Sunday, October 16, 2016

Article 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 of Indian Constitution Detailed Explanation

Below is an explanation of Article 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 of Indian Constitution. In this article we will first read the excerpt of the particular Article as it is present in the Constitution and then  we will have a look at the explanation of that particular article.

Article 14 of Indian Constitution

Equality before law.—The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
Article 14 of Indian Constitution Explained -

One of the most important guarantees from our constitution is to be treated equally, or the right to equality in the country. It might seem pretty simple and basic but believe me, without this right, we would have a whole different society. There will be a chance of a state of chaos and possibly anarchy in every little aspect of life.

Article 14 of Indian Constitution states that “The state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.

Here, state refers to the country which includes all the states and union territories in it. A simple meaning of the above statement can be that all are equal in the eyes of the law or everyone will be treated equally. However, the phrases "equality before the law" and "equal protection of the law" refer to two different aspects. At first glance, I think it might be clear that the second phrase, that is, "
equal protection of the law" seems positive. I mean, it provides a sense of security and rightly so. It means equality of protection by the law under similar or equal circumstances. This means that treatment for a particular activity can be different for individuals placed in different groups which means preference can be given to one and not to other taking account of their conditions.

The first phrase, "equality before the law" gives a negative vibe. It means that absence of special privileges to a section of people or any individual under the eyes of the law. People will be give the
same treatment and punishment under same circumstances and for same crimes irrespective of their status and value.

However, there are three exceptions included in the constitution. They are as follows:-

1. For any official actions or acts, neither the president of the country nor the governor of a state is answerable to any court. The key word here being 'official'. This does not point to any personal
transgressions.

2. While the president of the country or the governor of a state is still serving the term of his office, he will not face any criminal prosecution. Any such matters will be suspended until the end of their
terms.

3. Civil cases where some relief or settlement is expected, cannot be brought in front of the president or a governor when they are still in office.

As you all might know, our constitution was formed by borrowing various aspects from different constitutions around the world. In this Article 14 of the Indian Constitution also, the phrase, "equal protection of the law" has been borrowed from the Constitution of the United States of America. It was in the 14th Amendment of the American Constitution. According to this, similar people will be treated alike and no one will be favored and discriminated.

This acts like a loophole where the government can classify people for tax purposes. For examples people with higher income have to pay higher tax percentage than those who earn less. The state can also exempt some people or even organizations from paying taxes under some circumstances like charities and trusts. Different tax rules can be imposed in different trade aspects like liquor and textiles.

Therefore, "equal protection" means equal treatment in equal situations or same situations. But the same people will be treated differently in different situations. This different treatment will be same for all people who live or act under these situations.
Article 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 of Indian Constitution Detailed Explanation
Image Credit - Spark Edunation

Article 15 of Indian Constitution - 

Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.—

(1) The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.

(2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to—

(a) access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment; or

(b) the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of the general public.

Article 15 of Indian Constitution Explained -

The main point of this article is that “the state shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste sex, places of birth or any of them".  The statement is pretty much self-explanatory but it also means that the state can however discriminate on some other bases such as making special provisions for backward classes or scheduled castes and tribes as seen fit by the state. The state is also free to make any special provisions for women and children which might help and benefit towards their overall best interests. The article also states that no one will be denied access to any public service or place such as shops, public entertainment places, public hotels etc.

Article 16 of Indian Constitution - 

Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment.—

(1) There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.

(2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them, be ineligible for, or discriminated against in respect of, any employment or office under the State.

(3) Nothing in this article shall prevent Parliament from making any law prescribing, in regard to a class or classes of employment or appointment to an office under the Government of, or any local or other authority within, a State or Union territory, any requirement as to residence within that State or Union territory prior to such employment or appointment.

Article 16 of Indian Constitution Explained -

Article 16 talks about equal opportunity of work to all. It forbids discrimination on the basis  of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, and place of birth or any of them in matters of public employment. However, there is provision for exceptions in the constitution. They are:

1. Additional qualifications such as residential preference may be laid down.
2. Reservation for scheduled castes and tribes and other backward classes.
3. Offices in religious organizations may prefer to employ people with the same religion.
4. The article forbids discrimination on the basis of the above criteria. However, some criteria like desired merit or mercy can be employed.

Article 17 of Indian Constitution - 

Abolition of Untouchability.—“Untouchability” is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden. The enforcement of any disability arising out of “Untouchability” shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.

Article 17 of Indian Constitution Explained -

This article prohibits the practice of untouchability. Also, it is strengthened by the coming in force of Untouchability Act of 1955. The term untouchability is not defined in either the Constitution or the Act. The Untouchability Act of 1955 was amended and renamed as Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955 in the year 1976. People who practice it in any form are considered violators. Restricting admission to educational institutes or hospitals or schools on the basis of untouchability is a punishable crime.

Article 18 of Indian Constitution - 

Abolition of titles.—

(1) No title, not being a military or academic distinction, shall be conferred by the State.

(2) No citizen of India shall accept any title from any foreign State.

(3) No person who is not a citizen of India shall, while he holds any office of profit or trust under the State, accept without the consent of the President any title from any foreign State.

(4) No person holding any office of profit or trust under the State shall, without the consent of the President, accept any present, emolument, or office of any kind from or under any foreign State.

Article 18 of Indian Constitution Explained -

This article forbids the acceptance of all titles among the public. Only educational and military titles are allowed like Colonel or Doctor etc in order to differentiate profession and post. For example, any foreign titles like Knighthood or Lord are strictly prohibited.

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