What is ARTICLE-15? Our great constitution guarantees equal rights to all Indian citizens and prohibits discrimination on grounds of caste, sex, race, religion, or place of birth.
Equality means the absence of special privileges to any section of society except the extra care and protection given by the constitution to any section.
Equality rights are placed under Part – III (Fundamental rights) of the constitution and should be read with Articles 14, 15, 16, 17 and Article 18 of the Constitution of India.
It has been said to give the fundamental right of equality to all the citizens of the country.
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In the Indian Constitution, fundamental rights have been given to all citizens without any discrimination.
The purpose of these rights is that every citizen can live his life with dignity so that no one should be discriminated against on any basis.
Reference to Article 15
Thousands of films related to Article 15 are produced every year in the country. Some of them become the subject of discussion and controversy subsequently time to time.
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In this episode, the recently released film ‘Article-15‘ directed by Anubhav Sinha and Ginggar Shankar remains in constant discussion.
The film has been released on June 28 and after the release, many people have objections about its content.
Article 15 (According to Report)
The film is a story of a village in UP. Its title has been taken from Article 15 of the Constitution.
What is Article-15
let’s try to understand it in easy language…
Mainly Five key points of Article 15
What does article 15(1) say?
Fundamental rights have been given to all citizens in the Indian Constitution without any discrimination.
The purpose of these rights is that every citizen can live his life with dignity and no one should be discriminated against on any basis.
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According to Article 15(1), the state cannot discriminate against any citizen on the basis of caste, religion, sex, place of birth and race. While saying about it, it should be highlighted that Article – 15 guarantees equality rights to Indian Citizens only and it is not applicable to Foreign Citizens.
What does article 15(2) say?
According to the second clause of Article 15, any Indian citizen shall, on the basis of caste, religion, sex, place of birth and race, enter shops, hotels, public eateries, public entertainment places, wells, bathing ghats, ponds, roads, and public resorts and he cannot be prevented from entering.
What does article 15(3) say?
Although all citizens of the country are equal, they cannot be distinct against but women and children can be seen as an exception in this clause.
According to rule (3) of Article 15, The state can make special provisions for women and children. Like women’s reservation or free education for children under the Right to Education Act, 2009.
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Under Article 45 in Part IV of the constitution, Directive Principles of State Policy also contains Free and Compulsory education to children.
But DPSPs are not enforceable or Judiable. Thereafter, various observations of the Supreme Court of India, a New Article – 21 (A) was inserted in the 86th amendment of the Constitution in the year of 2002 making provision for the Right to Education for Children as a constitutional right. Read more about it here – Right to Education Act, 2009
What does article 15(4) say?
Clause (4) of Article 15 states that – the state has the power to make special provisions for the socially and educationally backward classes for example – SC, ST, OBC. Such as reservation of seats or exemption in fees etc.
It is our responsibility to make it clear that – Reservation is not discrimination against the upper-caste rather it means the promotion of special care, in educational and economic interests, to the weaker section of the people as mentioned under article 46 of the Constitution of India.
Reservation provides a level playing field to the backward classes. It is intended to protect the weaker sections from any social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
What does article 15 (5) say?
According to rule (5) supporting rule (4) of Article 15, no rule of article 15 can prevent the state from making special provisions for socially and educationally backward citizens.
In the 103rd Constitutional amendment Act, 2020, a new clause (6) has been added in Article-15, according to which, the State shall also pay attention and make provisions to the economically weaker section from time to time. The 10% reservation given to economically weaker sections in upper caste comes under clause 6 of Article 15.
Why is there controversy?
The film Article-15 is based on the high-low and caste discrimination existing in Indian society and this is the reason that some organizations of a particular class are opposing it.
Even today, incidents of caste discrimination come to the fore and to deal with this, citizens have got Article-15 i.e. such a fundamental right under which any Indian citizen on the basis of his religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth cannot be discriminated.
However, unfortunately despite certain constitutional provisions and Laws like – The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 there is still the practice of discrimination prevalent in Indian society.
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It is the responsibility of the government and society to not allow any such discrimination. Even today Article-15 is violated the most in the name of caste and religion.
People living in metros and big cities feel that discrimination in the name of caste and religion is almost over now, but the truth is that such discrimination still happens in many parts of the country, especially in rural areas.
The perceptions prevailing in society for centuries about caste and religion are still present today.
Related Laws to promote the principles of Article 15
The Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955
Through this law, there is a provision to punish those who practice untouchability in any form. The Untouchability (Offences) Act, of 1955 was out in the year 1955.
