Art. 15 deals with five related topics, namely

  1. Discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, etc.
  2. Religious or race disabilities in connection with access to shops, hotels, wells, tanks, etc.
  3. Special provisions for women and children.
  4. Special provisions for socially and educationally backward classes. (First Constitutional Amendment Act, 1951).
  5. Special provisions for members of BC/SC/ST In private unaided educational institutions except minority institution (93rd Amendment Act, 2006).

Fundamental Rights - CLAT


The right under Art.15 is available to citizens only.

  • Clause 1 of Art.15 directs the State not to discriminate against a citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth or any of them.
  • Clause 2 of Art.15 prohibits both the State and the private individual from making discrimination with regard to access to shops, hotels, public resort, etc.
  • Clause 3 of Art.15 empowers the State to make special provisions for the protection of women and children.
  • Clause 4 of Art.15 helps the State to make special provisions for the protection of the interests of the Backward Classes of citizens.
  • Clause 5 of Art.15 empowers the State to reserve seats for socially and educationally backward classes of citizens, members of scheduled caste and scheduled tribe in private unaided educational institutions.


Case Law: Champakam Dorairajan Vs. State of Madras.

In this case, the Madras Government had reserved seats in State Medical and Engineering Colleges for different communities in certain proportions on the basis of religion, race and caste. The Supreme Court held that Madras Government’s regulation, void, as it classified students only on the basis of caste and religion while ignoring merit. In fact, it was after the judgment in the above-mentined case, that clause (4) was added to Art.15, paving way for reservation for backward classes.

Case Law: Balaji Vs State of Mysore

The then Mysore Government had issued an order under Art.15 (4) reserving seats in Medical and Engineering Colleges in the State in the following manner:

                  Backward Classes                                     28%
                Most Backward Classes                                     20%
               Scheduled Castes & Tribes                                     20%
                   Total reservation                                     68%
                        Merit Seats                                     32%

 This G.O. was challenged by a section of meritorious students who held that students who had secured less marks than them had got admission under the impugned order. The question whether the sub-division of backward classes into Most Backward Classes was justified was also an issue in this case. The Supreme Court held that the subdivision was not justified under Art. 15(4). The court further held that the State through its impugned order chose to ignore the aspirations of the meritorious students and held that any order for reservation for any class should be less than 50%. 


After the Mandal case judgment, you will notice that Supreme Court overruled the decision in Balalji case regarding the sub division into MBC.                              

 Case Law: Dr. Neelima Vs Dena of P.G. Students A.P., Agriculture University Hyderabad.

In this case, the Court held that a girl born in a high caste, marrying a boy belonging to schedule tribe is not entitled to the benefit of reservation available to Schedule Tribe.

 27% reservation for OBC in Educational Institutions

The Union Minister, Arjun Singh justified his proposal of 27% quota for OBC in admissions to IIT, IIM etc, as a “follow up action” and logical conclusion of the Constitution 93rd Amendment Act, 2006 which came into effect on January 20th 2006.

Actually, the amendment was not made to provide reservation in the centre owned/aided institution. It was enacted by Parliament for a different purpose: To overcome the August 12th 2005 decision of the Supreme Court in the Inamdar Case. In that case, the court struck down existing reservations by the State Government in private unaided medical and engineering institutions. It held that right to run educational institution was a Fundamental right covered under 19 (g).

Therefore, the State does not have the power to impose reservation.

This Supreme Court decision was a setback for reservations in States such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala which had reserved seats in private unaided Medical and Engineering colleges for BC for Many years.

Therefore, the Parliament, inserted a new sub article 15(5) to enable States to reserve seats to any socially and educationally class of person belonging to BC/SC/ST in private educational institutions, by way of the 93rd Amendment Act, which states, “Nothing in this amendment or Art. 19(1) (g) shall prevent the State from making any special provision, by law, for the advancement of any socially and educationally BC,SC and ST in so far as such special provisions relate to their admission to education institution, including private educational institution, whether aided/unaided by the State other than minority institution.

Thus, this new amendment was not for enabling reservations of seats for OBC in centrally administered institution such as IIM and IITs, but only for doing so in PRIVATE UNAIDED INSTITUTIONS.

Now, the States will cite 93rd amendment and try to restore reservation for SC, ST and OBC in private unaided educational institutions.

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