Article 15: Discrimination on the basis of Caste (Badaun Gang Rape)

Article 15 Discrimination on the basis of Caste (Badaun Gang Rape)

This article is written by Parveen Kaur, 2nd year Student, at Lovely Professional University, Phagwara (Punjab). This article deals with a detailed explanation of Article 15: Discrimination on the basis of caste (Baduan gang rape).

Introduction

The Indian Constitution guarantees its citizens various fundamental rights and prohibits discrimination based on religion, race, caste, place of birth, or gender. This is a critical right enshrined in Part III of the Indian Constitution under Fundamental Rights. Discrimination based on religion and caste has existed in India for a long time. Discrimination was prevalent throughout India prior to independence, whether in the form of untouchability or the division of upper and lower castes. It still exists today, but the consequences of such discrimination are severe and punishable. India is a diverse country in many ways, including cultural, religious, linguistic, and so on. Discrimination against Dalits (members of the lowest caste) has existed since ancient times. Though it has decreased as laws have evolved and society has changed, we cannot say that India is completely free of discrimination. According to a report released by the Centre for Human Rights and Global Justice and Human Rights Watch, over 165 million Dalits in India face discrimination. “Hidden Apartheid: Caste Discrimination Against India’s Untouchables,” the report was titled.

Even though the report was published in 2007, discrimination and abuse against Dalits continue to exist in India. Discrimination is the most heinous form of torture; it causes feelings of humiliation, mental distress, and social isolation.

Since the inception of the Indian Constitution, the need for and existence of Article 15 has been widely recognized. Article 15 contains five clauses that discuss the types of discrimination that are strictly prohibited. Discrimination is a broad term that encompasses many aspects; it is an unjust treatment. There have been numerous cases of unjust treatment of people from lower castes, such as Dalits. According to surveys, the unfavourable bias against Dalits increased by 6% between 2009 and 2018. There have been reports of various atrocities committed against members of the lower castes. Even with other laws in place to protect them, such as the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989, cruelty against them persists in some parts of India. Lower caste people have faced numerous challenges, including women being raped and other people being killed in protests and caste-related fights.

Article 15 within the constitution of India

Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or location of start

  1. The state shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them
  2. No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction, or condition with regard to
  1. access to shops, public restaurants, hotels, and palaces of public entertainment; or
  2. the usage 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

3. Nothing in this article shall prevent the state from making any special provision for women and children

4. Nothing in this article or in clause (2) of Article 29 shall prevent the state from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes1

Article 15 of the Indian Constitution deals extensively with the protection of Indian citizens from all forms of discrimination. India is a very diverse country with people of various religions, beliefs, languages, cultural differences, and so on. In a country with such diversity, discrimination is unavoidable. Article 15 was established to protect citizens’ rights and interests. It protects Indian citizens from racism, untouchability, religious discrimination, gender discrimination, and other forms of discrimination. Discrimination based on caste is a type of discrimination that is prevalent in India.

The division of lower caste and upper caste is the birth of discrimination and \untouchability, even though untouchability is an offence in India now and abolished, there are still parts of India, where people face untouchability due to a lack of legal awareness and caste beliefs. People classified as lower castes face the most discrimination because they are born into a caste that is perceived to be lower than those born into higher castes, resulting in discrimination.

Article 15 specifically defines such discrimination as an offence, and those found guilty of such an offence are punished and penalised. For the economic advancement of the socially backward classes as a result of discrimination in India prior to independence, The Indian Constitution guarantees reservation to citizens from the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes. By inserting Clause (6) into Article 15, Economically Weaker Sections, another category of weaker sections was added in 2019. (Or the EWS). Article 15 gives people from these groups preference in educational institutions, government jobs, and some private jobs. It is done to provide them with an equal opportunity to advance economically, as they are economically and socially backward due to pre-independence discrimination, struggles, and challenges. Article 15 prohibits discrimination based on gender in addition to backwardness.

