Question: Discuss the terms “Equality before the law” and “Equal Protection of laws” as provided in the Constitution of India. State the exceptions to it also? [MPJS 2016] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Discuss the terms “Equality before the law” and “Equal Protection of laws” as provided in the Constitution of India.… Read More »

Question: Discuss the terms “Equality before the law” and “Equal Protection of laws” as provided in the Constitution of India. State the exceptions to it also? [MPJS 2016] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Discuss the terms “Equality before the law” and “Equal Protection of laws” as provided in the Constitution of India. State the exceptions to it also? Answer: Article 14 of the Constitution reads as the state shall not deny to any person...

Question: Discuss the terms “Equality before the law” and “Equal Protection of laws” as provided in the Constitution of India. State the exceptions to it also? [MPJS 2016]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Discuss the terms “Equality before the law” and “Equal Protection of laws” as provided in the Constitution of India. State the exceptions to it also?

Answer:

Article 14 of the Constitution reads as the state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. This answer has two limbs –

  1. equality before the law
  2. equal protection of the law.

The first limb i.e. ‘equality before the law’ is of English origin and it is a negative concept which implies the absence of any special privilege in favour of any individual and the equal subjection of all classes to law. In State of West Bengal v. Anwar Ali Sarkar (AIR 1952 SC 750) it was held that Article 14 is designed to prevent any person or class of persons from being singled out as a special subject for discriminatory and hostile legislation.

The provision enunciated the quality principle in the administration of justice. In its application to legal proceedings, the article assures everyone the same rules of evidence and mode of procedures in similar circumstances. This principle, however, does not mean that every law must have universal application for all persons who are not by nature, attainment, or circumstance, in the same position.

The second limb provides ‘equal protection of law’ which is a positive concept and implies that the equals should be treated equally. By virtue of this limb, Article 14 doesn’t permit the unequal to be treated alike. Therefore, all that Article 14 guarantees is the similarity of treatment and not identical treatment. But there are certain exceptions to the equality clause, which are to be found in the Constitutional itself. They are:

  1. Under Articles 105 and 194, the Members of the Parliament and the State Legislatures respectively are not held liable for anything which they say within the House.
  2. Under Article 359 when there is a proclamation of Emergency, the operation of Fundamental Rights including Article 14 can be suspended and if any violation of this right is done during such proclamation, it cannot be challenged in the Courts after the proclamation ends.
  3. Under Article 361 the President and the Governors are not liable to any court for any act which is done by them in exercising their power and duties of the office.
  4. The United Nations and its agencies are entitled to diplomatic immunity.
  5. Rulers of foreign countries, their ambassadors, etc. enjoy immunity from criminal and civil proceedings.

The Karnataka High Court in K. Veeresh Babu v. UOI (W.P. No. 17519/89), the case held that a provision exempting Sikhs from compulsorily wearing a Helmet, when riding a motorcycle, is not violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. Thus, Article 14 prohibits class legislation and not a classification for the purpose of the legislation.


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-I
  2. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-I
  3. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-II
  4. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-IV
  5. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-V
  6. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-VI
  7. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-VII
  8. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-VIII
  9. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-IX
  10. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-X
Updated On 2021-05-23T04:11:03+05:30
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