The Anti-Discrimination and Equality Bill 2016, which was drafted in consultation with Tarunabh Khaitan, Associate Professor and Hackney Fellow in Law at Wadham College, was introduced by Member of the Indian Parliament and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on 10 March 2017.
The bill draws on the freedoms and protections guaranteed by the Indian Constitution and brings them to bear on a range of contemporary issues.
As well as addressing minority communities, the bill takes into account the challenges faced by the majorities as well, creating a comprehensive framework to remedy a variety of injustices.
Apart from reiterating the Indian Constitutional commitment to affirmative action, the Bill expressly protects employees, students, tenants, and senior citizens from being discriminated against in the spheres of work, housing, education, professional opportunities and medical facilities.
By making anti-discrimination a principle that applies to people from all walks of life, race, religion, caste, gender, sexual preference and ethnicity, the bill seeks to highlight the universality of Indian Law’s aspiration to equality.
In the Statement of Objects and Reasons attached to the Bill, Shashi Tharoor commented: “The Constitution of India promises justice, liberty, equality and fraternity to all our citizens. However, discrimination denies these cherished constitutional promises. Cases of discrimination continue to be witnessed in all spheres of social, economic and political life.”
Speaking to LiveLaw.In, Tarunabh Khaitan commented: “I hope the Indian government will acknowledge the urgency of the issue of discrimination faced by millions of Indians and take ownership of the Bill.”