ARTICLE -14 DIFFICULTIES FACED IN APPLYING ALL ASPECTS
Written by : Praveen V.N , LL.B, School of Law, Lovely Professional University
Article 14 of the Constitution of India reads as under:
“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 is a crucial part of the Indian Constitution and is often referred to as one of the three pillars of the Constitution, along with articles 19 and 21. It guarantees equality to all individuals, regardless of their gender, religion, or socio-economic status. Since India has long been plagued by widespread discrimination, this right is of utmost importance.
The provision was created to ensure that everyone is treated equally under the law and that any form of discrimination is eliminated. The Constitution makers recognized that every human being is born equal and therefore, it was necessary to provide for equality of the people through this article. It is hoped that this provision will help bring about social and economic equality in India, thereby making it a fairer and more just society.Article 14 is a crucial part of the Indian Constitution and is often referred to as one of the three pillars of the Constitution, along with articles 19 and 21. It guarantees equality to all individuals, regardless of their gender, religion, or socio-economic status. Since India has long been plagued by widespread discrimination, this right is of utmost importance.
The provision was created to ensure that everyone is treated equally under the law and that any form of discrimination is eliminated. The Constitution makers recognized that every human being is born equal and therefore, it was necessary to provide for equality of the people through this article. It is hoped that this provision will help bring about social and economic equality in India, thereby making it a fairer and more just society.
Right to equality (Article 14–18)
Right to freedom (Article 19–22)
Right against exploitation (Article 23–24)
Right to freedom of religion (Article 25–28)
ARTICLE -14: The principle of 'equality before the law' is a negative concept and requires that the State abstain from any kind of discriminatory act. No individual is above the law and everyone is bound to abide by it. On the other hand, the principle of 'equal protection of law' is derived from the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. It mandates that all citizens of India must be provided with equal protection of the law to enjoy their rights without any kind of privilege or favouritism. This is a positive concept that imposes an obligation on the State to take proactive measures to ensure this right for all citizens. The Supreme Court in the case of Sri Srinivas Theatre v. Government of Tamil Nadu, explained that although these expressions may appear similar, they have different meanings. The term 'equality before the law' is a dynamic concept with many aspects, including the absence of any privilege or a person being above the law.
Scope of Article 14:
Article 14 is intended to cover all aspects of State action, including legislation, executive and administrative action. The principle of equality before the law means that individuals in similar circumstances have the same right to sue and be sued for the same cause of action without any discrimination based on factors such as religion, gender, caste or any other. In the case of State of West Bengal vs Anwar Ali Sarkar, the court ruled that the term "equal protection of law" is a natural consequence of the term "equality before law," and it is hard to imagine a situation where a violation of equal protection of law is not a violation of equality before law. Therefore, while the two terms have different meanings, they are closely related to each other. Some exceptions to the right to equality under the Indian Constitution include...
ARTICLE 361: Protection of the President, Governors, etc.: This provision grants immunity to the President, Governors, and other constitutional authorities from any legal proceedings during their term of office. This provision grants immunity to the President, Governors, and other constitutional authorities from any legal proceedings during their term of office.
ARTICLE 361A: Protection of publication of proceedings of Parliament and State Legislatures: This provision grants immunity to publications of Parliament and State Legislature proceedings from any legal proceedings.
ARTICLE 105 It mentions about powers, privileges, etc., of the parliament: The Members and Committees have been granted the powers to the proceedings of Parliament.
ARTICLE 194: Powers, privileges, etc., of the Houses of Legislatures and of the Members and Committees thereof: This provision grants immunity to the proceedings of State Legislatures and its members from any legal proceedings.
ARTICLE 31C: The provision of saving laws allows the state to create laws that implement certain directive principles of state policy, which may violate the fundamental rights ensured by the Constitution. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. Diplomatic immunity is granted to the UN and its agencies, foreign sovereigns, ambassadors, and other diplomats under international law. Additionally, certain professions such as the armed forces, police, and public servants may have specific legal provisions that allow for differential treatment in certain circumstances.
