Article 14 of Indian Constitution: Equality Under the Law

Article 14 of Indian Constitution

Adopted on January 26, 1950, the Indian Constitution is the primary legal document that governs the nation. Often referred to as the “Right to Equality,” Article 14 of Indian Constitution is a fundamental component of the Indian legal system. Let’s examine the meaning and contents of Article 14.

What is the Right to Equality?

One essential element needed to carry out the rights granted to Indian citizens is the right to equality. The phrase “right to equality” describes the need for all citizens to be treated equally before the law and the outlawing of any kind of discrimination against people based on their gender, caste, race, religion, or place of birth. The Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court has declared that the right to equality is a fundamental component of our Constitution. It serves as the foundation for the other benefits and rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

Article 14 of Indian Constitution: Rule of Law

  • No Arbitrary Power: No man should be punished for anything other than breaking the law; in other words, there should be no arbitrary power. To punish someone by the law, an offense must be proven before regular courts. This holds within the framework of India.
  • Equality Before Law: All citizens, rich or poor, high or low, official or not, are subject to the common law of the state as administered by ordinary law courts, which is the definition of equality before the law. For the Indian system, this is accurate.
  • Source of Individual Rights: Dicey thought that to successfully implement the first two principles, there ought to be an enforcing authority. Dicey believes that the courts ought to be in charge of enforcing laws. It was not the other way around: the courts’ establishment and maintenance of individual rights led to the creation of the Constitution. It was decided that the origin of a person’s rights is the legal system. Since individual rights in India stem from a written constitution, this clause is not applicable under the country’s legal system.

Article 14: Equality Before Law & Equal Protection of Laws

Equality Before Law

  • English law is the source of the concept of equal rights before the law, which takes a negative stance and declares that no one should be treated unfairly. It’s applied in a wide range of situations.
  • Every autonomous creature deserves equal treatment under the law, according to the fundamental tenet of equality rights before the law. It further states that the same justice laws apply to all people.
  • No person or group of people is given any advantages or is treated unfairly in front of the law.

Equal Protection of Laws

  • The idea that laws do not always apply to everyone equally is a positive approach that is uniquely American.
  • It states that not everyone can be covered by the same laws. It also says that to guarantee that everyone in the country is treated fairly, laws must be made and enforced.
  • Lastly, it says that different elements in our country need to be categorized and reorganized to enhance public welfare.

Article 14 of Indian Constitution: Case Rulings

Section 377 was declared unconstitutional in the Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India case. The five judges of the Supreme Court unanimously decided to decriminalize intercourse relationships between consenting adults, ending the prohibition imposed by Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. The legal right to choose an intercourse partner belongs to the LGBT community. It was determined that Section 377 was unconstitutional and infringed upon the legal and intercourse rights to equality, particularly Articles 14 and 15.

The court held in Harsh Mander v. UOI that a person’s mentality, not any medical condition, is to blame for the stigmatization and eventual criminalization of begging in society. Additionally, it was stated that outlawing certain activities like begging would only be perceived as an attack on the fundamental rights of the underprivileged. Necessities like food and shelter may also suffer as a result of this.

FAQ’s of Article 14 of Indian Constitution

Q1. What are Article 14’s limitations?

Ans. Article 14 forbids class legislation, but it does not forbid the government from legitimately classifying people, objects, and transactions to accomplish specific objectives. It is unacceptable, nevertheless, to classify someone as “arbitrary, artificial, or evasive.”

Q2. What does Article 14 cover?

Ans. Thanks to the provisions of Article 14, all citizens are guaranteed equal access to the legal system and are not subjected to discrimination in the administration of justice. The Supreme Court has invalidated discriminatory laws and practices that compromise the right to a fair trial by invoking Article 14.

Q3. Does Article 14 grant all rights?

Ans. According to Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, everyone has a right to equality before the law as well as equal protection under it. Nevertheless, there may be some exceptions to Article 14 made for the benefit of the public interest and the betterment of the locals.

Q4. What is Article 14’s new strategy?

Ans. Article 14 is based on the fundamental idea of the great equalizing principle. Arbitrariness and equality are incompatible, as the positivist viewpoint on equality shows. Equality and arbitrariness are sworn enemies.

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