Private discrimination, public service and the constitution

July 16, 2021 | Thulasi K. Raj

In this article published by Indian Law Review, Thulasi K Raj argues for a renewed interpretation of Article 15(2) in the light of the Supreme Court judgment in IMA case.




This paper enquires into the scope of protection against private discrimination under the Indian Constitution. I study three arguments on how to interpret Article 15(2). I consider the plain linguistic argument and reject it, since it has been abandoned by the Supreme Court to interpret provisions on discrimination. I then apply the “public actor” principle to Article 15(2) and argue that it is vulnerable to objections. Thirdly, I consider the “economic goods” principle by Gautam Bhatia and argue that it too is unsuitable. I then develop my positive proposal of “public service” introduced by the Supreme Court in the IMA case and discuss its components. For a service to qualify as public service, it must both be vital to social life and capable of securing dignity to the individual. I argue that this is the best interpretation of Article 15(2) and deserves to be treated as such.


Thulasi K. Raj, 'Private discrimination, public service and the constitution' (Indian Law Review , 16 Jul 2021) <> accessed on 24 May 2024