Equality before the law, also known as legal equality or equality under the
law, is the fundamental principle that all individuals, regardless of their
race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or any other personal characteristic, are
entitled to be treated equally and fairly under the law. This means that no one
is above the law, and everyone has the right to equal protection and benefit of
the law without any discrimination.
One of the rights that Indian constitution provides to its citizens is:
"Prohibition of discrimination on the basis of race". Discrimination on the
basis of race refers to the unjust treatment of individuals or groups based on
their race or ethnicity.
It violates the principle of equality before the law and can have a detrimental
impact on individuals' mental and physical health, as well as their social and
economic well-being. It is important to combat racism and promote diversity and
inclusion in all areas of society.
Equality before the law is a fundamental principle that ensures that all
individuals are entitled to be treated equally and fairly under the law, without
discrimination. Discrimination on the basis of race is prohibited in many
countries and has become a norm of human rights. Exploitation of individuals and
communities by governments and individuals leads to violations of human rights,
including civil, political, economic, social, cultural, and collective rights.
Slavery, forced labor, and human trafficking are some of the most egregious
violations of human rights, stripping individuals of their dignity and freedoms.
Women and girls, in particular, are vulnerable to exploitation and face
significant challenges, including sexual violence, domestic violence,
malnutrition, lack of healthcare and education, and restricted maternal and
reproductive healthcare. It is essential to focus on decreasing exploitation to
give these individuals better access to developmental programs, education, and
Discrimination based on race or ethnicity is a pervasive problem in India that
has serious consequences for individuals and communities, leading to limited
opportunities, social exclusion, health disparities, violence and harassment,
psychological trauma, and lack of representation, and therefore, urgent steps
need to be taken to eradicate such discrimination and promote equality and
The Indian caste system, which is a hierarchical system of social stratification
based on birth, is one example of this kind of discrimination. People who are
born into lower castes or who belong to indigenous communities are often subject
to social and economic discrimination, as well as violence and other forms of
abuse. This discrimination can take many forms, including hate speech, physical
violence, and unequal treatment in employment, education, and other areas.
The Indian government has taken steps to address discrimination based on race or
ethnicity, including the establishment of laws and policies designed to promote
equality and protect the rights of marginalized communities. However,
discrimination based on race or ethnicity remains a significant problem in
India, and much work remains to be done to ensure that all people are treated
with dignity and respect, regardless of their background.
Racism is a reality and it is being perennially practiced and blatantly bloated
in all societies across the geo-political spectrum in World Wide Web of
equality, liberty and fraternity. Racism attacks all-encompassing normative
system and erodes all aspects of human values in life. Primarily, racism is the
most callous and conspicuous negation of human equality ordained by the
collective wisdom in divinities, spiritualities and mundanities.
However, the citadels of racism are still alive and kicking in every nook and
corner of the world and India is not an exception. Despite the fact, India has
been a victim since its existential history of staggering stages of colonialism
and imperialism where under racism was the inalienable part of governance
Though, today Indians in US, UK, Canada, Australia and other parts of the world
are being subjected to racial crimes attributable to the emerging trends of far
right-wing political discourse in these countries. In India, the obsession for
"White" skin tone is real. People drooling over a 'fair' skin tone is visible in
the matrimonial ads. Even then India is still indulging with this profane
practice with impunity.
India has affirmative action programs and laws that prohibit the dissemination
of ideas that promote disharmony on any ground, including race. The country also
has an institutional framework in place to combat different forms of
discrimination. It is essential to promote diversity and inclusion in all areas
of society to combat racism and ensure that all individuals are treated equally
and fairly under the law without discrimination, as per the principle of
equality before the law.
Racism and colorism are very closely related to each other. People with a
lighter skin tone were considered as a rich of an upper-caste while people with
a dusky skin tone is considered as a poor of a lower caste. Due to the colour
discrimination, the black people face problems all over the world. It brings
down their morale, enthusiasm, self-efficiency to a great extent. They fear the
world outside; the voices of the black people go unheard.
They do not receive the right amount of appreciation, instead they face constant
hatred and are subjected to brutality. The black people face harassment be it in
either a physical or virtual form on any online platform. They are bullied not
only on the basis of their colour, but also on the basis of the structure of
their lips or any facial attribute. The black colour is the least preferred
colour in the entire human race.
