Chapter 1 – On Equality
In a democracy why is Universal Adult Franchise important?
In a democracy every citizen is equal. The concept of Universal Adult Franchise is based on equality. Therefore, it is important in a democracy. Under Universal Adult Franchise every adult irrespective of caste, creed, religion, sex etc. is allowed to vote.
Re-read the box on Article 15 and state two ways in which this Article addresses inequality?
This Article addresses inequality in terms of access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment, or [b] the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of state funds or dedicated to the use of the general public.
In what ways was Omprakash Valmiki’s experience similar to that of the Ansaris?
Both Omprakash Valmiki and Ansaris were subjected to discrimination. Omprakash was not allowed to sit with other students in the classroom and was made to sweep the school and the playground only because he was a dalit. Similarly, the Ansaris were not given a flat in a locality where lived the people belonging to religion other than theirs. The moment the landlady came to know about their names, she declined to rent the house. In both the cases the dignity of a person is violated.
What do you understand by the term“all persons are equal before the law”? Why do you think it is important in a democracy?
It means that every person, from the President of the country to a domestic help like Kanta has to obey the same laws. No person can be discriminated against on the basis of their religion, race, caste etc. Every person has access to all public places including playgrounds, hotels, shops and markets. All persons can use publicly available wells, roads and bathing ghats.
Equality is the soul of democracy. We know that democracy is a form of government which gives equal importance and recognition to all. If inequalities on the basis of race, religion, caste, etc. continue to exist, democracy would never flourish. Instead, it would perish very soon.
The Government of India passed the Disabilities Act in 1995. This law states that persons with disabilities have equal rights, and that the government should make possible their full participation in society. The government has to provide free education and integrate children with disabilities into mainstream schools. This law also states that all public places including buildings, school etc., should be accessible and provided with ramps.
Look at the photograph and think about the boy who is being carried down the stairs. Do you think the above law is being implemented in his case? What needs to be done to make the building and accessible for him?
How would his being carried down the stairs affect his dignity as well as his safety?
The boy in the photograph is disabled. As per the law this building should have been accessible for him. But we see the law is not being implemented in his case. He is being carried down by security personnels through stairs. This building does not provide ramps. The boy’s dignity is overlooked here. He may morally feel inferior. The way he is carried down the stars may prove dangerous. Law should take this case to the court.