(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—

     (a) access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment; or

     (b) 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.

 

(5) Nothing in this article or in sub-clause (g) of clause (1) of article 19 shall prevent the State from making any special provision, by law, for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes in so far as such special provisions relate to their admission to educational institutions including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the State, other than the minority educational institutions referred to in clause (1) of article 30.

Debate Summary

Article 15 of the Constitution of India (Article 9 of the Draft Constitution) was debated on the 29th of November 1948. While the debate revealed a consensus about the importance of the Article in combating discriminatory practices prevalent in India society, there were amendments moved and clarifications sought which were of a semantic nature. Some members argued that there existed discrimination on the basis of criteria not mentioned in the article such as family and decent. Others wanted to add more places in addition to the ones already mentioned in the article – gardens, roads, tramways. It was clarified in the discussion that, in addition to specific places such as – shops, public restaurants etc. - mentioned in the article, that the general language used in the article was sufficient to covers a wide range of spaces where there is potential for discrimination. The Assembly decided to discard the term ‘revenues of the state’ for ‘state’ funds in the article. This was done because fundamental rights were to be enforced against violation by not just institutions at the central or state level, but also institutions of local governance – where the term ‘state funds’ and not ‘revenues of the state’ was used to refer to revenues. Lastly, in addition to clause in the Article which allowed the state to make special provisions for women and children, members wanted to add Scheduled Castes and tribes. This proposal was not adopted as it was seen as perpetuating spaces where discrimination would occur in favour of Scheduled Castes and Tribes. The Assembly did not want a situation where villages would have separate public schools for Schedules Castes and Tribes as opposed to a general public school Whether this was a problem that would arise with respect to women and children was not discussed, but it seems like the assembly didn’t think so.