17 Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 193 (1985-1986)
American Influence on the Indian Constitution: Focus on Equal Protection of the Laws

handle is hein.journals/colhr17 and id is 199 raw text is: American Influence on the Indian
Constitution: Focus on Equal
Protection of the Laws
by
Robert B. Charles*
INTRODUCTION
The United States Constitution and the United States Supreme Court's
interpretation of this document have had a profound influence upon the devel-
opment of constitutional democracy in India. While many Asian countries reflect,
directly and indirectly, the influence of the American Bill of Rights and the
institution of judicial review,' no other nation has had a polity more receptive
to the fundamental rights enshrined in the American Constitution, nor a judiciary
more conscientious in its attempt to guard those rights, than India. Of all the
fundamental rights incorporated into the Indian Constitution, the right to equal
protection of the laws2 has been, in many respects, the guarantee of greatest
importance to the people of the world's largest democracy.
This note will focus on the Indian and American conceptions of equality;
the degree to which Indian constitutional framers depended upon American text
and personalities for guidance; and the close attention which Indian courts have
paid to American Supreme Court decisions in the area of equal protection.
Part One will discuss the concept of equality as it has developed in India
and America. Part Two will trace the pre-1950 influence of U.S. Supreme Court
decisions, academicians, policy-makers and individual members of the American
judiciary, upon the framing of the Indian Constitution. Part Three will focus
upon post-1950 equal protection decisions in the United States and their influence
upon the development of equal protection analysis in India. Finally, Part Four
will conclude with a statement on the extent of American influence on the
development of India's constitutional democracy.
I. SIMILAR CONCEPTS OF EQUALITY IN INDIA AND THE UNITED STATES
Both the American and Indian Constitutions guarantee to every person equal
protection of the laws. The United States Constitution provides this guarantee
.  B.A. (1982) Dartmouth College; M.A. (1984) New College, Oxford University; J.D.
(1987) Columbia University. During summer 1985, the author assisted local counsel in bringing
equal protection claims on behalf of untouchables before village tribunals in Southern India.
Subsequently, he assisted the Former Solicitor General at the Supreme Court of India, New Delhi.
I. See L. BEER, CONSTITUTIONALISM IN ASIA (1979).
2. No State shall deny to any person . . . the equal protection of the laws. U.S.
CONST. amend. XIV, S 1.

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