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15.  Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth


  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 –
  3. access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment; or
  4. the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained wholly of partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of the general public.
  5. Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children.

  1. [(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.]
  2. [(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].

16.  Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment.


  1. There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.
  2. No citizen shall, on grounds only 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.
  3. 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 1[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] prior to such employment or appointment.
  4. Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State.
    2[(4A) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provision for reservation 3[in matters of promotion, with consequential seniority, to any class] or 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.]
    4(4B) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from considering any unfilled vacancies of a year which are reserved for being filled up in that year in accordance with any provision for reservation made under clause (4) or clause (4A) as a separate class of vacancies to be filled up in any succeeding year or years and such class of vacancies shall not be considered together with the vacancies of the year in which they are being filled up for determining the ceiling of fifty per cent. reservation on total number of vacancies of that year.]
  5. Nothing in this article shall affect the operation of any law which provides that the incumbent of an office in connection with the affairs of any religious or denominational institution or any member of the governing body thereof shall be a person professing a particular religion or belonging to a particular denomination.

    Article 340 of the Constitution provides for the appointment of a Commission to investigate the conditions of and the difficulties faced by the socially and educationally backward classes and to make appropriate recommendations .The article reads as under :-
    “ 340. Appointment of a Commission to investigate the conditions of backward classes –
  1. The President may by order appoint a Commission consisting of such persons as he thinks fit to investigate the conditions of the socially and educationally backward classes within the territory of India and the difficulties under which they labour and to make recommendations as to the steps that should be taken by the Union or any State to remove such difficulties and to improve their condition and as to the grants that should be made for the purpose by the Union or any state and the conditions subject to which such grants should be made, and the order appointing such commission shall define the procedure to be followed by the Commission.
  2. A Commission so appointed shall investigate the matters referred to them and present to the President a report setting out the facts as found by them and make such recommendations as they think proper.
  3. The President shall cause a copy of the report so presented together with a memorandum explaining the action taken thereon to be laid before each house of Parliament. ”

Under Article 338(5) of the Constitution, the following are the powers of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes:


It shall be duty of the Commission –

  1. to investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes under this Commission or under any other law for the time being in force or under any order of the Government and to evaluate the working of such safeguards;
  2. to investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes under this Commission or under any other law for the time being in force or under any order of the Government and to evaluate the working of such safeguards;
  3. to inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes;
  4. to participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State;
  5. to present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards;
  6. to make in such report recommendations as to the measures that should be taken by the Union or any State for the effective implementation of those safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes; and
  7. to discharge such other functions in relation to the protection, welfare and development and advancement of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, by rule specify.”

By clause (10) of the same Article, “Backward Classes” are included within the expression “Scheduled Castes”.  Clause (10) of Article 338 reads as follows:
“(10) In this article references to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes shall be construed as including references to such other backward classes as the President may, on receipt of the report of a Commission appointed under clause (1) of Article 340, by order specify and also to the Ango-Indian community”.


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Last Updated : 07 May 2014