Discrimination Law in India

Treating certain people differently than others is discrimination. When people receive various wages based on their rank and abilities, it isn't always illegal. But there are several situations in which it is illegal for your employer to treat you unfairly. Making unjustifiable, prejudiced distinctions between individuals based on the groups, classes, or other categories to which they formally or implicitly belong is known as discrimination.

What is the Meaning of Discrimination?

Individuals may be treated unfairly on account of their race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, religion, handicap, or any other category. When people or groups are unfairly treated worse than other people on the basis of their real or perceived membership in particular groups or social categories, this is particularly known as discrimination. It entails denying members of one group access to advantages or opportunities that belong to another group.

The legal concept of discrimination can be summed up as when someone is treated unfairly or when their dignity is infringed. A person's being treated unfavorably or having their dignity violated must also be connected to one of the seven grounds for discrimination.

  • Sex

  • Transgender identity or expression

  • Ethnicity

  • Religion or other belief

  • Disability

  • Sexual orientation

  • Age

Types of Discrimination

Following are the major types of discrimination −

Direct Discrimination

Direct discrimination occurs when a company treats one of its employees less favorably than another because of the aforementioned factors. If only men were allowed to apply for a driving position, for instance, that would be outright discrimination.

There are a few instances where an employer might be able to argue that something is a true occupational need for the position. For instance, a Roman Catholic school may be entitled to limit candidates for the position of scripture teacher to Catholics who have received baptism.

Indirect Discrimination

A working condition or rule that disadvantages one group of people more than others are considered indirect discrimination. For instance, requiring clean-shaven applicants for jobs disadvantages some religious organizations' members.

Whether intentional or not, indirect discrimination is wrong. It is only permitted if there are no other options available and it is required for the operation of the firm. For instance, if the position entailed handling food and it could be demonstrated that having a beard or mustache constituted a real hygiene concern, the requirement that applicants be clean-shaven might be justified.


During work or in a situation relevant to your job, you have the right not to be harassed or made fun of (for example, at an office party).

Harassment is defined as insulting or intimidating behavior, such as using sexist or racially derogatory language with the intent to degrade, undermine, or harm the target, or having a similar impact. Giving someone a potentially offensive nickname is one such example. Another is permitting the distribution or display of sexually explicit material.

Inadequate Accessibility

When reasonable accessibility measures that would place a person with a handicap on par with others are not taken, it results in inadequate accessibility, which disadvantages that person. The removal of thresholds, reading the menu at a restaurant or giving a person the assistance they need to engage in school or employment are a few examples of actions that may be required.

Instruction to Discriminate

An order or instruction to discriminate against another person is given when someone is dependent on them in some way, such as an employee. A person or business that has taken on a commission, such as an employment agency, may likewise get instructions to discriminate.

Articles 14 And 15 of the Indian Constitution

Article 14 of the Indian Constitution states that everyone has the right to equality and that no one is above the law. It is followed by Article 15, which states that no one shall be subject to discrimination on the grounds of caste, gender, race, disability, or nationality because everyone is equal in the eyes of the law. However, discrimination has been deeply ingrained in society since the beginning of time, and although the law is constantly changing to try to stop it, if it is not successful, it will continue to exist. how the law-making bodies themselves create laws that either directly or indirectly promote discrimination.

Discrimination generally refers to treating someone improperly or partially. Several international organizations are working to address the problem from the ground up, but they are having trouble eliminating this abhorrent behavior from society entirely.

  • United nation high commissioner for human right

  • International human rights commission

The government will identify certain sections of the population, like women, and because society will feel that they are the weaker group, the government will acknowledge this and make specific provisions for their protection. Sections that are not recognized by the government as needing protection will view women as a weak and unimportant part of society, which is how the number of discrimination cases rises daily.

Article 15 Has 3 Exceptions to The General Rule of Non-discrimination

  • The state may establish unique arrangements for women and children. Article 15 has this significant exemption. For the welfare of women and children, the state can enact or construct special provisions. Examples include reserving seats for women in municipal bodies and making certain arrangements for children to receive free education. The government may carry this out.

  • The state is allowed to take exceptional measures to advance SC and ST individuals, who belong to educationally disadvantaged classes. Ex: Those who belong to the OBC, SC, or ST groups may be granted seat reservations or fee concessions at public educational institutions.

  • The state can take steps to advance SC, ST, and other socially and educationally disadvantaged citizens. Ex: When it comes to special provisions for accepting admission to educational institutions, the state can make them. Both government institutions, such as government schools, and private educational institutions are covered by this reservation clause. This concludes Article 15.


Discrimination is incompatible with modern society's core ideals. In fact, it poses a challenge to democracy, which is built on the ideal of a society in which artificial distinctions and preferences based on things like gender, ethnicity, and income have been abolished in an effort to achieve equality. Equality forbids discrimination, which is also the cornerstone of human rights, and democracy respects the value and equal rights of all people. Because it is selfish, discrimination is wrong.

Today, discrimination can take many different forms and be found everywhere. From one extreme to the other, it is improper in every aspect. Prejudice still occurs today for a variety of reasons throughout the world. One reason is that parents have instilled in their offspring their own beliefs and ways of thinking.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Which law discusses about discrimination?

Ans. Race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or another opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, and other states are among the ten grounds for discrimination that are expressly prohibited by Article 2 of the UDHR.

Q2. What are the legal reasons for discrimination?

Ans. Every person is human being and has equal right. So, a person's race, colour, religion, gender (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), handicap, or genetic information cannot be used by an employer to make any employment decisions.

Q3. Is discrimination a crime or tort?

Ans. The Supreme Court has specifically applied tort law to discrimination cases throughout the past three decades, particularly situations showing intent and causation.

Q4. Is discrimination a legal offense?

Ans. Several forms of discrimination (sometimes known as "unlawful discrimination") are prohibited by specific legislation. You might be able to take legal action if your employer treats you less favorably for an illegal cause. It is not illegal discrimination if your employer treats you unfairly for any other reason.

Q5. What is overt discrimination?

Ans. Discrimination that is overt is intentional and direct. The most typical type of discrimination is this one. Physically harming another person because of their ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation is an example of overt discrimination.

Updated on: 03-Apr-2023


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