Prohibition of Discrimination

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It is a Fundamental Right.

Article 15 – 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.

Exceptions:

There are three exceptions to this general rule of non-discrimination:

1. The state is permitted to make any special provision for women and children. For example, reservation of seats for women in local bodies or provision of free education for children.

2. The state is permitted to make any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. For example, reservation of seats or fee concessions in public educational institutions.

3. The state is empowered to make any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the scheduled castes or the scheduled tribes regarding their admission to educational institutions including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the state, except the minority educational institutions.

[The last provision was added by the 93rd Amendment Act of 2005. In order to give effect to this provision, the Centre enacted the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006, providing a quota of 27% for candidates belonging to the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in all central higher educational institutions including the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).

In April 2008, the Supreme Court upheld the validity of both, the Amendment Act and the OBC Quota Act. But, the Court directed the central government to exclude the ‘creamy layer’ (advanced sections) among the OBCs while implementing the law.]

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