Article 15

Article 15

  • Discrimination on the basis of caste, religion, race, sex, and place of birth is forbidden by Article 15.

Article 15 restricts discrimination on the grounds of:

  • Religion – It means that no one should be denied access to any public space or policy by the government or any other group on the basis of their religion.
  • Race – Discrimination shouldn't be based on a person's ethnicity. 
  • Caste –To stop atrocities committed by the higher caste on the lower castes, discrimination based on caste is likewise illegal.
  • Sex –A person's gender cannot be used as a justification for discrimination in any situation. 
  • Place of birth – The place a person was born should not be used as a basis for prejudice towards other citizens.

Clause 1 of Article 15

  • No citizen of India shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, gender, or place of birth, as stated in Article 15(1).
  •  DP Joshi v/s State of Madhya Bharat: The Madhya Pradesh government was in charge of one medical college that was established in Indore. The state government established a rule stating that all accommodating students dwelling in Madhya Bharat would not be forced to pay any capitation fees, but that all non-domicile students would be required to pay a small capitation charge of between 1300 and 1500 rupees. By submitting a writ to the Supreme Court under Article 32, this rule was contested on the grounds that it had violated fundamental rights.

Clause 2 of article 15

  • An Indian citizen is not allowed to discriminate against another Indian citizen for the reasons listed in Section 15 (1).
  • According to Article 15(2) (a), people should not be denied entrance to public places because of their religion, race, caste, gender, place of birth, or any other similar factor. This includes stores, restaurants, hotels, and other places that are open to the general public.
  • According to Article 15(2) (b), no person may prevent another person from using septic tanks, wells, roads, or any other public facility that is maintained with state funds or that is specifically intended for use by the general public on the grounds of religion, race, caste, gender, or place of birth.

Clause 3 of article 15

  • According to Article 15(3), the state may not forbid itself from passing laws that make any special  provisions for women and children.
  • For the care and development of women and children, for instance, the Union government passed numerous statutes, such as the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2017 and the Child Labor (Prohibition & Regulation) Act.

Clause 4 of article 15

    • According to Article,  nothing in Article 15 or Article 29(2), prohibits the state from making specific provisions for socially and educationally disadvantaged classes of citizens,  or the STs/SCs.
    • Two significant events served as the primary impetus for including such a provision in Article 15.
      • Firstly, in the case State Of Madras v. Champakam doirairajan (1951)  the government of Madras issued an order laying out how seats would be allotted in medical and engineering colleges based on a student's community and caste. Examination revealed that the decision contravened Section (1) of Article 15, which specified that seats were assigned according to student castes rather than merit. The ruling that assigned seats based on caste rather than merit was then overturned by the seven-judge bench.
      • Secondly, in Jagwant Kaur v. State of Maharashtra (1952). the development of a colony exclusively for Harijans was deemed to violate Article 15(1). So, in order to assist the citizens who are socially and educationally underprivileged while abiding by all other laws, Clause(4) under Article 15 was adopted.
    • Additionally, Article 29(2) [which is also mentioned under Article 15(4)] states that no citizen of India is subjected to discrimination when requesting financial aid from the state or applying for admission to a state-run educational institution on the basis of their religion, caste, race, or language. Hence, rather than being an exception, Article 15(4) is a particular provision for socioeconomically and educationally underprivileged groups in society.
    • The Supreme Court in A. Periakaruppan v. State of Tamil Nadu (1971) ruled that it was against Article 15(4) to categorize socially and educationally disadvantaged strata on the basis of caste. 
  • In Balaji v. State of Mysore (1963), 
    • The Mysore Government made the decision to grant 68% reservation for students from backward classes seeking admission to engineering and medical schools.
    • Only 32% of the reserve was left by the government for students receiving merit-based admission. This reservation prevented students who scored higher than those in the reserved group from getting a place. 
    • The Court believed that the classification of classes as being backward or even more backward did not comply with Article 15. (4).
    • Furthermore, the Court noted that violating Clause (4) of Article 15's prohibition against exclusive provisions for underprivileged classes, reserving 68% of places in medical and engineering schools would be unconstitutional. 
    • Thus, the maximum number of reservations was 50%.

  • In State of UP v. Pradeep Tandon (1974)

    • the Supreme Court ruled that it was illegal to give students from rural areas reserved seats. Under Article 15 Clause (4), it cannot be defended.
    • In this instance, students from rural areas, hilly areas, and students from Uttarakhand were given reservations at medical colleges by the state of Uttar Pradesh. 
    • Since residents of hill regions and Uttarakhand are socially and educationally behind due to a lack of awareness and inadequate educational facilities, the Supreme Court ruled that reservations for students from these areas are valid. 
    • The Court ruled that poverty does not equal backwardness in rural areas and that the rural area does not indicate a socially or educationally backward status.

