Article 14 (Right to equality)

Article 14 (Right to equality)

Rule of law – A.V. Dicey in his book ‘The Constitution of England ‘ developed the rule of law concept. According to the rule of law whether it is common citizen or prime minister or clerk or constable while any of them are doing act which is not justified then law put same responsibility on all and similar to all people

According to the rule of law there is now supremacy of particular person or particular government and only there is supremacy of law

Rule of law is mainly seen at two place in the Indian constitution first in preamble (equality of status and opportunity) and second in Article 14 of the constitution 

Article 14 of the Indian constitution is fundamental right which talks about equality. 

Article 14 contain two essential elements

  1. Equality Before Law 
  2. Equal Protection of Law 

Equality before law 

Equality before law is given in article 14 (1) of the Indian constitution. It is negative approach and prohibit unequal treatment. It is given in English law and based on concept of rule of law. In Article 14(1) we should not afford unequal treatment. Equality before law  is used in the generic sense, everyone is equal in the eyes of law and it is used generally as standard norm 


Lady Justice is blinded folded it means for every one law is equal 

While giving judgment there is no weightage of particular person rank and position all are equal in the eyes of law.

Equal protection of law

It is given in article 14(2) of the constitution. Equal protection of law is originated from the US constitution and we should demand law which afford equal treatment in equal protection of law. It is not essential that every law is applied in same way on every person. It say if two people are not equal and not in equal situation then application on both the people should be different. It is positive concept. Women protection law and some special law are example of Article14(2).

For public welfare  classification must be there. There are factors existing in our country and law. For recognization it is essential if we classify then only better law can be made.

For better public welfare classification and differentiation is essential. There are two test Intelligible differentia and Rational nexus 

Intelligible Differentia 

If two social group are treated different way in the society then there must be reason that why there in two group and the basis of difference among two social group. There has to be intelligent reason for the basis of differentiation among two social group  

Rational Nexus

There should be rational nexus between the purpose of differentia and the desired result wants to be achieved.

Doctrine of intelligible differentia and rational nexus are two old doctrine and in 1970 the Supreme Court says two doctrine are negative as well as retrospective.

EP Royappa VS state of Tamil Nadu 1974

The Supreme Court gave new dimension to the concept of an equality which is different from the old doctrine of equality.

The Supreme Court had held that equality is dynamic concept, according to need of society people needs are also changed. If any act pass the test of rational nexus and intelligible differentia then we cannot says that it can also pass the test of equality so that is why equality concept is dynamic and activist in nature. Article 14 not include the concept of rule of  law but it also include the principle of natural justice. This case expanded the scope of article 14.

Maneka Gandhi VS Union of India 1981

In this the court held that the main purpose of article 14 is to strike out arbitrariness from the action of state so the action of state should not be arbitrary. By this article 14 ensure fairness and equality. If any action of state is arbitrary then it is against article 14. 

It is not essential that action should qualify the test of intelligible differentia and classification if the action of state is arbitrary then it is against article 14.

New doctrine of equality include reasonableness as well as doctrine of intelligible differentia and classification. It target arbitrariness and support reasonableness. Both equality and arbitrariness are sworn enemies.

Exception of article 14

President\Governor is not answerable to any court for the exercise and performance of his duties and power. No criminal proceeding shall be instituted against president and governor during the term of their office. President and Governor should not be arrested during the term of his office. No civil proceeding shall be instituted against president and governor during the term of office. Civil proceeding can be instituted against governor/ president if notice is given to president/governor before two month filing of civil proceeding against governor/president.

No proceeding can be instituted against MP/MLA of whatever thing they or vote given in Parliament due to parliamentary privilege.

Court and Parliament cannot take any action against any person who is doing true news reporting/ publication if the person has the authority of court and both the houses of Parliament.

Foreign sovereign, ambassador and Diplomats enjoy immunity from civil and criminal proceeding.

United Nation Organization and its agencies enjoy the diplomatic immunity.

Applicability of Article 14 

Article 14 is applied on people who are living in the territory of India so that is why it includes citizen as well as alien


Air India VS Nargesh Meerza 1981

In this the court held that terminating the service of an air hostess on the ground of pregnancy is violation of article 14.

Randhir Singh VS Union of India 1982 

Equal pay for equal work is not a fundamental right but it is constitutional goal under article 14, 16 & article 39 (c) of the constitution.

National legal services authority VS Union of India 2014 

 Article 14 does not restrict the word person only to male and female it also include the Transgender in the definition of word person


Article 14 is one of the most important fundamental right  in India for bringing an equality among the who were facing discrimination in the country.  Unlike England and United state of America where concept of a equality is narrow concept but it is broader concept in India it includes equality before law as well as equal protection of law.  

Author:  Vaibhav Narayan Yadav

BA LLB 3rd year, GGSIPU

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