Rights to Equality | Fundamental Rights in India

Fundamental Rights are the guaranteed rights to an individual enforceable by the court against the state. They are fundamental to human existence. In 1215, the story of the right had begun from Magna Carta Libertatum. “Magna Carta” was signed by King John with regards to providing certain basic rights to its citizen. Later in the “Bill of Rights,” the USA guaranteed rights to its citizen.

Adopted

We have embraced the notion of fundamental rights from the USA. Articles 12 to 35 of Part III of our constitution are Fundamental Rights.

List of Fundamental Rights

  • Rights to equality (article 14 to 18)
  • Rights to freedom (article 19 to 22)
  • Rights against Exploitation (article 23 to 24)
  • Rights to religious freedom (article 26 to 28)
  • Cultural and educational rights (article 29 to 30)
  • **Property (article 31) ( fundamental right not anymore)
  • Constitutional remedies (article 32)

Articles 12 & 13 are not giving any fundamental rights. These are defining the “States” and “Laws” respectively. The term State refers to the Govt of India, Parliament of India, Govt of state, the Legislative of states, or any local authority within India or outside India but within the control of Govt of India.  Article 13 defines “what is law” or “what is not Law” actually. As per article 13, any action, order, legislation, amendment which is inconsistent or in derogation with the constitution Part III is null or void. Laws that violate abridge or contravene Part III of our constitution are considered null and void.

**After the 44th Amendment Act of 1978, the Right to Property article was removed from the list of fundamental rights. It’s now a Legal Right that comes under Article 300A in Part XII.

Rights to Equality (Article 14 to 18)

Article 14

  • Equality before law
  • Equal protection of Law.

Equality before the law is a British law concept whereas equal protection of the law is an American concept. British law concept states that everyone is equal before law whereas the American concept suggests that we should practice reasonable discrimination. Reasonable discrimination states “like should be treated alike”.

The founding father in India decided to adopt both concepts. Depending on case to case the judiciary will adopt one of the concepts as per their wisdom.

Article 15

  • No discrimination on certain grounds

As per the article, No discrimination on the basis of Race, Religion, Caste, Sex, and Place of Birth

Article 16

  • Equal opportunity in Public Employment

No citizen can be discriminated against on the basis of Race, Religion, Descent, Caste, Sex, and Place of Birth or Residence.

Article 17

  • Abolition of untouchability

An article with Zero exception. An individual found practicing untouchability will face legal action under the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955.

Article 18

  • Abolition of Titles

It Prohibits the state from the dynastic title, not from merit or military title. However, awards like Bharat Ratna, Padma Shri, etc. were exempted. But the awards can’t be suffixed by an individual.

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