Difficulties in applying Article 14 with solutions:
Applying Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees equality before the law and equal protection of the law, poses several challenges along with potential solutions:
1. Interpretational Challenges: Difficulty: The equality definition isn’t explicit and can be subjectively interpreted by courts. Solution: Courts can provide clearer guidelines to ensure a consistent interpretation of equality principles.
2. Socio-Economic Disparities: Difficulty: Despite legal equality, socio-economic disparities hinder equal opportunities. Solution: Policies that should be focus on improving access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities can help in fill these gaps.
3. Reservation Policies and Affirmative Action: Difficulty: Special provisions and reservations sometimes conflict with the idea of absolute equality. Solution: Regular reviews and modifications of these policies, ensuring they promote equality without compromising merit, can address these concerns. And there is always an difference between equality and justice.
4. Inconsistent Implementation: Difficulty: Laws and policies might not be uniformly enforced across regions or administrative levels. Solution: Developing mechanisms to ensure consistent implementation and monitoring at various administrative levels could help maintain uniformity.
5. Implicit Bias and Discrimination: Difficulty: Personal biases or societal prejudices can lead to unequal treatment. Solution: Implementing the awareness programs among the students youngsters etc.., sensitivity training, and promoting diversity in institutions to mitigate biases and discrimination.
6. Complexity in Diverse Societies: Difficulty: India’s diverse cultural and social landscape makes uniform application challenging. Solution: Tailoring policies and laws with consideration for regional and cultural diversity can promote a more inclusive approach which is an good solution for this.
7. Legal Loopholes: Difficulty: Loopholes or technicalities can lead to inequality despite apparent legal equality. Solution: Regular legal reviews and amendments to close gaps in the law can ensure a more comprehensive legal framework.
8. Balancing Fundamental Rights: Difficulty: Balancing various fundamental rights, like the right to equality and freedom of speech, poses challenges. Solution: Establishing a framework that considers multiple fundamental rights while ensuring that one doesn’t impede another could aid in addressing conflicts.
It is important to establish a precise and comprehensive definition of equality to ensure its consistent application across various cases and contexts. This may require a legislative definition or clearer judicial guidelines. Writs are written orders issued by the Supreme Court of India to provide constitutional remedies to protect the fundamental rights of citizens from violations. Therefore, a writ petition is essentially a court petition for extraordinary review, seeking a court's intervention in a lower court's decision. Reservation policies should be regularly reviewed and optimized to balance affirmative action with merit-based selection and advancement. This may involve periodic assessments and revisions based on current societal needs. It is essential to establish mechanisms that ensure uniform enforcement of laws and policies across all regions and administrative levels, reducing disparities in their application. Awareness programs, sensitivity training, and diversity initiatives should be promoted within institutions and society to minimize biases and discriminatory practices. Policies and laws should be tailored to accommodate the diverse cultural, linguistic, and social fabric of India, allowing for a more inclusive approach that respects regional diversity. Regular legal reviews and amendments should be conducted to address gaps or loopholes in the law, ensuring a more comprehensive and equitable legal framework. A framework should be created that effectively balances and harmonizes various fundamental rights, ensuring that one doesn't infringe upon another while maintaining equality for all. The judiciary should be encouraged to establish clear and consistent precedents that further define and strengthen the application of Article 14 in various scenarios.
Articles 14 to 18 of the Indian Constitution provide fundamental rights related to equality of status, community, and gender. Article 14 is an essential part of the Constitution and the first part of fundamental rights. It grants all citizens the right to make anything anywhere. This article ensures that everyone has equality before the law and prohibits discrimination based on religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. The Human Rights Act also makes it illegal to discriminate based on various grounds. However, it is important to note that there is still a difference between justice and equality.
“TRUTH ALWAYS WINS”
: Source: Text Book - Indian Constitution authors by- DR. JN Pandey and V N Shukla