What is the Right to Equality ?

The Right to Equality means treating everyone equally before the law, preventing discrimination for a variety of reasons, and treating everyone equally in public service. That is principal of Equality is not treat everyone in every way, It means treating all people equally in the same situation, that is not to discriminate between two equal people. The right to equality can be recognized as a fundamental element of International human rights law. Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that all are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. That is, it states that everyone should be treated equally, regardless of race, gender, colour, ethnicity, religion, or any other characteristic, regardless of privilege or discrimination.

India's right to equality and its spread.

This right to equality can be identified as one of the fundamental rights enshrined in the

Constitution of India. Articles 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution of India are mainly related to this.

Article 14 states that the Government shall not deny equality to any person before the law on the grounds of religion, race, caste, gender or place of birth or equal protection of the law in the territory of India. Article 14 states that the benefits are not limited to individuals but are available to legal entities and foreigners. That is stated of Indira Sawhney vs Union of India ors 13 Dec 1999In this case, Prasad vs state of Bihar AIR 1978SG recognizes that justice must be done equally, with the concepts of equality before the law and equal protection of the law.In the case of E. P. Royappa vs State of Tamilnadu & Anr on 1973, equality is a dynamic concept that can be interpreted in many different ways, conventional and principled, which cannot be confined within limits, and equality contradicts arbitrariness. Further, the ST.Stemphen's collage vs University of Dilhi (1992) case can be identified as a judgment recognizable under Article fourteen. The court ruled that the minorities were constitutionally guaranteed to establish and administer the educational institutions of their choice and that Article 14 did not violate equality before the law. It can also be noted that Article 14 prohibits any reasonable classification.

Article 15 of the Constitution of India, which addresses the right to equality, states that the Government shall not discriminate against any citizen on the basis of race, creed, sex or place of birth. This discrimination means distinguishing or discriminating against those who are not advantageous to others. Three exceptions to this general rule of discrimination can be identified: It is outlined in sub-clauses 3, 4, 5 of section fifteen.The government is allowed to make special provisions for women and children under section 15 (3). For example, providing free education to children and providing political opportunities for women. According to Article 497 of the Indian Penal Code, it is considered an offense when the audit is conducted by men. It is not considered a crime if it is done by women. It is clear from Article 15 (3) of the Constitution that it makes special provisions for women and that it is valid. Article 15 (4) states that the government is free to make special provisions for socially and economically backward persons, for example, to provide concessionary fees and opportunities for public education.15 (5) states that the Government may make special provisions for the betterment of the socially and economically backward sections of society, or for the work of the Supreme Court and for STDs. Nainsukhdas vs state of Uttar Pradesh In this case, the Supreme Court of India ruled that various Electoral Boards should be set up for different religions that have been declared unconstitutional. That is, the government will not make any changes to its citizens under this clause.

Article 15 (2) states that citizens or non-citizens should not be discriminated against on the basis of caste, religion, gender, place of birth or ethnicity, but should have access to public toilets, wells, water tanks, etc. In the Champakam Dorai Ranjan vs State of Madras air 1951(2) case, several seats were reserved for the backward classes of the society, but the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. Subsequently, the First Amendment to the Constitution states that the government can make any reservation for the educationally and socially backward sections and that it is not a violation of Article 15.

Article 16 (1) states that citizens should have equal access to employment or appointments in any office under the Government. Providing equality applies only to jobs or offices held by the government. The government is still free to provide the necessary qualifications to recruit employees for government services. The government can select and select applicants for employment purposes as long as they are given an equal opportunity to apply for government service. 16 2 states that citizens should not be discriminated against in the employment or appointment to any office under the Government. Also, Articles 17,18 of the Constitution of India protect equality. Thus, it is clear that the right to equality is protected.

The right to equality in the Sri Lanka and other countries

The 1978 Constitution of Sri Lanka affirms the right to equality in Article 12 (1). That is, it forbids discrimination on the basis of race, religion, language, caste, gender, etc. Also, Article 12 4 does not preclude the provision of special provisions in law for the betterment of women, children or persons with disabilities. It can be considered as a logical classification allowed under the concept of equality.

Senevirathne vs UGC In the judgment, the issue of admission to the state university system was discussed and it was stated that Article 12 violated the Constitution and that all should be treated equally.

Further, Vishal Bashitha Kavirathna vs Commissioner General of Examination case it was questioned whether there was any injustice based on the formula used in calculating the z score of the students who sat for the GCE Advanced Level Examination in 2011. Judger Shirani Bandaranayake stated that although the right to education is not recognized under our Constitution, the Court has recognized the right to education under Article 12 1 under the law and equality before the law.

Ramupillai vs Minister of public Administration , Provincial councils and Home affairs and others stated in the judgment that all should have equality for the betterment of their profession in the public service irrespective of caste, creed or creed and under Article 12.

Palihawadana vs Attorney General and two others stated that

Though Article 12 prescribes equality before the law and equal protection of the law, it has to be recognized that equality in any literal or abstract sense is not attainable.

Even in the case of Tharanga Lakmali vs Niroshan Abeykoon , the right to equality has been recognized. The wife of the deceased has filed a case under Article 12 (1), 13(1) , 13 (4) of the Constitution in connection with the shooting death of a man arrested by the police as a coincidence in this case. Here the right to equality is recognized. Ajith pereraa vs dayagamage case, What is being questioned is that Article 12 of the Constitution has been violated mainly due to the failure of the relevant Minister of Government to provide facilities for the disabled to access the buildings. There, too, the right to equality was affirmed.

Rejecting U.S. slavery and racial segregation, the Fourteenth Amendment introduced for the first time the Constitution the ideal of equality and promised equal protection from the law. The new constitution provided for the protection of rights throughout the country and the assertion of equality as a constitutional value.In Grutter vs Bollinger , the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that competition could be used as one of several factors in enrolling vocational schools in schools without violating Article 14 of the Constitution.

Article 9 ( 2) of the South African Constitution affirms the right to equality and refuses to discriminate unjustly.


From the above note it can be seen that the right to equality is enshrined in the constitution itself in countries such as India, Sri Lanka, South Africa and United States. The study of jurisprudence shows that the right to equality is more widespread than in the past. But it should be noted how practicable written law is in the sociological law school, even if it is statutory.

In the present the scale and severity of the COVID19 pandemic clearly rises to the level of a public health threat that could justify restrictions on certain rights, such as those that result from the imposition of quarantine or isolation limiting freedom of movement. At the same time, careful attention to human rights such as non- discrimination and human rights principals such as transparency and respect for human dignity can foster an affective response amidst the turmoil and disruption that inevitably results in times of crisis and limit the harms that can come from the imposition of overly board measures that do not meet the above criteria.

Authored by

B.N.S. Basnayaka

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