Vulnerable groups in Indian Constitution.
This Article is written by El-varith Fahad.AP.
According to India, it is considered as a largest democratical country among others, with a written constitution ensuring the access to legal rights of people from being excluded without lawful justifications. However, a question related to the access to the basic legal rights of vulnerable groups consisting of children, women, scheduled caste, scheduled tribes, aged persons, minority religion, disabled and etc, exists as a major prevailing problem before India. The term vulnerable is nowhere defined in Indian Penal Code, 1860, however it is generally defined as proneness to harm or damage originating from external forces. Vulnerable groups are those who suffering a higher risk of poverty, health issues and social exclusion due to disability, weakness, poverty and some other facts also. In India, members in aforesaid groups experience structural discrimination from different sections of society. This kind of structural discrimination may pave the way to the unequal and injustice in access to economic opportunity, social status and basic amenities of life. In spite of reservation, a large number of students of such back ward communities drop out of their even preliminary education due to poverty, humiliation and isolation.
Indian constitution takes their matters into account and makes provisions in favour of them with a view to promoting them in all zones. Preamble to Indian constitution points out at the concept of justice and equality of status of opportunity. Fundamental rights also provide for equality before law guaranteed as per article 14 of the constitution.
Even though the principle of vulnerability increasingly prominent in national level, it remains unchanged as stumbling block. People who belong to the vulnerable groups unable to acquire their rights and equality of the opportunity in public status and they are deprived of access to even basic needs of their life such as food, good housing, education, proper medicine. In fact, they are disadvantaged in comparison with others mainly on account of their limitations. Certain groups in the society often encounter discriminatory treatment and need special attention to avoid potential exploitation.
Who are vulnerable in India
A group is generally considered as vulnerable if they are disadvantaged in comparison with other. The members of the groups face systemic violence of their rights in the form of denial of access to land, good housing, primary education and employment and they face a higher risk of suffering poverty and social exclusion only due to some factors which considering as draw back in the eyes of society at large. Vulnerable sections in India consist of Children, Women, Scheduled caste, Scheduled tribes, Other backward communities, minorities, aged and persons affected with disability.
In India, the aforementioned groups often face different types of structural discriminations from the different walks of life, in various forms. The structural discrimination against these groups mostly takes place in the form of physically, emotionally and cultural abuse. In spite of reservations and some extra considerations, a large number of students of these communities drop out of their even primary education mainly on account of poverty, humiliation, nasty remarks and isolation. As per the new account of India Exclusion Report, most of these groups are excluded from the access to their basic rights, since they are mostly unable to meet and acquire their rights from the concerned authority because of their limitations.
Constitution aspect of Vulnerable groups
The constitution of India may be briefly defined as a document having a special legal sanctity which sets out the framework and the principle functions of the government of the state. Guaranteed to all the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights without any kind of discrimination. As a social animal, everyone is entitled to human rights irrespective of any factors such as religion, caste, sex, language, or nationality. Human rights are basic rights which guaranteed to all persons without any discrimination, under the constitution of India. Constitution contains various provisions for the enlargement of such marginalized society.
Preamble to the constitution ensures the concepts of justice and equal status of opportunity to all without any discrimination. Fundamental rights guaranteed under the constitution, also provide for some provisions with a view to uplifting those who suffering humiliation and social exclusion mainly on account of imperfect and disability. In addition to this, Directive principle of state policy, mentioned in part 4 of the constitution, promoting the economic and educational interest of backward people and the main object of the DPSP is welfare of the public at large.
However, due to poverty, humiliation and social exclusion, the vulnerable groups are derived of adequate access to even basic rights such as food, good housing, primary education and so on. A large number of people in India are under the line of poverty as they are unable to acquire their needs from the concerned authority as per the case may be. But our constitution contains various provisions for the enlargement of such marginalized society.
Constitutional provisions for Vulnerable groups;
- Article 14 : state should ensure the equality before the law and equal protection of law.