This Act came into effect from June 1, 1955, but on the basis of the recommendations of the Ilayaperumal Committee constituted in April 1965, extensive amendments were made to it in 1976 and its name was changed to the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955.
This amended Act came into force with effect on 19th November 1976 and is in conformity with the provisions of Article 17 of the Indian Constitution relating to the abolition of untouchability.
The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
It seeks, inter alia, to prevent crimes against people belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
There is an Act to provide for the establishment of special courts for the prosecution of such offenses and for the grant of relief and rehabilitation of the victims of such offences.
In order to make this law more effective, amendments were made in it in the year 2015 and it came into force from January 26, 2016.
Hindu Succession Act, 1956
This act has been told that when a Hindu person dies without making a will, his property will be legally divided among his heirs, family members or relatives.
In the Act, the heirs of the deceased have been divided into different categories and the share they will get in the property of the deceased has also been told.
So, This law applies to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs by birth or any person who has adopted any of these religions.
In the year 2005, this law was amended and daughters were also given equal rights in the matter of property.
The Supreme Court also clarified that under the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, as on 9 September 2005, the surviving daughters of the surviving doers are entitled to share in the property.
It does not matter when such daughters were born. This law also prohibits Gender inequality in the Country.
Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
This act saves the employment of a lady at the time of childbirth and entitles her to maternity benefit
i.e. the facility to be absent from work with full payment for the care of her child.
then, this Act applies to all initiation employing 10 or more persons. In the year 2017, amendments were made to this act.
Under this, the facility of maternity benefit for two children to working women has been increased from 12 weeks to 26 weeks and for more than two children to 12 weeks.
The ‘Commissioning Mother’ and ‘Adopting Mother’ will get 12 weeks of maternity benefit and have been given the facility to work from home.
Along with this, mandatory provision of creche has been made in establishments having 50 or more employees.
Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013
Prevention of Sexual Harassment of Women enacted in the Guarantee of Gender Equality under Articles 14, Article-15 and 21 of the Constitution. (Protection from harassment and the right to live with dignity)
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013 has ensured the constitutional right of a citizen to pursue any occupation or work in an equal, safe, and secure environment.
After its implementation, There has been a far-reaching positive impact on the participation of women in various works.
So, women can be financially empowered.
law is in tune with the times and it provides appropriate help in dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace.
In the year 1997, the Supreme Court felt the lack of such a law while giving its judgment in the historic Vishakha vs Government of Rajasthan case.
Some other laws are enforced in the Country to ensure the special care of women in India, for example – the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, the Anti Dowry Act or Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, etc.
Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016
In this Act, comprehensive provisions have been made to protect the rights and special rights of persons with disabilities.
These provisions include increasing reservation in services and including additional 14 categories of disabilities under the Act.
These 14 categories also include acid attack victims, thalassemia, hemophilia, stunted growth, learning disabilities, and Parkinson’s disease.
Then, the new provisions and categories of disability have been set in line with the recommendations of the United Nations Convention of 2007.
India has already signed these recommendations.
The Mental Health Care Act, 2017
This act seeks to change the way mental health is treated and ensure that our legislation conforms to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
So, the Act is very comprehensive and aims to provide mental health care and services to the mentally ill.
Also, its objectives include protecting and promoting the rights of such people while providing care and facilities.
Consequently, Under this, provisions are made for the rights of mental patients, advance directives, central and state mental health authorities, mental health establishments, mental health review commissions and boards, segregating suicide from the category of crime and prohibiting the treatment of electric shock.
Of course, Article 15 gives equal rights to all citizens, but even today there is widespread caste discrimination in the country, especially in rural areas.
Societies standing at the lower rungs of the caste, particularly the people of the Dalit community, are treated extremely degradingly.
Meanwhile, the share of Dalits in India’s population is about 16%, and the almost three thousand years old caste system is one of the biggest evils of Indian society.
The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007
The Indian Laws also recognized certain laws and provisions to prevent any form of injustice or inequality against senior citizens. Nowadays, families become increasingly nuclear, and the gradual breakdown of the joint family system in society has resulted in the rise of crimes against Senior Citizens, As per NCRB 2018 data, such crimes increased by 13.7% from 2016 to 2018.
The majority of old people have no certain income, and they need special care and support mentally and physically all rising extra pressure on the children. The children start ignoring their parents’ constitutional rights guaranteed under articles 15, and 21. Reaching to a certain age the feeling of isolation and insecurity comes to mind.
So it is a collective responsibility of the government, people, and society to provide economic and social security along with healthcare and protection of life and property to the aged people.