They are denied access to educational institutions, workplace or employment
services, social services etc. There is no system which would act as a
protection shield against the brutal and the inhumane bullying. The crime rate
against the black has evidently increased, but people choose to be silent about
it. If the same crime had been done to a white, then the public and the law
would have done their best to win justice.
Types Of Racism
- Lies within individuals.
- Private beliefs and biases about race and racism, influenced by our
- May be unconscious or psychologically rooted. Often reflects historic,
- Occurs between individuals, anecdotal.
- Biases that occur when individuals interact with others and their
private racial beliefs affect their public interactions.
- Occurs within institutions and systems of power.
- Unfair policies and discriminatory practices of institutions (schools,
workplaces, etc.) that routinely produce racially inequitable outcomes for
people of colour and advantages for white people.
- Racial bias among institutions and across society.
- Cumulative and compounding effects of an array of societal factors
including the history, culture, ideology, and interactions of institutions
Legislation And Acts
- Anti-Discrimination and Equality Bill, 2016:
In the month of March, the Congress Member of Parliament had introduced the
bill in the Lok Sabha. The bill signifies that there be no discrimination
against the people belonging to the weaker and the poorer sections of the
society on the grounds of caste, creed, religion, sex, colour, place of
originality etc. The bill guarantees protection to the weaker sections like
the scheduled caste and the scheduled tribes, who are always exposed to
irrational abuse and violence for mundane reasons. It provides measures for
redressal and provisions for compensation and exemplary awards.
- The Caste Disabilities Removal Act, 1850
This particular law was passes in the British India under the rule of East
India Company in 1850. This law gave people the freedom to convert from one
religion to another with all the equal rights. The conversion of the
religion would not take away their rights, especially inheritance. This law
gave a clear view that a person will not be denied his right of inheritance
to the parental property, even after he under goes a conversion of religion.
For example, a child of Hindu will still be considered a Hindu even after
the conversion in terms of inheriting property.
- The Prevention of Atrocities Act (Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes),
This law was passed on September 9th, 1989. This law protects the SCs and
the STs from the discrimination and exploitation. It provides protection to
the weaker sections from atrocities, abuse, brutality and ruthless violence.
It lists around 22 offences which would come under the category of
discrimination like denial of access to drinking water, safe hygienic
conditions, edible food, access to hospitals, education, entry into temples
etc. Section 14 of SC/ST Act provides for the speedy trial courts so that
the members of the OBC and other tribal communities get speedy justice and
do not remain defenseless. There is no provision for an anticipatory bail
for offence committed under the act as per the new Section 18(a).
Article 14 of the Constitution of India enjoined the State not to deny to any
person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws. The two
concepts were not the same. Equality before the law contemplated containing
inequalities in income and eliminating inequalities in status, facilities and
opportunities not only among individuals but also among groups of people,
securing adequate means of livelihood to its citizens, promoting educational and
economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, including in particular
the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and protecting them from social
injustice and all forms of exploitation.
Article 15 of the Constitution, among other things, enabled special provisions
to be made for women and children and allowed for protective discrimination to
be extended to socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or
Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes. Article 16 provided for equal opportunity
in terms of employment and appointment to any office under the State, and
permitted the reservation of posts in favor of the backward classes.
Article 17 abolished "untouchability" and its practice in any form was
forbidden. It further provided that the enforcement of any disability arising
out of untouchability was an offence punishable by law. Article 41 of the
Constitution provided that the State should, within the limits of its economic
capacity, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education
and to public assistance in case of unemployment, sickness, old age and
disablement and in other cases of undeserved want.
Discrimination based on race or ethnicity in India can have serious consequences
for individuals and communities.
Some of the problems that people may face as a
result of such Discrimination include:
- Limited opportunities:
Discrimination can limit the educational and employment opportunities
available to individuals from marginalized communities, making it difficult
for them to break out of poverty and improve their economic status.
- Social exclusion:
People who are subject to discrimination based on their race or ethnicity
may be excluded from mainstream society, leading to social isolation,
loneliness, and a sense of alienation.
- Health disparities:
Discrimination can also lead to disparities in healthcare access and
outcomes, with people from marginalized communities facing greater barriers
to healthcare and experiencing worse health outcomes than other groups.
