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Explain the exceptions to general principals of equality provided under Article 15 and Article 16 of the Constitution

Article 15 prohibits the discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

a)    The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.
b)   No citizen shall on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them, be subject to any of them, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to-

1.     access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment; or
2.    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 general public.

The general exceptions for this rule are, 1. Special provision for women and children:- Article 15 clause (3) says that nothing in article 15 shall prevent the state from making any special provision for women and children. The reason is that “women’s physical structure and performance of maternal functions place her at a disadvantage at the struggle for subsistence and her physical well-vigor of the race.

3.    Special provision for advancement of backward class: - Clause (4) of Article 15 constitutes another exception for the general rule laid under Article 15 of the Constitution. Under this clause, the State is empowered to make special provisions for the advancements of any special provisions for the advancements of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The provision made in clause (4) of article 15 is only an enabling provision and does not impose any obligation on the State to take any special action under it. It merely confers a discretion to act if necessary by way of making special provision for backward classes.

Article 16 deals with the rule of equality of opportunity in matters of public employment.
1.     (1)There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.

2.    (2)No citizen shall, on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them, be ineligible for, or discriminated against in respect of, any employment or office under the State.

The following are the exceptions for the general rule;

1.     Nothing in this article shall prevent Parliament from making any law prescribing, in regard to a class or classes of employment or appointment to an office under the Government of, or any local or other authority within, a state or union territory, any requirement as to residence within that state or Union territory (1) prior to such employment or appointment.
2.    Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provision for reservation in matters of promotion with consequential seniority, to any classes of posts in the services under the State in favour of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes which, in the opinion of the state, are not adequately represented in the services under the state.


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