Women have been fighting for equal rights and opportunities for a long time, and they are finally being recognised, even though the provisions have been in place since the 1950s. Article 15 deals with the protection of women and special provisions for them in order to achieve the goal of equality stated in the preamble of the Indian Constitution. Women’s rights are widely considered, as society adapts to the changing dynamic. Not only women but also other genders in the LGBTQ+ communities have begun to gain recognition and protection. There is a need for more provisions for the LGBTQ+ communities’ other genders; other than women, they face a lot of discrimination, verbal, and physical abuse. Even their interests were not recognised until 2018 when Section 377 of the IPC was repealed. Other than India, the outbreak and protests for them have been ongoing since 1952, and many nations have accepted and protected them through rights. Racism is another form of discrimination prevalent in India that requires stricter regulations. This paper elaborately explains and discusses the provisions of Article 15, the related case laws that have occurred over the years, as well as a critical analysis of the existing provisions and the need for changes.

Badaun Case Timeline

Initial inquiry

29 May 2014: Baduan SP man Singh says post -mortem found the two girls were raped and died from hanging

1 June 2014: Pappu Yadav, Awdesh Yadav, and Urvesh Yadav were arrested. Two of them confess to committing rape and murder. Police constables Chhatrapal Yadav and Sarvesh Yadav were charged with criminal conspiracy and discharged. One of the doctors, who conducted the autopsy, confesses to never having done an autopsy before.

6 June 2014: SIT set up; investigators visit witnesses in the case.

8 June 2014: UP DGP AL Banerjee says, one of the girls was not raped, says it could be a case of honour killing.

12 June 2014: In a press conference, Banerjee says the girls were strangulated before death, says one of the girls could be murdered over property inheritance issue. He further said that accused could be innocent. Banerjee calls for narco analysis and lie detector test for all those involved.

Timeline of the events when CBI was in charge

12 June 2014 CBI takes and registers on fir 8 July 2014 CBI orders a second autopsy

15 July 2014 CBI reportedly probes the alleged inconsistencies in the statements of the families

Slippers of the oldest girl, said to be crucial evidence in this case, are recovered. polygraph tests determine that the five accused had been telling the truth, however chief witness babu ram fais the polygraph test

17 July 2014 CBI says it would exhume the bodies of the two victims on 20 July 2014 subject is receiving approval from court to conduct another post mortem examination

20 July 2014 exhumation not possible so CBI decides to conduct a DNA analysis 26 august 2014

CBI says they will not file a charge sheet against the accused as forensic tests ruled out of possibility of sexual assault

27 November 2014 after a five-month probe, CBI concludes the two girls were not sexually assaulted and murdered, instead they took their own lives. On the back of phone records, they also conclude that the older girl had an affair with the one of the accused

28 October 2015 POCSO court rejects the CBI closure report2

  1. Incident As first stated

in the wee hours of 28 may 2014, two girls aged 14 and 15 were found hanging from a branch of a mango tree in Katra Sadatganj village. the 2 cousins had long gone missing the preceding evening when they had long past in the fields to relieve themselves.

When they didn’t return late into the night, their families began searching. Early the next day, the girls were found hanging from a tree.

The bills of events that transpired while the hunt become on and the way the police got involved vary notably, casting doubt over the entire research.

Diverse versions of the same tale

  1. According to some reports, the father of one of the victims and uncle of the other, Sohan Lal, said he went to the police station around midnight, begging for help to look for the two girls. But, he said, the two police officers on duty mocked him and did not register an
  2. Another version claims that Babu Ram, a family relative and prime witness in the case, had seen the girls with the main accused, Pappu Yadav, who held them at Babu Ram then apparently ran to alert the family about the abduction, after which they approached the police.
  3. A third version suggests that the family went to Pappu Yadav’s house where he had admitted to abducting the girls, but he refused to release Helpless, the family then approached the police who initially told them that their girls will return home in two hours. After two hours, when the family went back to the station, one of the police officials said that their daughter might be hanging from a tree.

SIT Investigation: Accused Confessed to Murder & Rape

Even hours after the girls’ bodies were discovered, angry villagers did not allow the police to take them down from the mango tree till the suspects had been arrested. Footage of this scene, widely broadcast by the media, infuriated the country. They eventually allowed officials to take down the corpses after the first arrests were made the next day, 28 May, according to The Guardian.

By 1 June, the three main accused – Pappu Yadav, Awdesh Yadav and Urvesh Yadav – had been taken into police custody and had confessed to the rape and murder of the two girls.

Along with that, two police constables were removed from the case and detained. On 6 June 2014, the SIT took over the case.

