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Right to Equality (Article 14-18): Articles and Detail

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Right to Equality

The Right to Equality is a foundational pillar of the Indian Constitution, in Part III and includes Articles 14 to 18. Additionally, it signifies 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.

What are the Different Articles under the Right to Equality?

Furthermore, the Right has different Articles of the Indian Constitution which are as follows:

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. Moreover, no person shall be denied equal protection of the laws on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, or any other irrelevant factor.

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 based on 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. Additionally, 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. Moreover, Article 17 declares that untouchability is abolished and that its practice in any form is forbidden.

Article 18: Abolition of titles except for military and academics

Article 18 abolishes titles. Titles are hereditary honours that are bestowed by the government. Hence, the titles cannot be used as a suffix to a person’s identity. In addition, even if a person has to get a title from a foreign country, the person has to seek permission for the same.

Also Read: Right to Freedom (Article 19-22)

Importance of Right to Equality (Article 14 – Article 18)

In addition, here are the key points highlighting the importance of the Right to Equality (Article 14- Article 18)

  • It guarantees 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. 
  • Moreover, it also protects citizens from arbitrary state actions and upholds the rule of law. 
  • These articles collectively preserve the fundamental rights of citizens.
  • Finally, they uphold the dignity of individuals irrespective of the differences between them. 

Also Read: Right to Freedom of Religion

Popular Case Examples 

Here are two popular case examples of the Right to Equality. 

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.

2. Navtej Singh Johar vs Union of India

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.
  • Thus, this landmark judgment highlighted that one’s sexual orientation should not be a basis for discrimination. 

Also Read: Cultural and Educational Rights (Articles 29 & 30)

Additional Details about Right to Equality

In addition to the above, here are some other important points about the Right to Equality in the Indian Constitution:

  1. 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 social welfare.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

Quiz Time!

Results

#1. Rights to Equality is which of the following?

#2. Article 18 gives an exception to _________?

#3. Right to Equality is incorporated in which part of the Indian Constitution?

Finish

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Lastly, we hope you liked our blog and gained an understanding of the Right to Equality. Moreover, you may even read more blogs and empower yourself with knowledge regarding Civics and Polity!

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