EQUALITY BEFORE LAW AND EQUAL PROTECTION OF LAWS : ARTICLE 14
This is Fundamental Right.
Article 14 says that the State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. This provision confers rights on all persons whether citizens or foreigners.
Exceptions of Right to Equality:
The rule of equality before law is not absolute and there are constitutional and other exceptions to it:
- The President of India and the Governor of States enjoy the following immunities (Article 361):
- The President or the Governor is not answerable to any court for the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of his office.
- No criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against the President or the Governor in any court during his term of office.
- No process for the arrest or imprisonment of the President or the Governor shall be issued from any court during his term of office.
- No civil proceedings against the President or the Governor shall be instituted during his term of office in any court in respect of any act done by him in his personal capacity, whether before or after he entered upon his office, until the expiration of two months next after notice has been delivered to him.
- No person shall be liable to any civil or criminal proceedings in any court in respect of the publication in a newspaper (or by radio or television) of a substantially true report of any proceedings of either House of Parliament or either House of the Legislature of a State (Article 361-A).
- No member of Parliament shall be liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament or any committee thereof (Article 105).
- No member of the Legislature of a state shall be liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in the Legislature or any committee thereof (Article 194).
- Article 31-C is an exception to Article 14. It provides that the laws made by the state for implementing the Directive Principles contained in clause (b) or clause (c) of Article 39 cannot be challenged on the ground that they are violative of Article 14. The Supreme Court held that “where Article 31-C comes in, Article 14 goes out”.
- The foreign sovereigns (rulers), ambassadors and diplomats enjoy immunity from criminal and civil proceedings.
- The UNO and its agencies enjoy the diplomatic immunity.