CBI Probe: The Girls Killed Themselves

Amid national and international outrage, the Uttar Pradesh government transferred the case to the CBI on 12 June 2014. But after they took over, the case became more cumbersome, and not only put the families’ claims under the scanner, but also made the prime witness, Babu Ram, unreliable.

Caste angle through rape

Patriarchy is still a major cause of violence against women. When patriarchy is founded on caste ideals, the magnitude of the violence is frequently shocking. The massacre at Khairlanji and the Badaun incident are not isolated incidents. There may not be this level of violence in every reported incident, but ignoring the caste factor in these cases is criminal. Caste discrimination persists in society, and when a victim is subjected to violence because of his or her caste, Caste Matters.

India is a caste society first and foremost. That has not changed as a result of democracy or a liberal constitution. It is a caste society in which your access to tangible and intangible resources (such as knowledge) and ownership of means of production (such as land) is almost entirely determined by the family you are born into. The 19-year-old girl was born into a Valmiki family and was raped and brutalised while collecting fodder near a bajra field. Shudras and those “below” are not allowed to own land under the caste system designed by and for the elite castes. She and her family are folks who can only support themselves by selling their labour. They build everyone’s homes, plough the fields, clean the latrines, and cremate the dead. They are the workers of the feudal economy. Work that not only takes physical labour but is also seen as “polluted” and “polluting” is prohibited for Dvijas, or people who believe they were born from Brahma’s upper torso. Therefore, a sizable portion of the working class is made up of oppressed castes. When it comes to ownership of land, or to exclusive rights to knowledge, or to surplus from other people’s labour, the ruling castes uphold a nearly pristine “ritual purity.” India’s feudal caste culture is the country’s reality; it burdens even modernised urban areas. That is why it is critical to discuss both the victim’s and the perpetrator’s social location, because their capacity to violate someone is derived from their social relationship. That relationship is decided by who owns what, where, and how—the dyad that binds oppressor and oppressed in a relationship is based on these relations, which are predominantly determined by caste in India. So, it’s an inadequate picture—a criminal denial, in fact—to see cases like the Hathras rape only from a gender perspective, disregarding the fundamental structural prejudices that allow a few communities to exploit and persecute the vast majority of Indian people.

Conclusion

Discrimination is a broad term, and people have faced and struggled as a result of it. One cannot conclude that the existence of laws has ended discrimination because it still exists in many parts of the country. Discrimination based on gender, place of birth, and caste is still prevalent in India, whether it is verbal or physical abuse or other means of denying access. Many provisions are made for the protection of the people, as detailed in this paper, such as reservations, special provisions for children and women, and so on. Case laws based on women’s protection, reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, and Economically Backward Classes have been enacted, and various High Courts and the Supreme Court have issued favourable and convincing judgments in the majority of cases.

Over the years, laws have been enacted to protect people’s rights and prevent discrimination, but the problem persists. The main reasons are that punishments are not strict enough, and people lack adaptability. Acceptance of every human being as equal in society is only done by law; many parts of the world have yet to accept. Human discrimination will end only when what is written in the law is fully accepted by the public. Article 15 prohibits discrimination based on gender in addition to backwardness. Women have been fighting for equal rights and opportunities for a long time, and they are finally being recognised, even though the provisions have been in place since the 1950s. Article 15 deals with the protection of women and special provisions for them in order to achieve the goal of equality stated in the preamble of the Indian Constitution. Women’s rights are widely considered, as society adapts to the changing dynamic.

Reference:

https://www.ijlmh.com/paper/article-15-of-the-indian-constitution-no-discrimination/

https://hwnews.in/news/national-news/caste-crime-from-khairlanji-badaun-to-hathras-what- have-we-learnt/144850/

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/badaun-rape-victims-did-not-belong-to-scst-caste-up- govt/article6075499.ece

https://www.thequint.com/explainers/badaun-alleged-gang-rape-and-murder-case- explained#read-more

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/india-news-heres-why-caste-matters-when-a-dalit- woman-is-raped/361253

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bareilly/badaun-gang-rape-case-temple-priest-the-key- accused-held/articleshow/80164013.cms

https://indiankanoon.org/doc/609295/

https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-3493-article-15-of-the-indian-constitution-an- insight.html

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