every one of the communities as “Socially and Educationally” backward class aside from Brahmin people group. 68% of the seats were reserved in the engineering and medical universities. The State likewise separated the reserved seats for More backward and Backward classes alongside S.C. and S.T. The petitioners filed a case under Article 32 in the High Court, which expressed that 68% of reservations had no sensible reason, and it is a specific infringement of Article 15(4).

The SC passed a judgment expressing that reservation under article 15(4) was exclusively founded on “Caste.” Additionally, it said that Article 15(4) neither have reservation established on “Backward” and “More backward classes,” nor this Article doesn’t give any grouping based on the equal above terms referenced. A decision issued by the Court expressed that arranging communities into backward and all the more backward classes and afterwards holding the seats isn’t substantial. It goes about as volition for Art 15(4).

Under Article 15(5), the State is engaged in making regulations that help elevate socially and instructively backward classes or Scheduled castes and Scheduled clans. Under this Article, the State can make regulations that incorporate instructive foundations whether or not helped supported by the State, regardless of the minority instructive organizations alluded to in Article 30(1).

The primary notion was summoned in the case of Pramati Educational and Cultural Trust vs. Union of India (2014 8 S.C.C. 1). The primary issue for this case was whether the inclusion of Art 15(5) by the Constitution under the 93rd amendment had changed the basic structure of the Constitution or not? For this case, the dispute made by the applicant expresses that article 15(5) neglected to differentiate between aided and unaided establishments. Likewise, the petitioner held that the State couldn’t constrain private foundations to give affirmations established on the appointment of reservations. While the respondent referenced that Art 15(5) goes about as an “empowering section” that enables the State to make laws. The Court later passed the judgment, which expressed no privileges were being hurt or abused under Articles 14, 19(1)(g) and 21 of the Constitution of India. The Court likewise said that embedding article 15(5) under the 93rd amendment acted distinctly as an empowering section, and subsequently, it is held to be legitimate.

Article 15(5) was presented under the 93rd amendment act, which goes about as an “Empowering section.” This was held on Ashoka Kumar Thakur vs. Union of India [1996 A.I.R. 75: 1995 S.C.C. (5) 403]. Likewise, in the case of T.M.A. Pai Foundation (2002 8 S.C.C. 1), it was held that Article 15(5) was acquainted, which empowers a right to set up and direct any of the private instructive organizations under Art 19(1)(g) of Indian Constitution. Consequently, it was set somewhere around the Court that Article 15(5) doesn’t abuse Article 19(1)(g).

From all of the above observations regarding Art 15, the Court has consistently maintained that both Art 15(4) and Art 15(5) are substantial and that the two are not going against one another.

Article 16- Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment

Article 16 of the Indian Constitution ensures equal opportunity for all citizens in issues connected with employment. According to Article 16(1), there will be equal opportunity for the citizens regarding employment or appointment to any office under the State. The State is sans still to set out the essential capabilities for enrollment employment for the Government administrations. The Government can likewise single out petitioners with the end goal of employment as long as the petitioners have been offered an equal chance to apply for the Government administration.

Article 16(2) states the grounds on which the citizens ought not to be victimized with the end goal of employment or appointment to any office under the State. The restricted grounds of discrimination under Article 16(2) are religion, race, caste, sex, origin, or any same. The words ‘any employment or holding office under the state’ referenced in proviso 2 of Article 16 infers that the said appointment alludes just to public business and to employment in the private section.

Article 16(1) and (2) set down regulations for an equal chance of employment in the public section. Notwithstanding, it is expressed in proviso 3 of Article 16 that nothing in this Article will keep Parliament from making any law which endorses to the citizens who are selected to any office under the State as to any prerequisites as to home inside that State preceding business or appointment to any office under the respective State.

Article 16(4) of the Indian Constitution accommodates the reservation of administrations under the State for the retrogressive class of citizens. The State will conclude whether or not a specific type of citizen is backward. Consequently, the State will set down satisfactory models to determine whether or not a particular class of citizens is a regressive class.

