Analyze the distinguishing features of the notion of Right to Equality in the Constitutions of the USA and India. UPSC 2021, 15 Marks

Q13. संयुक्त राज्य अमेरिका और भारत के संविधानों में, समता के अधिकार की धारणा की विशिष्ट विशेषताओं का विश्लेषण कीजिए। (उत्तर 250 शब्दों में दीजिए)
Q13. Analyze the distinguishing features of the notion of Right to Equality in the Constitutions of the USA and India. (Answer in 250 words) 15


The United States and India are the world’s two largest democratic countries, with federalism at the heart of their constitutions. By preserving its Constitution in 1789, the United States became a federal republic; by formally launching its Constitution in 1950, India became a secular, socialist, sovereign, democratic republic. As a result, both countries had attained the status of dominion, with numerous lesser states aligning to form a union with a strong central government that had come to be called. Both states were federal republics at the time.

Differentiating on the basis of Right to Equality

Reasonable Restrictions: Article 14 of the Indian constitution establishes a strong foundation for the constitution by prohibiting discrimination among citizens, akin to the United States’ “Bill of Rights” provision. However, India has a concept of justifiable classification, which means that when specific circumstances happen, certain persons are treated unequally. The state has the authority to treat such people differently if the circumstances merit it. 

Incorporation of the Right All men are created equal, and their creator has endowed them with certain unalienable rights, including the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The states are prohibited from denying anybody the right to “life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” or from “denying to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” because of this article. These two rights were later adopted in the United States, but there was no legislative intent to do so at the time. Because of the state’s dynamic changes, it was integrated. The Indian legislation, on the other hand, was written with the intention of embracing this from the start.

Social Injustice: It can be seen that the right to equality in America does not guarantee social equality. On the other hand, Article 14 of India’s constitution expressly prohibits discrimination against any group of people. The court has the authority to declare any statute unconstitutional on the basis of discrimination.

Children’s Right: There is not much of a distinction between the children’s rights in the two countries. In terms of children’s rights, both countries are on roughly the same page. The difference is in the age range that is required by law for children to attend compulsory education. Children in India between the ages of 6 and 14 are allowed to receive compulsory education as required by law. In the United States, however, the age limit is set at 16 years old since it is believed that at this age, the child has matured and is capable of managing any type of work alone.

Gender Inequality: In the United States, women’s rights in terms of opportunity and employment are better protected. The standards on safeguarding women from workplace harassment were just recently introduced in India, but the United States, on the other hand, had a settled legislation on the subject and the women in their country were protected. Women in India are still fighting for equal rights, despite being immensely powerful and autonomous.

Dual Citizenship: The dual citizenship certificate is issued by the United States to its citizens. The bill of rights applies to all states that make up a federal country, requiring each to follow the same set of regulations, resulting in equality of laws at both the state and federal levels. In terms of the Indian scenario, there is no legal provision for the concept of dual citizenship. Every Indian citizen has one citizenship in their name; nevertheless, because Articles 14 and 15 of the constitution are regarded India’s ultimate legislation, the laws are mostly based on these articles.


Although their conceptual approaches toward individual rights and substantive equality have come from quite distinct constitutional regimes, India and the United States share numerous similarities, implying that their systems are not so dissimilar. “Perhaps more than any other country in the world, India has evolved a legal system that is more akin to that of the United States, particularly in the subject of constitutional law.” Individual rights are guaranteed under both countries’ constitutions. Both provide constitutional courts with broad judicial review powers, including the authority to overturn laws, and both follow the British common law tradition.


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