Written by:Adv. Pooja Gupta

Right to Equality in Indian Constitution | Article 14

Right to Equality in Indian Constitution | Under Article 14: In India’s Constitution, the right to equality is guaranteed. The right to equality (under article 14) is included in Part III of our Indian Constitution, along with other Fundamental Rights. It is a basic human right. The notion that all men are created equal under the law underpins this right to equality.

Article 14 of the Constitution of India stipulates that every Indian is entitled to the same and equal rights. It advocates for the notion of general equality before the law and prohibits excessive discrimination between people.

The notion of equitable treatment articulated in the preamble is contained in Article 14

Article 14 includes two phrases

Equality before the law

Its origins in America and, in some ways, its negative connotation. The term “equality” does not imply absolute equality between people, which is physically impossible to accomplish. Its intent is to imply the absence of any particular advantage in favor of any individual due to birth, creed, sex, religion, or other factors, as well as the equality of all classes before the law.

Equal protection of the law

It has a British provenance and is in some ways a positive concept. It means all individuals in similar things ought to be treated identically in terms of the rights granted and therefore the obligations imposed by the law. There should be no prejudice between people in similar situations, and the law should apply equally to all. It means that if someone is Prime Minister or President, they should be subjected to the same laws as ordinary people.

The Dicey Rule and some exceptions to the rule

Equal protection under the law is one part of what dicey refers to as the “rule of law.” In the United Kingdom. Even when the main requirement for law and order is to be secured, the rule of law mandates that no one is treated harshly, uncivilized, or discriminatorily.

Absence of arbitrary authority or supremacy of the law

It refers to the arbitrary supremacy of the law rather than the government’s ultimate right. To put it another way, a guy can be punished for breaking the law, but not for anything else.

Equality before the law

From the viewpoint of the law, that means no one is above the law. It entails the submission of all social classes to ordinary law courts.

Individual liberty is lacking in many constitutions

which give individual liberty but not the method. It indicates that an individual’s rights are not derived from the written constitution, and the United Kingdom does not contain a guarantee for individual liberty.

The Exception to the Rule of Law

Above rule of equality is not an absolute norm there is an exception

The rule of law does not provide for a special rule to apply to a certain group of people. As a result, military personnel is subject to military regulations. Similarly, the Indian Medical Council regulates medical practitioners.

Equality before the law does not imply that private persons have the same power as governmental officials. As a result, a police officer has the authority to arrest anyone who breaks the law, whereas no other private individual has this authority. This is not an infringement on the rule of law.

Members of society who are categorical representatives are governed by unique rules in their fields, such as police officers, lawyers, members of the military services, doctors, and nurses. People in these groups are treated differently than the general public.

Classification is permissible under Article 14 but class legislation is prohibited

Article 14 Allows Classification, but Prohibits Class Law: Article 14 ensures equal protection under law does not entail the universal nature of all laws. The same legislation should not apply to everyone. It does not follow. It doesn’t do anything or put things in the same situation. Different groups of people have different requirements, necessitating a separate analysis. As a result, not only is a sensible classification not permitted but it is also required if society is to progress.

Accordingly, while Article 14 prohibits class legislation, fair classification is not prohibited. In cases of equal treatment for no reason. However, when equality and inequality are treated differently, Article 14 does not apply to the class law, which establishes by granting specific benefits to a group of people arbitrarily selected from a large number of people, all of whom maintain the same relationship. Inappropriate discrimination. There is no reasonable difference between the privileges granted and the less favored people.

Reasonable Classification Test

In order to attain certain goals, Article 14 prohibits class legislation but does not restrict lawmakers from the classification of persons, items, and transactions. On the other hand, classification shall not be “arbitrary, arbitrary or avoidable.” It always needs to be based on a true objective which is sought by the law.

For classification to be meaningful, following two requirements must be met

  • The classification must be based on the understandable differences between persons or things that are collected from others who have left the group and;
  • The distinction must be rationally related to the aim of the act.

The differentia, which serves as the basis for classification, and the act’s object are two separate entities. “What is required is a connection between the base of classifications and the aim of the act that creates the classification. Legislation that makes such a classification may only be ruled discriminatory if there is no reasonable basis for it.

Let’s discuss some cases related to Article 14

S Nakara vs. Union Of India (AIR-1983 SC 130)

The government announced a liberalized pension program for former government employees in an office memo, although it only applied to those who retired after March 31, 1979. The apex court ruled that setting the cut-off date is discriminatory and violates Article 14 of the Constitution.

The separation of pensioners into two divisions based on the date of retirement was not based on any rational concept, because a two-day difference in the date of retirement may bring agony to the retirees.

There was no appropriate or persuasive rationale for such a classification, therefore it was deemed arbitrary and unprincipled. The aforementioned categorization had no meaningful connection to the goal in mind.

Madhu limaye vs. supdt. Tihar jail Delhi (AIR-1975)

There were Indians and Europeans among the detainees. Both were given different treatments. Europeans have a healthier diet. The court ruled that inequities in treatment and diet between Indian and European prisoners violate the right to equality guaranteed by Article 14 of the Indian Prisoners Act. They are all inmates, and they must all be treated equally.

Royappa vs. State of Tamil Nadu 1974 SC

In this scenario, a new doctrine of equality has been suggested and is still being followed. If any action is arbitrary, we must assume that it is applied to equality, according to S.C.

In this decision, a key declaration was made: “Equality is dynamic,” and equality and arbitrariness are sworn rivals.

Chirajit lal vs. union of India

In this case, the Supreme Court concluded that classification might be fair even if a single individual is considered as a class if there are some unique conditions or reasons that apply to him but not to others.

Conclusion of the Right to Equality in Indian Constitution

In India’s constitution, there is a right to equality. Article 14 prohibits discrimination by legislation, which is defined as treating people with comparable circumstances differently and those with different circumstances in the same way, or, to put it another way, treating equally as unequal and unequal as equal.

The Indian constitution’s Article 14 on the Right to Equality bans hostile classification by law and is geared against discriminatory class legislation. A legislature, in order to deal with a complicated problem that originates from an endless variety of human relationships, must make some type of selection or classification of the people who will be affected by the legislation.


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