Important Judgements

In the 2006 case of M. Nagaraj vs. Union of India [(2006) 8 SCC 212], Supreme Court decided on the established legitimacy of the 77th amendment. The Court expressed that the ability to amend the Constitution suggests that ‘the character of the constitution should stay unaltered’ and ‘one can’t lawfully utilize the constitution to obliterate itself.’ The respectable Court reasoned that equality is an essential part of the Constitution along these lines. The Court maintained the legitimacy of the 77th amendment in this way reservations in advancements was made protected, gave –

  • The backwardness of a class of individuals is shown
  • Insufficiency of representation is shown
  • In general, authoritative proficiency is demonstrated.

In this way, to make the above statements, the State needs to gather quantifiable information showing the backwardness of the class and deficiency of portrayal of that class in open employment.

In the case of U.P. Power Corporation Ltd. vs. Rajesh Kumar [(2012) 7 S.C.C. 1], the Supreme Court held that “A new exercise in the light of the judgment of the Constitution Bench in M. Nagaraj case, is straight out essential where Articles 16(4-A) and 16(4-B) were held to be naturally substantial as empowering regulations for the reservation in advancement with special rank and the State can reserve a place for something similar on specific premise or establishment.

Article 17- Abolition of Untouchability

The Indian Constitution has abolished untouchability through Article 17. The Article expresses that the practice of untouchability is restricted in all forms. The Act of untouchability is an offence under the Untouchability Offenses Act of 1955 (now Protection of Civil Rights Act in 1976), and anybody doing as such is punishable by law. This Act expresses that whatever is available to the overall population ought to be open to every one of the citizens of India.

The term untouchability was defined in the case of Devarajjah vs. Padmana (A.I.R. 1958 Mys 84). It was expressed that the Untouchability Offenses Act, 1955 prohibits describing the word ‘untouchability.’ The Court held that ‘untouchability’ under Article 17 of the Constitution ought not to be taken in the literal sense should be perceived as a practice that has been created in India. The framers of the Constitution had demonstrated untouchability as a practice that generally grew in this country. The presence and practice of untouchability in this nation and the endeavours made for its destruction during the many previous years are everyday information and can be taken legal notification of.

Article 18- Abolition of titles

Article 18 of the Constitution denies the State from giving any titles to the citizens of India, and they are precluded from tolerating any title given by a foreign State. Service and academic differentiation can be provided upon. The title which shows up with grants, for example, Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan, don’t fall inside the established forbiddance. In this way, they don’t fall under the meaning of title under Article 18 of the Constitution. Article 18 peruses as follows,

  • No title, not a military or scholastic qualification, will be presented by the State.
  • No citizen of India will acknowledge any title from any foreign State.
  • No individual who isn’t a citizen of India will. At the same time, he holds any office of benefit or trust under the State, will acknowledge without the permission of the President any title from any foreign State.
  • No individual holding any office of benefit or trust under the State will, without the permission of the President, acknowledge any present, remittance, or office of any sort from or under any foreign State.”

In the case of Balaji Raghavan vs. Union of India [(1996) 1 SCC 361], the petitioners fought that National Awards like Padam Vibhushan, Padam Bhushan, Padam Shri, and Bharat Ratna ought not to be given to the people as it is an infringement of Article 18. It was contended in the Court that the National Awardees regularly abuse the title given to them by the Government. The Supreme Court held that getting a National Award was not an infringement under the Constitution. Article 51(A)(f) of the Constitution talks about the vital acknowledgement and enthusiasm for greatness in exhibition of an individual’s obligation. The Court criticized the Government in choosing the nominations for National Award and expressed that the entire standards for determination were dubious, and the real object of acknowledgement and enthusiasm for employment was utterly absent.


Right to Equality is certifiably not a straightforward notion as it is seen to be. The Indian Constitution intends to accomplish the aim of a society where everyone is furnished with an equal chance. The advancements made in the Right to Equality under the Constitution have elevated the Indian culture. The framers of the Constitution planned to accomplish a general public where all citizens are dealt with similarly. The Courts have given different understandings through the decisions to achieve the point of Equality which the framers of the Indian Constitution planned.