Analyze the distinguishing features of the notion of Equality in the Constitutions of the USA and India. (250 words) [2021]

The concept of equality is an important principle in both the United States Constitution and the Indian Constitution, but there are some distinguishing features that set these two documents apart:

  1. Definition of equality: The US Constitution guarantees “equal protection of the laws” for all citizens, while the Indian Constitution guarantees “equality of opportunity” and prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.
  2. Affirmative action: The US Constitution does not explicitly mention affirmative action, but the Supreme Court has allowed for the use of race-based affirmative action in certain circumstances. The Indian Constitution, on the other hand, specifically allows for affirmative action in the form of reservations for certain marginalized groups, such as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
  3. Equal pay for equal work: The US Constitution does not explicitly guarantee equal pay for equal work, but federal law, such as the Equal Pay Act of 1963, prohibits wage discrimination on the basis of sex. The Indian Constitution guarantees equal pay for equal work for both men and women.
  4. Right to vote: The US Constitution guarantees the right to vote for all citizens over the age of 18, regardless of race or gender. The Indian Constitution also guarantees the right to vote for all citizens over the age of 18, but also includes provisions for reservation of seats in elected bodies for marginalized groups.
  5. Civil rights and liberties: The US Constitution guarantees a number of civil rights and liberties, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press, as well as the right to bear arms. The Indian Constitution also guarantees a number of civil rights and liberties, but with some notable differences, such as the right to life and liberty, freedom of expression, and the right to education.

Overall, while both the US and Indian Constitutions guarantee equality and prohibit discrimination, they approach these principles in slightly different ways, reflecting the unique histories and cultures of each country.

Mind map notes for UPSC
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