Article 15 Of Indian Constitution

Article 15 of Indian Constitution

Article 15 of Indian Constitution: Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth

Article 15 of Indian Constitution prohibits discrimination by the state against any citizen on grounds such as religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. It is a fundamental right designed to promote equality among all citizens, ensuring that everyone has equal access to public places and opportunities without any discrimination. This article is crucial for upholding social equality and justice in India.

Original Text of Article 15 of Indian Constitution:

(1) The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.

(2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to—

  • access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment; or
  • the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of the general public.

(3) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children.

(4) Nothing in this article or in clause (2) of article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

(5) Nothing in this article or in sub-clause (g) of clause (1) of article 19 shall prevent the State from making any special provision, by law, for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes in so far as such special provisions relate to their admission to educational institutions including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the State, other than the minority educational institutions referred to in clause (1) of article 30.]

(6) Nothing in this article or sub-clause (g) of clause (1) of article 19 or clause (2) of article 29 shall prevent the State from making,—

  • any special provision for the advancement of any economically weaker sections of citizens other than the classes mentioned in clauses (4) and (5); and
  • any special provision for the advancement of any economically weaker sections of citizens other than the classes mentioned in clauses (4) and (5) in so far as such special provisions Relate to their admission to educational institutions including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the State, other than the minority educational institutions referred to in clause (1) of article 30, which in the case of reservation would be in addition to the existing reservations and subject to a maximum of ten per cent. of the total seats in each category.

List of amendments in Article 15 of Indian Constitution:

Amendments Description
1st Amendment Act, 1951 Through this amendment, clause (4) was added to Article 15, empowering the State to make special provisions for backward communities and castes.
93rd Amendment Act, 2005 The amendment introduced clause (5) of Article 15. This clause stipulates that the state is not prohibited from making special provisions concerning the admission of the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes into private institutions.
103rd Amendment, 2019 The amendment added clause (6) of Article 15, which allows the government to reserve up to 10% of all government appointments for the Economically weaker sections (EWS).

Article 15 of Indian Constitution Explanation:

Article 15 – Prohibition of Discrimination

It is available only to the citizens of India.

Article 15(1) prohibits the State from discriminating based only on religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.

Thus, it “prohibits class legislation”. The clause “based only on” means that the State cannot legislate solely to discriminate against or in favour of a class (i.e. particular religion, race, caste, sex, etc.).

But then, how can the State provide protection and schemes for particular classes?

The answer is that the Constitution allows discrimination if it is based on additional criteria other than the above-mentioned criteria.

This is known as “Classification for the purpose of Legislation”, which our Constitution allows.

Article 15(2) Prohibits discrimination or restriction in terms of access to shops, hotels, public restaurants, places of public entertainment, or the use of tanks, wells, roads, and other public places maintained wholly or partially out of the State Funds or dedicated to the use of the general public.

However, there are three exceptions to this general rule of non-discrimination:

Article 15(3): The State can make special provisions for women and children. For example, the reservation of seats in local bodies for women or the provision of free education for children (Article 21A).

Article 15(4): The State can make special provisions for socially/educationally backward classes, including the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Article 15(5): The State can make special provisions for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes (SEBCs) regarding their admission to educational institutions, including private institutions, whether unaided or aided by the State, except the minority educational institutions. This provision was added by the 93rd Amendment Act 2005.

The Parliament enacted the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006, to bring this provision into effect.

It provided a 27% quota for candidates for people of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in all central higher educational institutions.

In 2008, the Supreme Court upheld the validity of this act but directed the Central Government to leave out the “creamy layer” among the OBCs while implementing the law.

Creamy layer
Creamy layer is a term used for the educationally and economically forward members of the OBCs who are not eligible for government-sponsored professional and educational benefits.

Article 15(6) allows the government to reserve up to 10% of all government appointments for the Economically weaker sections (EWS).

For Further Reference:

Other Related Links:

Indian Constitution: All Articles and schedules Article 1 of Indian Constitution
Article 2 of Indian Constitution Article 3 of Indian Constitution
Article 4 of indian Constitution Article 5 of Indian Constitution
Fundamental Rights DPSP
Fundamental Duties Amendments of the Indian Constitution
Article 14 of Indian Constitution Article 16 of Indian Constitution

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