Article 15 – a Prohibitory article

Introduction: – Article 15 is prohibitory article, which says that every discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, cast, sex, place of birth, is invalid.

But article 14 has an exception and it says making separate rule is essential for public welfare i.e. discrimination with intelligible differentia, rational nexus and natural justice, is valid.

Example: – If men are only made eligible for heavy industrial work, it is a valid discrimination.

This all implies that discrimination on any ground provided in article 15 plus relevant consideration is a valid discrimination.

Article 15: – Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth

  1. The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.
  2. No citizen shall, 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 palaces 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
  3. Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children
  4. Nothing in this article or in clause ( 2 ) of Article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes

Article 15(1): – It says that state cannot discriminate on the grounds of religion, race, cast, sex, place of birth.

Article 15(2): – It says that state and citizens cannot discriminate on the grounds of religion, race, cast, sex, place of birth.

Article 15(3): – This article is enabling article and enables state to make special laws for women and children.

Discrimination in a nut shell means unfavorable distinction, but article 15(3) talks about positive discrimination, for the upliftment and protection of specific group i.e. women and children, specific laws should be made. E.g. Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.

In case of Yusuf v. State of Bombay, Section 497 IPC was in question, it was put forth that woman in the offence of adultery are not punishable, hence, this provision is discriminatory.

Supreme Court held that in view of status of the women in the society, such immunity is important. Hence, protection u/s 497 IPC falls under article 15(3).

Article 15(4): – It was inserted by the 1st Constitutional Amendment Act, because of the following case-

State of Madras v. Champakam Dorai Rajan

Government of Madras made an order stating that every medical college of state have to reserve such sets for every community. The order was challenged in the Supreme Court –

Supreme Court held that only on the basis of cast, community, religion reservation cannot be made i.e. it is invalid. Hence, the order was striken out.

Article 15(4) provides that state has power to make special provisions for ‘Socially and Educationally Backward, Schedule Cast and Schedule Tribe’ for their upliftment, protection and advancement.

SC and ST is defined in article 341 and 342 respectively, but socially and educationally backward class is not defined in Constitution, so, as of now, every state decide with its own criteria that who is backward class and who is not.

In the Case of M.R Balaji v. State of Mysore 1963, state of Mysore made an order for reservation of 28% backward class, 22% more backward class, 15% for SC, 3% for ST, i.e. a total of 68% reservation, in state medical and engineering college. The order was challenged in the supreme court and the order was held invalid and was striken-out.

Supreme Court laid down rule to determine backward class: –

  1. Backwardness must be both social and educational.
  2. Cast cannot be sole dominant test i.e. cast + more relevant factors.
  3. 50% reservation in total is the limit i.e. reservation should not exceed 50%.
  4. Further classification of ‘Backward Class’ into ‘More Backward Class’ is not valid. i.e. further classification is not valid.

The case law implies in totality that while discriminating positively, we should not forget society at large.

Every norm made out in the above-mentioned case law, was over ruled in the following case:

Indira Sawhney v. Union of India 1993, the court held that: –

  1. While taking only caste into consideration the backwardness can be defined.
  2. Classification of Backward class and More Backward Class is also valid.

In case of P.A. Inamdar 2005, the court held that:

Unaided Institutions, private institutions can make admissions of their own, there is no control of government in their admission.

The above case law led to the amendment in article 15 with a 5th clause in 93rd Amendment Act.

Article 15(5): – It provides that state can make special provisions for advancement of Socially and Educationally Backward, Schedule Cast and Schedule Tribe.

The article provided a new rule for the reservation made by state in private, aided and un-aided institutions (especially educational admissions).

Hence, P.A. Inamdar 2005 case was over lapped by the legislation and private, unaided institutions came under the provision of article 15.

Conclusion: –

There are also some special provisions for specific states. There are certain articles in the Constitution of India which provide for special state provisions and allow for the formulation of the area-wise reservation to provide opportunity and facilities for the local people of the state in the matters of public employment and education, and different provisions might be for different parts of the state. E.g. Article 371.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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