Article 15 of Indian Constitution: Equality Under Law

Article 15 of Indian constitution

The Indian Constitution is a detailed legal document that establishes the fundamental rights and obligations of its citizens. Article 15, which forbids discrimination base on religion, race, caste, gender, or place of birth, is one of these rights and is very important. Let’s examine the fundamentals of Article 15 of Indian constitution and comprehend its ramifications.

Article 15 of Indian Constitution provisions

Article 15 Clause Provisions
Article 15(1) It provides that the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, gender, or place of birth.
Article 15(2) It states that no citizen shall be subjected to any disability, liability, restriction, or condition on grounds only of religion, race, caste, gender, or place of birth about

access to hotels, retail establishments, dining establishments open to the public, and entertainment venues;

the use of roads, wells, tanks, bathing ghats, and public resort areas that are either fully or partially fund by the state or meant for general public use.


The Indian Constitution forbids discrimination solely base on caste, religion, gender, or place of birth (Article 15). 22 languages are recognized in India, as specified by the Constitution’s 8th Schedule. Even though Hindi and English are the official languages of the nation, over 1,500 other languages are spoken there. Approximately 44.63 percent of Indians identify Hindi as their mother tongue. Conflicts resulting from differing points of view are oftentimes the source of prejudice.

Caste prejudice is a major cause of discrimination in India and remains so in certain regions. In the past, the most common way to divide society was through caste systems, both lower and higher. Untouchability had existed for the lower classes. Because of how awful this law is, India recently declare it to be illegal.

Scope of the word ‘discrimination’

  • Place of birth: An individual’s place of birth shouldn’t be a basis for discrimination.
  • Religion: It implies that no state or group may deny someone access to any public facility or policy on the grounds of their religion.
  • Race: It is unacceptable to treat someone differently because of their ethnic background. For instance, people of Indian descent shouldn’t treat an Afghani citizen unfairly.
  • Caste: Discrimination based on caste is forbidden. Usually, it is done to stop the upper caste from committing atrocities.
  • Gender: There should be no gender-based discrimination against any individual. discriminating, for instance, against transgender people and women.

Article 15 of Indian Constitution Exceptions

  • Article 15 (3): The state is free to give women and children special treatment. For example, providing free education to kids or allocating seats in local councils to women. In Revathi v. Union of India, AIR 1998, the Supreme Court ruled that the word “for” in this clause meant that states could give women and children special treatment without engaging in discriminatory practices.
  • Article 15 (4): The state may create any special arrangements it sees fit for the advancement of any citizens who belong to socially and educationally disadvantaged classes, as well as scheduled castes and tribes. Public educational institutions, for instance, might provide seat reservations or fee reductions. The First Amendment Act of 1951 added this clause. 
  • Article 15 (5): Whether or not the state provides funding, the state has the power to make special accommodations for the advancement of any socially and educationally disadvantaged classes of citizens, as well as scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, about their admission to private and public educational institutions. Minority educational institutions are exempt from this rule. It was added by the 93rd Constitutional Amendment Act of 2005. In the 2008 case of Ashok Kumar Thakur v. Union of India, the Supreme Court affirmed the validity of the 93rd Constitutional Amendment Act of 2005.
  • Article 15 (6): Any special provisions for the advancement of any economically disadvantaged groups of citizens may be made by the state. Furthermore, when it comes to admission to educational institutions, including private educational institutions, whether supported or not by the state, the state may designate up to 10% of seats for these categories, except for minority educational institutions. This reservation of up to 10% would be made in addition to the ones that are already made. For this reason, the state would periodically notify the economically weaker sectors based on family income and other indices of economic disadvantage. It is added by the 103rd Amendment Act of 2019.

Article 15 of Indian constitution Reservation for OBC

  • Top-ranked army officers: individuals holding colonel-level positions in the Army and comparable positions in the Air Force, Navy, and Paramilitary Forces.
  • Other Professions: professionals in fields such as medicine, law, engineering, literature, art, consulting, and so forth. people working in industry, trade, and business.
  • Agricultural land: Individuals who possess more than a certain amount of agricultural land as well as vacant land or buildings in cities.
  • Constitutional Posts: those in constitutionally designated positions such as the President, Vice-President, SC, and HC judges, UPSC and SPSC chairman and members, CEC, CAG, and so forth.
  • Officers: officers of the All India, Central, and State Services; employees holding equivalent positions in PSUs, banks, etc., as well as in private employment; and officers of Group “A” / Class I and Group “B” / Class II.
  • Annual Income: Individuals who earn over ₹8 lakh in gross annual income or who have wealth exceeding the exemption threshold. When the “creamy layer” ceiling was first implemented in 1993, it was set at Rs. 1 lakh. Afterwards, it was altered to Rs. 2.5 lakh in 2004, Rs. 4.5 lakh in 2008, Rs. 6 lahks in 2013, and Rs. 8 lahks in 2017.

Article 15 of Indian Constitution Reservation for EWS

  • Determination of Property: When using the land or property holding test to determine EWS status, a family’s holdings in various locations or cities would be combined.
  • Definition of Family: The person requesting the reservation’s benefits, along with his or her parents, siblings, and any children under the age of 18, are all regarded as that person’s immediate family for this purpose.
  • Annual Income: To be eligible for reservation benefits, individuals whose family’s gross annual income is less than ₹8 lakhs must be identified as EWSs. The income would come from all sources, including salaries, businesses, professions, and agriculture, and it would be for the fiscal year before the application year.
  • Possession of Asset: Regardless of family income, individuals whose family owns or possesses any one of the following assets will not be classified as EWSs: (1) agricultural land of five acres or more; (2) residential apartments of one thousand square feet or more; and (3) residential plots of one hundred square yards or more in municipalities that have been notified.

The interplay of Articles 14, 15, and 16 of the Indian Constitution

The three Articles complement one another since they are all a part of the same constitutional guarantee of equality. Article 15 is exclusive to citizens, whereas Article 14 is available to everyone. Furthermore, Article 14 ensures the universal right to equality, and Articles 15 and 16 represent specific instances of the same right for citizens under certain unique conditions.

Furthermore, Article 15 is more comprehensive than Article 16, which is limited to topics about employment or appointment to a state office. It is also important to note that “descent” and “residence” are two more categories of prohibit discrimination that are mentioned in Article 16.

Crucially, equal protection under Article 14 would suffice on its own to justify equalizing policies in the absence of any Constitutional provisions. However, taking proactive steps to eradicate inequality is required to bring about equality among the unequal. The Constitution’s founders believed it prudent to include additional clauses that would address the issue from all angles. The Hon’ble Supreme Court ruled in Sourabh Choudhary v. Union of India (2005) that Article 14 is the genus in the sense that Articles 15 and 16 allow for an exemption to the equality clause.


Q1. Is the fifteenth article of the fundamental rights?

Ans.  Yes, there are articles 12 through 35 in the Fundamental Rights section of Part III of the Constitution.

Q2. What does Article 15 (1) mean?

Ans. It states that no citizen may be discriminated against by the State based solely on their place of birth, gender, race, religion, or caste.

Q3. Which provision was added by the 93rd Constitutional Amendment Act of 2005?

Ans. It added Article 15(5), which grants the state the power to create any special arrangements necessary to support the advancement of any class that is socially and educationally disadvantaged.

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