RIGHT TO EQUALITY – CAN THERE BE EQUALITY IN ILEGALITY? – Navnee Gulati

 

INTRODUCTION

 

The evolution of Fundamental Rights, incorporated in Part III of the constitution marked the beginning of equality and liberty rights in India’s democratic existence. Though from ancient times all the teachings of saints have always imparted equality in every dharma. By the emergence of Article 14 India has came forward a long way to ensure justice, safety and security to every citizen of the country.

Article 14 has derived its essence from the preamble of Indian constitution which states about equality of status and equal opportunity for all.

 

Article 14 of the constitution states that:

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 means that every person, who lives within territory of India, has the equal right before the law. That equals will be treated equally.

This article constitutes of 2 parts, being:

  1. Equality before law and
  2. Equal protection of the laws.

 

EQUALITY BEFORE LAW AND EQUAL PROTECTION OF LAW

 

Equality before law emphasis that each individual is equal before the eyes of law and everyone must be treated equally without consider the factor weather male or female, upper caste or lower caste. Before the eyes of law everybody is equal and state cannot provide any special privilidges to any individual legally. India is the largest democratic country of the world and the democratic principles of the state provides independence of equality to every individual.

Although this right is not an absolute right and has some exceptions. The law guarantees that equals should be treated equally but at the same time it has given certain privlidges by granting certain immunities to President, Governor and certain other government officials. Reservation can also be seen as a restriction in equality to all. Therefore, the concept of equality prevails according to the needs of society.

 

The term equal protection of law has been originated from the US Constitution’s 14th amendment. The literal meaning of this principle is that every citizen of the country shall be treated equall and have access to equal protection of law which means the state has the obligation to prevent the misuse and violation of law. It is known as a positive law for the prevention of violation. Equal protection of law can be enforced by  socio -economic reforms such as introducing policies and enactments.

 

EQUALITY IN ILLEGALITY?

 

For the welfare of country it is believed that a person who is wrong in the eyes of law and is a wrongdoer cannot be treated equally. A person charged with illegal commission of acts cannot seek the right to be treated equally. No court has the power to treat the person who violates law equally. It is for safeguarding the interest of all citizens and providing equality to the equals. The person who is involved in violation of law cannot be treated as equals.

In the landmark case of Baliram Prasad Singh V. State of Bihar, Patna High Court stated that state cannot grant equality for illegal acts to the petitioner who was himself at fault and as a result of which the petitioner was made to compensate for his illegal act.

 

SHORTCOMINGS OF THE LAW AND THE WAY FORWARD

 

The concept of equality prevails on the principal that equals shall be treated equally but in reality this notion can be unfavorable for a large section of society. The test of reasonable classification has created a lot of arbitrariness and confusion. Therefore, the best approach in this situation can be to have a smooth transition, the fluidity would be beneficial for both, the state and the judiciary to create a balance between a rational and reasonable approach which would enhance the true essence of Article 14.

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

The famous leaders of our country like Mahatma Gandhi, BR Ambedkar dreamt of country where no one would be deprived of equality and every person to live life with equality in all aspects and parameters of life.

The fundamental rights of our country aims to keep every citizen together and ensures equality but in reality equality proves to be a paradox at certain times.

 

Therefore, the judiciary along with organs of state shall work very each day to provide every citizen equality and work towards protection of laws of everybody.

 

 

 

 

 

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