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Article 15 of Indian Constitution

Posted by Admin on November 21, 2014 | Read the First Comment

Article 15 of Indian Constitution 4.21/5 (84.29%) 14 votes

In order to uphold the spirit of a secular nation and create a society based on equality, the Constitution makers of India have incorporated various provisions in the Indian Constitution. Article 15 is one such legislation.

Article 15 of the Indian Constitution

The Concept of Article 15

The concept and purpose of this Article is to prevent the government from making discrimination on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, or birth place. One of the clauses clearly states that no citizen shall be subject to “any disability, liability, restriction or condition” on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, and place of birth. Their access to public properties like shops, restaurants and entertainment hubs should not be restricted on grounds of religion or caste. The Article also guarantees special provisions for women, children and socially disadvantaged classes.

Benefits of Article 15

The clause (3) of the Article empowers the government to make special laws/ provisions for women and children.  It is considered one of the earliest legislations that emphasised on gender equality and women empowerment.

In Article 15 (4) and (5), the Constitution gives government the power to make special provisions “for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens.” This holds true for the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes as well. Such ‘protective discrimination’ is a step taken to eliminate inequalities existing in society. Moreover, the reservation of OBCs under Article 15 was aimed at providing equal opportunities in education and raising social and economic levels of those who are lagging behind.

Amendments to Article 15

This anti-discrimination law made its first exception by including a Clause (4) during the 1st amendment in 1951. With this amendment, the article made way for reservation for SCs and STs and other backward classes to benefit them academically, socially and economically.

It’s important to note that Clause (5) of Article 15 was originally not a part of the Constitution. It was introduced during the Ninety-Third Amendment Act in 2005. There was widespread protest over the central government’s decision to include this clause.  Even stronger opposition came from the non-OBC students, which led to the emergence of several writ petitions challenging the Amendment.

Criticism of Article 15

The clauses (4) and (5) of Article 15 have often being criticised as a “part of the vote catching mechanism”. These provisions were challenged by the petitioners, who were of the opinion that the reservation policy clearly intended in these provisions was a “measure of reparation.” The clause was also challenged on the ground that identification of OBC was made only on the basis of caste and hence it’s “unreasonable”.

WBSG21.11.2014

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