Prohibition of discrimination – Article 15 of Constitution of India

Prohibition of discrimination under Article 15 of Constitution of India

Introduction :-

India is a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic, republic country and it protects all the citizens of India regardless of their race, caste, sex, religion and any other legal status. All person is equal under the eye of law. Before 1947 the discrimination on race, caste, sex and birth of place exists in India, but after an independent, this heinous system was precisely prohibited by Article 15 of the Constitution of India. Article 15 is enshrined in part III of the Constitution of India as a fundamental right. It secures all the persons from discrimination.

Prohibition of Discrimination on Certain Grounds:-

Article 15 is a fundamental right under the Constitution of India. It guarantees all the citizens that the state shall not discriminate any citizen on the grounds only of race, caste, religion, gender or place of birth.  This right is available only to the citizens of India, no foreigner can eligible for this right. Now the question arises what is the meaning of discrimination? – the word discrimination means unfair or unequal treatment of an individual or group based on certain characteristics, including:
Age, Disability, Ethnicity, Gender, Marital status, National Origin, Race, Religion, and Sexual orientation.
As per Article 15, the state shall not discriminate on following grounds:
  • Religion– Religion plays a major part in society, India us a secular country and every religion are treated equally under the eyes of the law. So, in India, no individual can be discriminated on the ground of religion.
  • Caste– the caste system is terrible in India. Much caste-based corruption happened in India. So to abolish the caste system no one must not be segregated on the ground of caste.
  • Race– In ancient times race plays a vital role in Indian society but today’s era it is abolished in many parts of the country. No individual can be discriminate on the ground of race.
  • Sex– Gender discrimination is a disastrous thing in the world. No person can be judged on their gender.
  • Place of Birth – Any individual birth in any part or domain of India is the citizen of India. He or she is not discriminated on the ground of the place of birth.
See also  Public Interest Litigation

If any person is discriminated on the above-mentioned grounds, he can appeal to the courts of India for infringed their fundamental right. The discrimination on other grounds is not restricted under Article 15.

Article 15 has 5 clauses under the Constitution of India. The clauses under Article 15 are stated below:
  • Article 15(1)  guarantees to all citizens that the state can not discriminate any citizen on grounds of religion, race, gender and place of birth.
  • Article 15(2) restricts subjection of a citizen to any disability, liability, condition on grounds of religion, race, gender and place of birth.
  • Article 15(3) upholds that the state can make any special provision for women and children.
  • Article 15(4) provides that the state can make any special provision for socially, Prohibition of discrimination under Article 15 of Constitution of India
  • Article 15(5) uphold that the State can make special provision for educationally and socially backwards classes for the admission to educational institutions.

Article 15(1)

Article 15 under the Constitution of India prohibits discrimination on grounds of race, colour, religion, caste and place of birth. This provision is an expansion of Article 14. Article 15(1) provides a special application of the general principle of equality symbolized in Article 14. This right is available only for a citizen of India.
Case Law– In the case of Re Shaikh Husein V. Shaik Mahomed (AIR 1951 Bom 285), the Bombay High Court held that as per the City of Bombay Police Act, while a person born outside the territory of Bombay could be expanded if he was sentenced of any of the offences cited therein, no such action could be taken against a person born in Bombay. This was intolerance based on place of birth and it was highly prohibited under Article 15(1).

Article 15(2)

Article 15(2) restricts subjection of a citizen to any disability, liability, condition on grounds of religion, race, gender and place of birth with esteem to access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment or the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, road and places of public resort conserved by the state government funds.
Case Law- In the case of Arumugha V. Narayana (AIR 1958 Mad 282), the Madras High Court stated that if a section of the public puts forward a statement for limited use of a public well,  it must ascertain that the well was assigned to the limited use of that specific section of the public and not to the use of the general public.

Article 15(3)

Article 15(3) says that the state is not deterred from making any special provision for children and women living in the territory of India. Article 15(3) is an exception of Article 15(1) and 15(2). Article 15(3) grants that the woman in India has been socially and financially weaker for centuries and as a result, they can not fully participate in the socio-economic activities of the country on a footing of equality.The goal of this provision is to abolish the socio-economic backwardness of women and certify them. Article 15(3) enhance the status of women in India.
Case Law – In the case of Air India Cabin Crew Association V. Yeshawinee Merchant (AIR 2004 SC 187), the apex court held that the Constitution does not restrict the employer to evaluate sex in making the employment decisions where this is done under a legally charted affirmative action plan.

Article 15(4)

Article 15(4) provides that the state can make any special provision for socially, economically and educationally backwards classes of citizens. This provision was added to the Constitution in 1951. The primary object of this provision to helping backwards classes by bringing discriminatory conditions in their favour.
Case Laws – In the case of Union of India V. R Rajeshwaran (2003 9 SCC 294: 2001 10 JT 135), the apex court held that Article 15(4) confers restraint and does not create any Constitutional obligation. Hence, no mandamus can be allocated either to furnish for reservation or relief.

Article 15(5)

Article 15(5) uphold that the State can make special provision for educationally and socially backwards classes for the admission to educational institutions. This provision was added by the 93rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 2005. This provision omits the minority educational institutions from the power of the state to make any expenditure by law for the advancement of any socially and educationally backwards citizen relation to the admission of educational institutions.
Case Law– In the case of Ashoka Kumar Thakur V. Union of India (2008 6 SCC 01 486), the apex court stated that the provision under Article 15(5) of the Constitution of India is to be accepted as an enabling provision to carry out specific Constitutional statute and thus it is constitutionally valid and it does not prohibit Article 15(4) of the Constitution of India.
If any rights mentioned in the above provision are infringed the citizen can file a petition to the High Courts of India under Article 226 of the Supreme Court as per Article 32 for the violation of the fundamental rights.

Conclusion:-

In today’s era, we do not say that discrimination on race, caste, gender, class and place of birth is totally abolished. In India, discrimination on these grounds happens every day but very few cases are registered because of ignorance and illiteracy.  The Constitution and the government authority always prohibits discrimination on these grounds. But the real change happens every citizen know their rights so that they can not be subjected for any discrimination on these grounds.
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Reference :-

Author: Shreeparna Goswami,
2nd year B.A.LL.B of Shyambazar Law College

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