By Harshita Dubey
The doctrine of equality is a fundamental element of the legal system of any truly democratic society. A corollary is wedged between equality and non-discrimination, which is also a well-known truth across the globe. And India being a Democratic Country, which is more tilted towards the socialist system, it’s very important to know the basic structure of the Right to equality which does not only matters to its citizens but also non-citizens of the country, all the necessary steps to protect the underdeveloped or educationally and socially backward classes, the provisions to protect their rights, the necessary positive discrimination, the duty of the stated as a protector as well as the duty of its citizens and non-citizens, Part 3 of the Indian Constitution guarantees certain fundamental rights to all Indian citizens, regardless of caste, race, place of birth, religion, or gender. These fundamental rights are known as basic fundamental rights. Here, the researcher attempted to pin down the critical analysis of the Right to Equality in the Indian context and its impacts on society and to educate the general public about the same for the benefit of different segments of society.
Keywords- Right to equality, reservation, social and educational backwardness, creamy layer, LGBTQ.
The constitution of India codifies the fundamental rights- the basic human rights of its citizens which are defined in Part 3rd of the Indian Constitution. Articles 14 to 18 protect the right to equality, which is one of the fundamental rights. This Right ensures guarantees to every person the right to equality before law & equal protection of the law. “The state shall not deny any person equality before the law,” according to Equality before the Law. The right to equality applies to both Indian citizens and non-citizens. Article 14 defines that “No one is above the law; All are equal in the eyes of the law”. These rights are protected under the state, as defined under Article-12 of Fundamental Rights.
The Right to equality (Article 14) means that every person who lives within the territory of India has equal rights before the law. There is no discrimination based on religion, race, caste, sex, and place. It means that all will be treated equally and there is no discrimination based on lower or higher class, which is the mother article of the Right to equality. Other than that, various provisions were made under the same head i.e., Right to equality, they are separately explained under the title of Article 15, that is Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth; Article 16, that is Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment; Article 17, that is Abolition of Untouchability and the last but not the least Article 18, that is Abolition of titles.
Keeping given brief knowledge of these articles and related case laws stated by the different courts in different judgments, it is clear that Article 14 gives the ensuring of equal rights without discrimination which is the mother of all other articles under that heading. It says everyone is equal in the eyes of law. Whether he belongs to a different race, religion, social status, or wealth.
As Dr. Jennings rightly said: “Equality before the law means that among equals the law should be equal and should be equally administered, that like should be treated alike. Without discrimination of race, religion, wealth, social status, or political influence, all individuals who are above 18 and understanding should have the same right to sue and be sued, to prosecute and be prosecuted for the same sort of action.” This is extended in subsequent articles, such as Article 15, which prohibits discrimination based on religion, race, caste, or sex, or place of birth. Article 16 deals with equality of opportunity in public employment. Whereas Article 17 deals with the abolition of untouchability and the last Article 18 deals with the abolition of titles. As given in our Constitution, for the interest of minorities, there are certain reservations and provisions given, for the upbringing of the suppressed classes of the society, to make them equal. The reservations are given in fields of education, public employment, and promotion. As the researcher interpreted these Articles, the reservation was given to suppressed classes, which are women, children, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes based on socially and educationally backwardness. As we all know, the backwardness of any class is not rigid. After some time, providing them with some kind of special provisions and reservations, the backwardness can be eliminated, for that, a separate monitoring body was made as directed by the apex court in a certain judgment. But as we know some things just exist in the pen and paper world only, no such actions were taken towards the implementation of the same afterward. Also, there is a committee for the same, which is not working as efficiently as they have to, no one is monitoring them, no one is reviewing the list of backwardness, even many people didn’t even notice the same.
According to the researcher’s understanding, the backwardness of classes must be surveyed in every decided routine year, like we have an election in every 5 years, the census in every 10 years, there must be some kind of evaluation of backwardness of classes in some decided period and according to that reservations must be given.
Also, reservations must be given in preliminary education, but not in a competitive exam, exams related to national affairs, as they directly affect the quality of decisions taken by them. We must not compromise the quality of our nation’s employees as it will directly reflect our growth, national income, GDP, and other prospects. People not getting an adequate opportunity in their own country, migrate to others for the search of jobs and educational purposes which enhances their growth, leads to huge loss in terms of quality human resources of our country.
Other than that, the reservation must be given to the actual suppressed classes, such as, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender of the society need reservations and protective provisions the most, as they are the suppressed class of the society and they don’t even recognize under those clauses. Even now, LGBTQ is not wholly accepted by societal norms. Some people still think that it is a mental disorder. This social acceptance is very important to survive in society, for that protective discrimination is much needed. They must be promoted in educational sectors, public employment, and promotions under that.
The reservations given to the economically backward classes under these provisions are somewhere inconsiderate as we know there is a big chunk of mass which comes under this category, approximately 1346.5 million people who earn less than 8 lac per annum, for that big portion of the population 10% reservation is very nominal. Also, the same situation is with the differently-abled class of the society. The reservation which is given to the differently-abled class is about 3% which is extremely insignificant. According to the census of 2011 and the data of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, of 2016 about 2.68 Cr persons are specially-abled, which itself is a large number.
With all of that, the provision of the creamy layer must be followed for all the classes of the society and monitored by the people’s self-discipline as well as by the committee factually, rules must be there with some sort of rigidness and strictness and making concrete laws out of that, with the help of lawmakers and interpreters i.e. Parliament and Judiciary, violating them or breach of these laws leads to sincere retribution.
The “Right to Equality” is one of the most important parts of our Indian constitution, which gives strength to all those people who belong to Indian nationality. It is a necessity of the upcoming generation to secure their rights & change our developing India into developed India, with some kind of necessary reforms and interpretation see to it and which can only make possible through some reform in system and law as well. Because the next generation will not sacrifice their efforts and hard work for unethical activities that have no defined boundaries and merits. Everyone who is inhabiting this nation is equally entitled to avail of these opportunities, to be at the same level (socially and educationally), to grow with others, to make better livelihood conditions, to be accepted by society.
To conclude all the above, we came up with that the essence of Articles under Right to Equality is to create all the required provisions to safeguard the interests of all the segments of the country’s population and protect the suppressed classes of the society, which is diluting by the time and giving a new prospect of reservation due to inefficiency in implementation. The researcher wants to sum up by saying that it is important to save our country rather than your seats in the house. The future of our country India, that is Bharat, is in the hands of the lawmakers and its interpreters, eventually, the citizens of the very Democratic country, the duty of its citizens is to abide by the milestone which was then set by the father of the Constitution and Constitutional makers.