Understanding Right To Equality of Indian Constitution

Right to Equality means that all citizens enjoy equal privileges and opportunities. It protects the citizens against any discrimination by the State on the basis of religion, caste, race, sex, or place of birth. Right to Equality includes five types of equalities.

Equality Before Law

According to the Constitution, “The State shall not deny to any person equality before law or equal protection of laws within the territory of India”. ‘Equality before law’ means that no person is above law and all are equal before law, every individual has equal access to the courts. ‘Equal protection of laws’ means that if two persons belonging to two different communities commit the same crime, both of them will get the same punishment.

No Discrimination on Grounds of Religion, Race, Caste, Sex, Place of Birth or any of them

No citizen shall be denied access to shops, restaurants and places of public entertainment. Neither shall any one be denied the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads etc. maintained wholly or partly out of State funds. However, the State is empowered to make special provisions for women, children and for the uplift of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes
and other backward classes (OBC’s). The State can reserve seats for these categories in educational institutions, grant fee concessions or arrange special coaching classes.

Equality Of Opportunity In Matters Of Public Employment

Our Constitution guarantees equality of opportunity in matters relating to employment or appointment to public services to all citizens. There shall be no discrimination on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or residence in matters relating to employment in public services. Merit will be the basis of employment. However, certain limitations have been provided to the enjoyment of these rights.

Abolition of Untouchability

The Constitution abolishes untouchability and its practice in any form is forbidden. Action in the box are considered as offences when committed on the grounds of untouchability.

Abolition of Titles

All titles national or foreign which create artificial distinctions in social status amongst the people have been abolished. This provision has been included in the Constitution to do away with the titles like ‘Rai Sahib’, ‘Rai Bahadur’ have been conferred by the British on a few Indians as a reward for their effective co-operation to the colonial regime. The practice of conferring titles like this is against the doctrine of equality before law. To recognise the meritorious service rendered by individual citizens to the country or mankind, the President of India can confer civil and military awards on those individuals for their services and achievements such as; Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padam Sri, Param Veer Chakra, Veer Chakra etc., but these cannot be used on ‘titles’.

A. Sulthan

Author and Assitant Professor in Finance

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