What is Article 15 of the Indian Constitution?

Fundamental Rights are guaranteed to all persons by the constitution of India without any discrimination of caste, religion, sex etc.

These rights entitle an individual to live life with dignity. Fundamental Rights are meant for promoting the idea of democracy.

Originally the constitution provided 7 Fundamental Rights but as of now, there are just 6 Fundamental Rights in force. They are;

  1. Rights to equality (Article 14-18)
  2. Rights to freedom (Article 19-22)
  3. Right against exploitation (Article 23-24)
  4. Right to freedom of religion (Article 25-28)
  5. Cultural and educational rights (Article 29-30)
  6. Rights to constitutional remedies (Article 32)

Article 15 of Indian Constitution

Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

(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—

(a) access to shops, public restaurants, hotels, and places of public entertainment; or

(b) 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.

Features and Provisions of article 15

1. Article 15 states that the state shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of race, religion, caste, sex, and place of birth.
2. The world “discrimination” refers to an adverse distinction with regard to or to distinguish un-favorable from others while the term ‘only’ means that discrimination can be done on the basis of other grounds.
3. The second provision of the article 15 says that no citizen shall be subjected to any disability, liability, restriction or condition on grounds of any religion, caste, race, sex, place of birth with regard to;
i. Access to shops, public restaurants, hotels, and places of public entertainment.
ii. The use of wells, tanks, bathing Ghats, roads, and places of public resorts maintained wholly or partly by state funds or dedicated to the use of the general public. Worth mentioning that this provision prohibits discrimination by both state and private individuals while the former provision prohibits discrimination only by the state.
4. There are three exceptions to this general rule of non-discrimination;
a. The state is permitted to make any special provisions to women and children.
Example: Reservation of seats for women in the local bodies and provision of free education to children.
b. The state is free to make special arrangements for socially and economically backward peoples or for Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes. Example: reservation of seats or fee concession in the public educational institutes.
c. The state can make special provisions for the betterment of the socially and economically backward sections of the society or for the SCs and STs.
Example: Provisions regarding admission in the educational institutions in the private institutes, whether aided or unaided by the state.

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