Topics: United States Constitution, Law, Supreme Court of the United States Pages: 4 (2697 words) Published: October 21, 2014

Article 14 declares that "the State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or equal protection of the laws within the territory of India". The phrase "equality before the law" occurs in almost all written constitutions that guarantee fundamental rights. Equality before the law is an expression of English Common Law while "equal protection of laws" owes its origin to the American Constitution.Both the phrases aim to establish what is called the "equality to status and of opportunity" as embodied in the Preamble of the Constitution. While equality before the law is a somewhat negative concept implying the absence of any special privilege in favour of any individual and the equal subjection of all classes to the ordinary law, equal protection of laws is a more positive concept employing equality of treatment under equal circumstances. Article 14 of the Constitution enjoins that the State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territories of India. The expression "the State" used in Part III of the Constitution which deals with fundamental rights includes, unless the context otherwise requires, the Government and Parliament of India and the Government and the legislatures of each of the States and all local or other authorities within the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India. The scope and effect of article 14, in so far as it protects all persons against discriminatory and hostile legislation, have been discussed and explained by this court in a series of cases beginning with Chiranjit Lal Chowdhury v. The Union of India (1) and ending with Budhan Chowdhry and others v. The State of Bihar (2). In the last mentioned case a Full Bench of this court summarised the result of the earlier decisions on this point in the words following:"It is now well-established that while article 14 forbids class legislation, it does not...

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