- Article 15(3): state can make special provisions for women and children.
- Article 15(4): state can make special provisions for SCs/STs
- Article 16(4): state can make reservation for the appointment of SCs/STs.
- Article 17: abolishes untouchability in any form
- Article 21(A): state provides free and compulsory education of children of age of 6 to 14.
- Article 23: prohibition of traffic in human being and forced labour.
- Article 24: prohibition of employment of children in factories.
- Article 25 to 28: right to religion.
- Article 29: protection of interest of minorities.
- Article 30: right of minorities to establish educational institution.
- Article 39(A): equal justice and free legal aid.
- Article 45: state provides early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years.
- Article 46: promotion of education and economic interest of scheduled casts, scheduled tribes and other weaker sections.
- Article 243D: reservation for the scheduled casts and scheduled tribes in every panchayath.
- Article 243T: reservation for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in every muncipalities.
- Article 330: reservation for the scheduled casts and scheduled tribes in the House of people
- Article 332: reservation for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in the Legislative Assemblies of the states.
- Article 275: special grant in aids to states for the welfare
Statutory provisions for vulnerable sections;
- Protection of women from domestic violence Act
- Maintenance and welfare from domestic violence Act, 2007
- Dowry Prevention Act.
- National trust for Welfare of persons with Autism, protection of rights and full participation Act,1955.
- The Protection of Civil Rights Act,1955.
- The scheduled casts and scheduled tribes Act,1989.
- The National Commission for Backward Classes Act,1993.
- Persons with Disabilities Act,1995.
Institution for the development of Vulnerable Section:
- Deen Dayal Upadhaya Institute of physically Handicaped.
- National Institute of Social Defence.
- National Institute of visually Handicapped.
- National Institute for mentally Handicapped.
- Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Empowerment of persons with multiple Disability.
- National Institute of Rehabilitation Training and Research.
Bodies for the Development of Vulnerable Sections;
- National commission for Scheduled tribe.
- National commission for Scheduled cast.
- National commission for Backward class.
- National commission for Safai Karmacharis.
According to women, they are the part and parcel of making society. However, it is widely verified that women can be really regarded as vulnerable group as they are being exploited from ancient time till at present. They are suffering different types of violence such as infanticide, neglect of nutrition needs, humiliation, proper education and also health care. Excessive of the early marriages, more or less cause health issues. As they are mostly unable to meet with their rights because of their limitations, they are partly being neglected from the society. They face this kind of unlawful discriminations at several stages in their life, from first childhood to second child hood. In order to expand their rights, the Indian constitution provides a plethora of concessions. The constitution makers included many provisions regarding the welfare of women.
However, women have low status in society as compared to men, inspite of existing many acts such as ‘The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005’, ‘The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006’, ‘Dowry Prohibition Act 2006’ and so on. But even these existing acts can’t protect the rights of women from being violated.
Major schemes for Women;
- PRADHAN MANTRI MARTI VANDANA YOJANA: this scheme is introduced by Ministry of women and child development in the year of 2017. The major object of this scheme is to provide monetary compensation to women who experienced wage-loss due to leave during the time pregnancy. According to a woman, she is in need of additional nutrition during the pregnancy with a view to giving birth a healthy children.
- Support to training and employment programme for women; this scheme is administrated by central government. The main object of then implementation of this scheme is to make a significant impact on women by upgrading their skills through possible ways. This scheme, more or less helps them to enable self-employed and she can stand on her own foot without depending on others.
- Working Women’s Hostel; The scheme ‘ working women’s hostel’ is launched by the Government of India in 1972-73. The major object of the scheme is to ensure availability of safe and conveniently located accommodation for working place. This scheme is introduced in the wake of the excessive exploitations and sexual harassments against the women at working place.
Other schemes related to women;
- Support to Training and Employment programme for women ( STEP)
- Swadhar Greh.
- Ujjawala scheme.
- One stop center scheme.