Clause 5 of article 15

    • According to Article 15(5), nothing in Article 15 or Article 19(1)(g) prohibits the government from enacting special laws to enhance the lives of socially and educationally disadvantaged persons, as well as those who belong to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Except for the minority listed in Article 30(1), additional rules may occasionally apply to the admission of members of the backward classes, SCs, and STs to educational institutions that are either public or private and receive state funding.
  • Mandal commission case: The concept of a creamy layer was used in this case. 
  • In the case Indira Sawhney vs Union of India
    • the idea of a Creamy Layer was established.
    • According to the Supreme Court's decision, OBCs will be given 27% reservation in government jobs.
    • Additionally, it was stated that in this instance the reservation would only be made available for the initial stages of appointments and not for the ensuing promotion procedure.
    • The total amount of reservations must not surpass 50%. 

Clause 6 of article 15

    • The government is given the power to create specific policies, including reservations in educational institutions, for the advancement of "economically weaker sectors" of society.
    • The 103rd amendment to the Constitution was added in 2019. The article also states that 10% of the reservation must be set aside for EWS. This 10% of reservations is not subject to any existing reservation caps.
    • EWS members who are not covered by any of the SC, ST, or OBC reservation programs now in effect are eligible for the benefit of this reserve. The criteria established in this regard for eligibility are as follows:
      • Annual Income: For the purpose of receiving reservation benefits, people must be classified as EWSs if their family's gross yearly income is less than Rs. 8 lakh. The revenue would be from all sources, including salaries, businesses, professions, and agriculture, and it would be for the fiscal year prior to the application year.
      • Possession of Asset: Regardless of the family's income, people whose family owns or possesses any one of the following assets are to be excluded from being classified as EWSs: first, agricultural land larger than 5 acres; second, residential apartments larger than 1000 square feet; and third, residential plots larger than 100 square yards in notified municipalities.
  • Determination of Property: When applying the land or property holding test to assess an individual's EWS status, all of the family's property, whether it be in one area or multiple locations/cities, would be combined.
  • Definition of Family: The person requesting the benefit of the reservation, the person's parents, siblings, and minor children are all regarded as members of the person's immediate family for this reason.


  • An exception to Article 15 Clauses (1) and (2) is provided under Article 15 Clauses (3), (4), and (5)-
    • For women and children,
    • For the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes,
    • Make provisions relating to their admission to educational institutions including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the State, other than the minority educational institutions.
  • Even if it is an exception to the law that outlawed discrimination on the basis of sex and caste, this is not discrimination. Instead, the term "PROTECTIVE DISCRIMINATION"—also known as "Positive Discrimination”—is used by legislators to defend reservation and is described as the practice of giving the oppressed and underprivileged classes an equal opportunity to succeed and improve their standing in society. This reservation method is based on the concept of intelligible differentia.

Article 15 of the Indian Constitution Reservation for OBC

  • The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006, which established a 27% quota for applicants from Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in all central higher educational institutions, including the IITs and IIMs, was passed by the Center in order to give effect to Article. 15 (5).
  • It should be observed that the children of the following groups of persons are considered to be in the OBCs' "creamy layer," and as such will not be eligible for the quota benefit:
    • Constitutional Posts: people in positions with the power to make laws, such as the president, vice president, SC and HC judges, the chairman and members of the UPSC and SPSC, the CEC and CAG, and others.
    • Officers: All India, Central, and State Services Group "A" and Group "B" / Class I and II Officers; Workers holding equivalent posts in PSUs, Banks, etc.; and Employees in private employment.
    • Top-ranked army officers: people who hold equivalent positions in the Navy, Air Force, and Paramilitary Forces and are in the rank of colonel or higher in the Army.
    • Other Professions: professionals including physicians, attorneys, engineers, creatives, writers, consultants, and so on. people who work in trade, business, or industry.
    • Agricultural land: Those who own more than a specified amount of vacant land or buildings in urban areas.

Annual Income: people whose monthly gross income exceeds 8 lakhs or who are wealthy enough to qualify for an exemption. When the "creamy layer" ceiling was first introduced in 1993, it was Rs. 1 lakh. Afterwards, in 2004, 2008, 2013, and 2017, it was changed to Rs. 2.5 lakh, Rs. 4.5 lakh, Rs. 6 lakh, and Rs. 8 lakh.

Book A Free Counseling Session