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Q1. In a democracy, why is Universal Adult Franchise important?
Ans: Universal adult franchise is important in a democracy because it is based on the idea of equality. The citizens are assured that everyone has one vote irrespective of their gender or socio-economic status.
Q2. Re-read the box on Article 15 and state two ways in which this Article addresses inequality?
Ans: Article 15 addresses inequality on two fronts. It prohibits the state from practicing it and tells the society to not do it.
Q3. In what ways was Omprakash Valmiki’s experience similar to that of the Ansari's?
Ans: Omprakash Valmiki was discriminated against on the account of his caste, while the Ansaris were discriminated against on account of their religion. The core similarity is that they both were discriminated against because of their birth, which is prohibited under Article 15. Omprakash Valmiki was not allowed to sit with his fellow classmates on account of his birth as a Dalit and was made to sweep the school and its environs, thus hurting his dignity. The Ansari’s were denied a flat to rent, as their religion differed to those of others, who were in majority among the occupants of the apartment complex.
Q4. What do you understand by the term “all persons are equal before the law”? Why do you think it is important in a democracy?
Ans: The term “all persons are equal before the law” states that all citizens, irrespective of their social or economic background, have to obey the same laws. No person shall be discriminated against in the eyes of the law on the grounds of race, religion, caste or gender.
The very essence of democracy is the idea of equality, as it gives equal and if not important recognition to all. It would never have existed in the first place if there were inequalities on the basis of race, religion and gender etc.
Q5. "The Government of India passed the Disabilities Act in 1995. This law states that persons with disabilities have equal rights, and that the government should make possible their full participation in society. The government has to provide free education and integrate children with disabilities into mainstream schools. This law also states that all public places including buildings, schools, etc., should be accessible and provided with ramps".
Look at the photograph and think about the boy who is being carried down the stairs. Do you think the above law is being implemented in this case? What needs to be done to make the building more accessible for him? How would his being carried down the stairs affect his dignity as well as his safety?
Ans: The law is not being implemented in his case. To make the building more accessible to him wheelchair ramps should be constructed. Being carried down the stairs is unsafe because he might slip and fall from his wheelchair. At the same time, it injures his dignity because he has to rely on others thereby making him conscious of his disability.