- Violence and harassment:
Discrimination can also lead to physical violence and harassment,
particularly against women and other vulnerable groups.
- Psychological trauma:
Discrimination can have long-lasting psychological effects, leading to
depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.
- Lack of representation:
Marginalized communities may also lack representation in government, media,
and other areas, leading to a lack of voice and influence in society.
These are just a few examples of the problems that people may face as a
result of discrimination based on race or ethnicity in India. It is essential to
address these issues and work towards creating a more just and inclusive society
where everyone is treated with respect and dignity.
The Indian government has implemented several laws and policies to address
discrimination based on race or ethnicity and promote the right to equality.
Some of the key measures taken by the government include:
- Constitutional provisions:
The Indian Constitution includes provisions that prohibit discrimination on
the basis of race, religion, caste, sex, or place of birth. These provisions
guarantee equal rights and opportunities to all citizens, regardless of
- Affirmative action:
The Indian government has implemented affirmative action programs, such as
reservation policies, to promote the inclusion of marginalized communities
in education and employment. These programs aim to address historical
discrimination and ensure that people from all backgrounds have equal access
- Anti-discrimination laws:
The Indian government has enacted several anti-discrimination laws, such as
the Protection of Civil Rights Act and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled
Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, to protect marginalized communities
from discrimination and violence.
- Awareness campaigns:
The government has launched several awareness campaigns to promote diversity
and inclusion and raise awareness about the harms of discrimination. These
campaigns aim to change attitudes and promote social change.
- Equality commissions:
The National Commission for Scheduled Castes and the National Commission for
Scheduled Tribes are independent bodies established by the Indian government
to promote the welfare and development of marginalized communities and
protect their rights.
These measures are aimed at promoting equality and protecting the rights of
marginalized communities in India. However, much work remains to be done to
address discrimination based on race or ethnicity and create a more just and
To address discrimination based on race or ethnicity in India, the government
has implemented various affirmative action programs and policies to provide
benefits and opportunities to the communities that have been historically
Some of the benefits given to these communities include:
- Reservation in education and employment:
The Indian government has implemented a system of reservation or affirmative
action in education and employment to ensure that marginalized communities
have equal access to these opportunities. A percentage of seats or jobs are
reserved for these communities in universities, colleges, and government
- Financial assistance:
The government provides financial assistance to marginalized communities in
the form of scholarships, subsidies, and loans to support their education,
entrepreneurship, and other economic activities.
- Protection from discrimination and violence:
The Indian government has enacted laws to protect marginalized communities
from discrimination and violence. The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
(Prevention of Atrocities) Act provides legal protection against violence,
exploitation, and discrimination.
- Support for healthcare and housing:
The government provides healthcare services and housing schemes for
marginalized communities to improve their living conditions and overall
- Representation in government:
The Indian government has reserved seats in the Parliament and State
Legislatures for marginalized communities to ensure their representation and
participation in decision-making processes.
These benefits aim to address the historical injustices faced by marginalized
communities in India and promote their social, economic, and political
inclusion. However, much work remains to be done to ensure that these benefits
reach those who need them the most and that discrimination based on race or
ethnicity is eradicated completely.
In conclusion, the right to equality on the basis of race or ethnicity is a
fundamental human right that is enshrined in the Indian Constitution.
Discrimination based on race or ethnicity has serious consequences for
individuals and communities, leading to limited opportunities, social exclusion,
health disparities, violence and harassment, psychological trauma, and lack of
The Indian government has implemented several laws, policies, and affirmative
action programs to address discrimination and promote equality, including
constitutional provisions, anti-discrimination laws, affirmative action in
education and employment, financial assistance, protection from discrimination
and violence, support for healthcare and housing, and representation in
However, much work remains to be done to eradicate discrimination based on race
or ethnicity in India and create a more just and inclusive society where
everyone is treated with respect and dignity. It is important to raise awareness
about the harms of discrimination, promote diversity and inclusion, and work
towards changing attitudes and promoting social change. By working together, we
can ensure that the right to equality on the basis of race or ethnicity is
respected and upheld, and that all individuals and communities have equal
opportunities to thrive and reach their full potential.