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Home > Know Your Rights > Right to Equality
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Q1.  What is Right to Equality?

A1.  Right to Equality is a Fundamental Right guaranteed to all citizens of India by the Constitution of India.  It gives all Indians the right to be treated equally in the eyes of law.


Q2.  I am a poor person, then how can I be equal to a rich man?

A2.  Right to equality doesn’t mean equality in terms of money, but it means that all people of India, rich or poor; man or woman; hindu or muslim; brahmin or shudra; will be treated equally by law in similar circumstances. The law of the country remains the same for everybody. So if a rich person commits a crime, he will be punished in a similar manner in which a poor person who commits a crime will be punished.


Q3.  What kinds of equality are provided under this right?

A3.  Right to equality encompasses within itself many rights. It guarantees all citizens of India:


1.  Equality before law.

2.  Protection from discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

3.  Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment.

4.  Protection against the practice of untouchability.

5.  Abolition of titles.


Q4.  What is equality before law?

A4.  Equality before law means that all citizens of India are equal in the eyes of law. The State cannot discriminate against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth etc. It means that all people of India are to be treated equally in equal circumstances. No one is above law.


Q5.  How can this right give protection against discrimination?

A5.  Right to equality seeks to give protection against discrimination on grounds of race, religion, caste, sex or place of birth. It means that no citizen of India can, 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 access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment; or 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. All citizens of India are equally entitled to use all the public spaces meant for them.


Q6.  How do I get equality in employment opportunities? I am not well qualified?

A6.  You will get equality in seeking public employment with respect to your qualification. If you fulfill the eligibility criteria for a particular job, then you are entitled to apply for it. No citizen can, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them, be ineligible for, or discriminated against in respect of, any employment or office under the State.


Q7.  Even if equal rights are given to all, then also all are not equal in terms of their capabilities. How can their rights be safeguarded?

A7.  Constitution of India lays down certain exceptions to the Right to equality. It empowers the legislature to make any special provision for women and children and other weaker sections of the society to safeguard their interests and to bring them at par with others.


Q8.  If all are equal in terms of employment opportunities, then why are reservations given to certain classes of people?

A8.  The main purpose of Right to equality is to bring all citizens at par with each other. It seeks to emancipate the condition of socially and economically weaker classes by empowering legislature to make special provisions like reservation in jobs and educations institutions for them.  Scheduled Castes,  Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes which, in the opinion of the State, are not adequately represented in the services under the State are entitled to reservation for bringing about equality.


Q9.  What protection is provided by the right to equality against the practice of untouchability?

A9.  The Constitution of India abolished the practice of untouchability. Practice of untouchability has been declared an offense and anyone doing so is punishable by law. Any person who prevents anyone from entering a place of worship or taking water from a well is punishable under the Untouchability Offences Act of 1955 (renamed as Protection of Civil Rights Act in 1976) with a maximum imprisonment of 6 months and a fine of 500 rupees.


Q10.  What if somebody violates my right to equality?

A10.  If you are unlawfully restricted from enjoying your right to equality or you are discriminated, then you can directly approach the Supreme Court of India and pray for an appropriate writ. Any violation of any of your Fundamental right by any Government agency or any individual can be directly taken to the Supreme Court of India or High Court of the state in which you reside. You need to seek the help of a lawyer to approach the court. The court will also arrange for free legal aid if you are not in a position to afford the cost of trial. For any further information, you can visit the website of the Supreme Court of India (www.supremecourtofindia.nic.in)

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