The Right to Equality is a foundational pillar of the Indian Constitution, enshrined in Part III, including Articles 14 to 18. It embodies the principle that every citizen is equal in the eyes of the law, regardless of their background, caste, religion, or gender, and is considered a Fundamental Right.
This blog explores the significance and implications of these articles, delving into the prohibition of discrimination, the eradication of untouchability, and the guarantee of equal opportunity in public employment.
This Blog Includes:
- What Are The Different Articles Under The Right To Equality?
- Importance of Right to Equality (Article 14 – Article 18)
- Popular Case Examples
- Additional Details
- Quiz Time
What Are The Different Articles Under The Right To Equality?
The right encompasses different articles of the Indian Constitution. They are mentioned below –
- Article 14: Equality before law
Article 14 guarantees equality before the law. This means that all persons are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of the law. No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, or any other irrelevant factor.
Also Read- Right to Freedom of Religion
- Article 15: Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth
Article 15 prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. This means that no citizen shall be discriminated against in any public place on any of these grounds. For example, no person shall be denied admission to a restaurant or hotel on the basis of their religion or caste.
- Article 16: Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment
Article 16 guarantees equality of opportunity in matters of public employment. This means that all citizens have equal opportunities for employment in the government and its agencies. No citizen shall be discriminated against in matters of public employment on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.
- Article 17: Abolition of Untouchability
Article 17 abolishes the practice of untouchability. Untouchability is the practice of discriminating against certain groups of people, on the basis of their caste. Article 17 declares that untouchability is abolished and that its practice in any form is forbidden.
Also Read – Right to Freedom (Article 19-22)
- Article 18: Abolition of titles except for military and academics
Article 18 abolishes titles. Titles are hereditary honors that are bestowed by the government. Hence, the titles cannot be used as a suffix to a person’s identity. Even if a person has to get a title from a foreign country, the person has to seek permission for the same.
Importance of Right to Equality (Article 14 – Article 18)
Here are the key points highlighting the importance of the Right to Equality (Article 14- Article 18)
- It ensures that all citizens of India are treated equally before the law.
- Article 14 to Article 18 of the Indian constitution mitigates discrimination based on caste, creed, gender, race, and place of birth. This further fosters social justice among citizens.
- The Right to Equality promotes the inclusion of the different sectors of society by prohibiting discrimination.
- It also protects citizens from arbitrary state actions and upholds the rule of law.
- These articles collectively preserve the fundamental rights of citizens.
- They uphold the dignity of individuals irrespective of the differences between them.
Popular Case Examples
Here are two popular case examples of the Right to Liberty.
1. Maneka Gandhi vs Union of India
The case of Maneka Gandhi vs. Union of India is one of the most prominent examples of a legal battle that shaped the concept of the Right to Equality. In this case, Maneka Gandhi challenged the government’s decision to impound her passport, which restricted her rights to travel abroad.
The Supreme Court of India held that the Right to Travel is an essential component of the Right to Personal Liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. In this historic case, the ruling expanded the overall context of Article 21 and emphasized that any action taken by the government affecting an individual’s liberty must adhere to the principles of natural justice.
This is another important case that fosters the principles of the Right to Equality. In the year 2018, the Supreme Court of India legalized consensual homosexual relationships by eradicating Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. This landmark judgment highlighted that one’s sexual orientation should not be a basis for discrimination.
In addition to the above, here are some other important points about the Right to Equality in the Indian Constitution:
- The Right to Equality is not absolute. There are certain exceptions to the Right to Equality, such as the right to make laws that discriminate on the basis of sex for the purpose of social welfare.
- The Right to Equality has been interpreted by the courts to mean that the government must take positive steps to ensure that all citizens have equal opportunities.
- The Right to Equality has been used to challenge various discriminatory practices.
The Right to Equality is a fundamental right that has been fought for and won by many people over the years. We must all strive to uphold and defend the Right to Equality so that all citizens can enjoy equal rights and opportunities.
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