Rights to equality

Article 14:

Right to equality: Equality before law and equal protection of laws

  • Includes legal persons as well
  • Equality before law: British version
  • Equal protection of laws: American constitution
  • It permits reasonable classification of persons, objects and transactions by the law but it should not be arbitrary

Note: In India, constitution is the source of individual rights

Exceptions to equality

  • President and governor not answerable to court for their official acts
  • No criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against the President or the governor in any court during his term of office
  • No process for the arrest or imprisonment of the President or governor
  • Civil proceeding on personal acts only after two months notice
  • No liability of true reporting in newspapers
  • No member of Parliament shall be liable for anything said or vote
  • Article 31C
  • Foreign sovereigns enjoy immunity; this includes even UNO

Article 15

No citizen of India shall be discriminated on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth

  • Usage of two keywords- ‘discrimination’ and ‘only’
  • Ground mentioned in the article: religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth
  • The second provision in this article is applicable to even private individuals and legal persons


  • Special provisions for women and children
  • Advancement of socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the SC and ST
  • Provision for education of the above could be made for education in aided and unaided

Article 16: equality of opportunity in public employment

  • Addition of two more grounds: Descent or residence


  1. Parliament can prescribe residence as condition for certain employment
  2. State can provide reservation for any backward classes if they are inadequately represented
  3. Religious denomination exception

Abolition of untouchability: article 17

  • Protection of civil rights act, 1955
  • Term untouchability has not been defined anywhere in the constitution
  • It is available against even private individuals

Article 18: abolition of titles

  • State cannot confer titles until it is military or academic
  • Prohibits a citizen of India from accepting titles from foreign countries
  • Foreigner who holds office of profit should take consent of the President
  • No gift also for a foreigner without President’s approval