Constitutional provisions for Women;
- Article 14: men and women should have the equal right before the law.
- Article 15(1): prohibition of discrimination on the ground of religion, sex etc.
- Article 15(3): state can make provisions for children
- Article 16: equality of opportunity in the matter of public employment.
- Article 39(a): equal justice and free legal aid.
- Article 39(d): equal pay for the equal work for both men and woman.
- Article 42: provisions for just and human conditions of work and maternity relief.
- Article 300(A): right to property to women.
Children are one of the most vulnerable society in India. They are widely considered as vulnerable group due to their age. However, vulnerability can’t be measured only by the criteria of age. It is compounded by some factors such as physical disability, mental ability, powerlessness, defencelessness, poverty, discrimination, lack of proper education etc. owing to lack of access to nutritious foods, most of them are under the line of poverty which leading even to untimely death. High rates of death of children under the age of 5 are registered mainly due to lack of proper vaccination. Female infanticide is another major issue suffered by the children in India.
The government of India is earnestly trying to overcome the vulnerabilities faced by the children in India. Framers of the constitution made some provisions in order to uplift them in all fields.
Major schemes for children;
- National child Labour project; national child labour project was initiated by Ministry of Labour in 1988. The main object of this scheme is to eliminate all forms of child labour and for rehabilitation of children working in hazardous occupations. By virtue of India’s Child Labour Amendment Act, 2006, any child under 14 years is not allowed to be employed in any form of work.
- Mid-Day Meal; the scheme mid-day meal aims at improving nutrition status of students by providing healthy meal at noon time for students in government school. The another major object of this scheme is to increase the enrolment and attendance of the children, belonging to disadvantaged sections in the school.
Other schemes related to Children:
- Umbrella Integrated Child Development Service Scheme
- Integrated child protection scheme
- SAMAGRA SHIKSHA ABHIYAN
- Schemes for Adolescent Girls
- The Beti Bacho, Beti Padhao
- Sukanya samaridhi Yojana
- National scheme of Incentives to Girls for Secondary Education.
Constitutional provisions for Children;
- Article 14: Right to equality before the law
- Article 15(3): State make special provisions for children.
- Article 21(a): State provide free and compulsory education for children in the 6 to 14 years age group.
- Article 24: Prohibition of employment of children below 14 years in factories.
- Article 45: Right to early child hood care and education to all children until they complete six years.
Disabled and aged;
Both disabled and aged groups are considered as vulnerable groups in India as they are unable to meet with their rights due to their weakness and helplessness. Disabled person is one who is unable to ensure the necessities of a normal individual or social life as a result of his deficiency. Persons with disability are still facing discrimination and social exclusion in many forms due to the lack of access to education, employment and other socio-economic opportunities. According to an aged person, it is one who attained the age of sixty or above. They too suffer the lack of access to their rights and face many forms of abuse such as physical abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse and psychological or emotional abuse.
- Accessible India Campaign: Accessible India Campaign is a programme which is set to be launched to serve the differently able community of the country. This benefits not only for the persons with disabilities but also everyone. measures should be implemented in order to eliminate barriers to indoor and outdoor facilities including school, medical facilities and work place.
- Paradhan mantri vaya vandana yojana: the scheme is managed by the Life Insurance Corporation of India. This scheme is designed for senior citizen above 60 years ago and extended to ten tears. Under this scheme the deposit.
Other schemes related to Aged persons;
- Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana
- Integrated programme for Older persons.
- Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Schemes.
- Scheme of National Award for Senior Citizens
- Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana.
Scheduled caste and scheduled tribe;
Govt of India, generally classifies some of its citizens as scheduled caste and scheduled tribes,based on the social defined in Indian constitution.
There are two marginalized groups in Indian society, the Dalits, which are legally classified as scheduled caste and the tribes. People in these categories are exploited for ages and denied the right to education and they are not mixed with the main society.
