Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”(United Nations, 1948). However, as this definition does not relate to any law, various nations across the globe have put a legal standpoint to the definition of equality. ‘Equality’ (or ‘equal’) signifies correspondence between a group of different objects, persons, processes or circumstances that have the same qualities in at least one respect, but not all respects, i.e., regarding one specific feature, with differences in other features (Westen, 1990). Therefore, striving to achieve equality is generally defined as “the incorporation of Equal Opportunities issues into all actions, programmes and policies from the outset” (Rees 1998,). As equality has been a cause of global concern, the new age government keep this aspect in mind each time when they consider a new policy or a law. When we look back historically, we know that human beings have always had the tendency to dominate over the weak. This resulted in the creation of a social structure where some sections became the privileged and other sections were considered less-equality. This craving for power and dominance started contributing to a society where inequality started existing. For example, areas of residences of various groups were demarcated. The affluent and dominating section of the society tried to ensure that the laymen do not live near to their places of residence
To clarify further, we can also define equality in terms of non-discrimination. Equality means the absence of discrimination, and upholding the principle of non-discrimination between groups will produce equality (Dwokin, 1977). Therefore, discrimination can be defined as any act that denies equality that an individual or a group wishes for. It is widely accepted that equality and non-discrimination are positive and negative statements of the same principle (Bayefsky, 1990).
When we talk ...