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06 Dec


In the constitution, the compensatory theme appears juxtaposed with the theme of formal equality. The provisions for compensatory preferences appear as exceptions within a framework of enforceable fundamental rights which attempt to curtail the significance of ascriptive groups and to guarantee equal treatment to the individual. But the attack on discrimination, private and public is only one facet of the constitutional scheme to secure equality. The constitution also directs the government to undertake special measures for the advancement of backward groups. In addition to provisions for reservation in government employment and legislative representation, the constitution declares as a DPSP that:
“The state shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and in particular of the schedule castes and the exploitation.” (Article 46) scheduled tribes and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of The
issue of social justice versus equality of opportunity is beset with a number of problems to be sorted out. In loose and broad terms, social justice may be defined as the right of the weaker- the aged, destitute, poor women, children and other underprivileged persons. The state is expected to protect these sections against ruthless competition of life and help them in such a manner as they may enjoy this equal opportunity with the more advance and stronger sections. As Andre Beteille rightly points out, “there is also a difference between formal and substantive equality of opportunity. Formal equality of opportunity requires us to disregard distinctions based on caste, community and gender, but we have reintroduced those distinctions in order to secure substantive equality of opportunity.” Equality and distributive justice are universal concern in the modern world and it has been said that these concern were activated among Indians by their exposure to the world outside, particularly the western world.

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