Article 34 1 deals with the constitution of scheduled caste and it defines as to who would be a scheduled caste, and article 342 deals with the scheduled tribes and it defines as to who would be a schedule tribe. Many acts were implemented such as The protection of Civil Right Act, 1955, sc and st act, 1955, the bounded labour , The scheduled cast and scheduled tribes act 1989, The provisions of the Panchayats ( Extension to the scheduled ares) Act, 1996 etc, in order to uplift those classes in to scene.
Scheduled caste sub-plan
The scheme scheduled caste sub plan is an umbrella strategy which implemented by Ministry in order to flow of targeted financial, physical and other benefits from all the general sectors of development for the benefit of scheduled caste. Some of its main objectives are to promote research, development of technology with a view to improving the quality of weaker sections of scheduled caste and encourage the scientists to apply their knowledge to solve the problems they are suffering, especially I rural area.
Top Class Education for ST Students;
The Top Class Education for ST Students is a central sector scholarship scheme for ST students with the main object of encouraging meritorious concerned students for pursuing studies at degree and post graduate level in any of the institution. The scholarship fund is released by Ministry of tribal affairs.
Other schemes related to sc:
- Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana
- Babu Jagjiwan Ram Chhatrwas Yojana
- Ambedkhar Social Innovation and Incubation Mission.
- Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled casts.
Other schemes related to Scheduled tribe;
- Van Bandha Kalyan Yojana.
- Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub Plan.
- Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojan.
- Vocational training centers in Tribal Areas.
- Establishment of Ashram School in Tribal Sub Plan Area.
- Ekalavya Model Residential School.
Constitutional provisions for SC and ST:
- Article 15(4) : state can make special provisions for SCs / STs
- Article 16(4): state can make provisions for reservation of appointments for SCs/STs.
- Article 17: Abolishes Untouchability.
- Article 46: Promotion of Educational and Economic Interest of SCs and STs.
- Article 243D: Reservation of Seats in Panchayats for SCs/STs.
- Artricle 275: Special grant in Aids to states and tribunal welfare.
- Article 330 and 332: these articles respectively provide for reservation of seats in favour of the scheduled casts and scheduled tribes in the house of people ast statusnd in the legislative assemblies of the
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender persons have been facing discrimination as well as violence from time immemorial, around the world. Though the framers of the Indian constitution made some provisions so as to be protected their rights from being violated, they still suffer social discrimination, deprivation of liberty, lack of employment and proper educational opportunities. According to 2011 census, almost six lakh transgenders living separately even from their family, at different parts of India. Denial of use of public places and residence in household, more or less, cause to pave the way to the constant fear and psychological stress. In 2020, the parliament legally recognized transgender as an official gender in India.
The scheme named Sweekruti is an umbrella scheme launched by Odisha government with a view to uplifting the transgenders community status among the public. Main object of this scheme is to promote transgender equality and justice and secure their basic rights from being violated.
Constitutional provisions for Transgenders;
- Article 14 : right to equality before the law.
- Article 15 : prohibition of discrimination.
- Article 16 : equal opportunity in public employment.
- Article 19 (1)(A) : right to speech and expression.
- Article 21 : right to life with dignity.
Vulnerable groups are those who suffering higher risk of issues mainly due to some kind of weakness.The term vulnerability is nowhere defined in Indian Constitution. The vulnerability groups in India consisting of children, women, scheduled caste, scheduled tribe, Aged person, Minority religion, disabled and LGBT etc. In order to avoid the denial of access to their rights entitled to them, Indian constitution introduces many provisions which enough safeguarding them from being excluded from the society. A plethora of statutory provisions were implemented as per the necessity in favour of them. Our indian constitution always ensures the rights of every persons from being violated in no respects.
Constitutional law by Dr.S.R. Myneni
Introduction to the Constitution of India by Durga
Constitutional Law of India by H.M. Seervai.
Author: FAHAD Ap,
Markaz law college, At Knowledge city