The above rule of equality is however not an absolute rule and there are number exception to it v ‘Equality of Law’ does not mean the power of the private citizens are the same as the power of the public officials. Thus a police officer has the power to arrest you while no other private person has this power. This is not violation of rule of law. But rule of law does require that these powers should be clearly defined by law and that abuse of authority by public officers must be punished by ordinary courts. The rule of law does not prevent certain class of persons being subject to special rules. Thus members of armed forces are controlled by military rules. Similarly medical practitioners are controlled by medicalcouncilofIndia Certain members of society are governed by special rules in their profession i.e. lawyers, doctors, nurses, members of armed forces and police. Such classes of people are treated differentlyfromordinarycitizens.
Article 14 Permits Classification But Prohibits Class Legislation The equal protection of laws guaranteed by Article 14 does not mean that all laws must be general in character. It does not mean that the same laws should apply to all persons. It does not attainment or circumstances in the same position. The varying needs of different classes of persons often requires separate treatment. From the vary nature of society there should be different laws in different places and the legitimate controls the policy and enacts laws in the best interest of the safety and security of the state. In fact identical treatment in unequal circumstances would amount to inequality. So a reasonable classification is only not permitted but is necessary if society is to progress.
Thus what Article 14 forbids is class-legislation but it does not forbid reasonable classification. The classification however must not be “arbitrary ,artificial or evasive” but must be based on some real and substantial bearing a just and reasonable relation to the object sought to be achieved by the legislation. Article 14 applies where equals are treated differently without any reasonable basis. But where equals and unequals are treated differently, Article 14 does not apply. Class legislation is that which makes an improper discrimination by conferring particular privileges upon a class of persons arbitrarily selected from a large number of persons all of whom stand in the same relation to the privilege granted that between whom and the persons not so favored no reasonable distinction or substantial difference can be found justifying the inclusion of one and the exclusion of the other from such privilege.
While Article 14 frobids class legislation it does not forbid reasonable classification of persons, objects, and transactions by the legislature for the purpose of achieving specific ends. But classification must not be “arbitrary ,artificial or evasive”. It must always rest upon some real upon some real and substantial distinction bearing a just and reasonable relation to the object sought to be achieved by the legislation. Classification to be reasonable must fulfil the following two conditions
Firstly the classification must be founded on the intelligible differentia which distinguishes persons or thing that are grouped together from others left out of the group Secondly the differentia must have a rational relation to the object sought to be achieved by the act. The differentia which is the basis of the classification and the object of the act are two distinct things. What is necessary is that there must be nexus between the basis of classification and the object of the act which makes the classification. It is only when there is no reasonable basis for a classification that legislation making such classification may be declared discriminatory. Thus the legislature may fix the age at which persons shall be deemed competent to contract between themselves...
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