article 18 of the Indian Constitution – Abolition of Titles
Article 18 of the Indian constitution is the abolition of titles.
4 Provisions Under Article 18
- It prohibits the state from conferring any titles (except military or academic distinction) on anybody, whether a citizen or foreigner.
- It prohibits a citizen of India from accepting any title from any foreign state.
- A foreigner holding any office of profit or trust under the state cannot accept any title from any foreign state without the consent of the President.
- No citizen or a foreigner holding any office of profit or trust under the state is to accept any present, emolument, or office from or under any foreign State without the consent of the President.
Titles banned under Article 18
Hereditary and Nobility Titles like:
- Raj Bahadur
- Rai Bahadur
- Rai Saheb
- Dewan Bahadur etc
All the above titles were conferred by the Colonial States and were banned by Article 18 as these are against the principle of equal status of all.
Types of National awards
National awards also known as Padma Awards are regarded as decoration & not titles & the awardees are not allowed to use them as a suffix or prefix with their name.
The national awards are instituted in 1954. The Janata Party Government headed by Morarji Desai discontinued them in 1977. But they were again revived in 1980 by the Indira Gandhi government.
Supreme Court on National Awards
In 1996, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of the National awards
The Supreme court said that National Awards do not amount to ‘titles’ within the meaning of Article 18 that prohibits only hereditary titles of nobility.
Therefore, they are not violative of Article 18 as the theory of equality does not mandate that merit should not be recognized.
Any title given cannot be used in prefix or suffix with the name.
The title given is not a title to the person but is a recognition of one’s work in a particular area.
Using it along with a name will be a violation of Article 18 of the right to equality.
Exception – Military and Academic distinction.
Example: Dr. (Doctor) Col. (Colonel) are not illegal if used along with the name.
Question – Can someone accept the title from another country?
Answer – Yes, provided they have permission from the State. But still one cannot use it along with the name.
Note – Explanation is for understanding only.
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