What you need to know about Article 15 of the Indian Constitution

India is a secular, democratic and republic nation that has created all the necessary provisions to safeguard the interests of all the segments of the country’s population. Here we look in detail what Article 15 of the Indian constitution says.

Where do we find article 15?

Article 15 occurs in the Constitution of India under Part III that deals with the fundamental rights of the citizens of India. Further Articles 12 through 18 fully deal with the various issues related to ‘Right to equality’.

What are fundamental rights?

Fundamental rights can be described as the basic or civil liberties that the Indian citizens are entitled to enjoy by virtue of living in the country. In Part III covering articles 12 to 35, all the articles are dedicated to protecting the individual rights that are in fact common to most democracies in the world like equality before the law, freedom of speech and expression, religious and cultural freedom, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom to practice any religion, and the right to seek constitutional remedies related to the protection of civil rights through writs like habeas corpus, Mandamus, Prohibition, Certiorari and Quo Warranto.

The scope of fundamental rights

Fundamental rights are applicable to all the citizens of the country universally irrespective of race, place of birth, caste, gender, or religion. In case a citizen of India comes across the case of violation or fundamental rights, he or she can approach the Supreme Court of India for ultimate justice. The fundamental rights mentioned in the Indian constitution have their origin from different sources like England's Bill of Rights, the United States Bill of Rights and France's Declaration of the Rights of Man.

Article 15 (1) and (2)

Article 15 (1) and (2) proscribe the nation from discriminating any citizen on the basis of any one or many of the aspects such as religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth and others. These articles make room that there will not be any restriction whatsoever to any person on the above grounds in order to access and make use of the public facilities and amenities like shops, hotels, restaurants, places of entertainment, and others. No person in India can be denied the use of tanks, wells, bathing ghats, roads and sites of public resort that are created and managed fully or in part from the state funds or have been dedicated for the use of the general public.

Article 15(3)

Starting from article 15(3), the constitution of India attempts to deal with protective discrimination. For instance, Article 15(3) makes it possible for the state to create special provisions for protecting the interests of women and children.

Article 15(4)

Article 15(4) capacitates the state to create special arrangements for promoting the interests and welfare of socially and educationally backward classes of the society such as SC and STs.

Article 15(5)

Article 15(5) moves a step ahead and empowers the country to make reservations with regard to admissions into educational institutions both privately run and those that are aided or not aided by the government. From this rule only the minority run institutions such as the Madarsas are exempted.

Therefore, we can say that the articles 15(3) and 15(4) are the foundation stones for making reservations in the country.
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