Art. 14 of the constitution is in any way infringed by the impugned Act. This article corresponds to the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the constitution of the United States of America, which declares that “no State shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”. Professor Wills dealing with this clause sums up the law as prevailing in the United States in regard to it in these words:
“Meaning and effect of the guaranty-The guaranty of the equal protection of the laws means the protection of equal laws. It forbids class legislation, but does not forbid classification which rests upon reasonable grounds of distinction. It does not prohibit legislation, which is limited either in the objects to whole it is directed or by the territory within which it is to operate. ‘It merely requires that all persons subjected to such legislation shall be treated alike under like circumstances and conditions both in the privileges conferred and in the liabilities imposed.’ ‘The inhibition of the amendment . . . . was designed to prevent any person or class of persons from being singled out as a special subject for discriminating and hostile legislation.’ It does not take from the states the power to classify either in the adoption of police laws, or tax laws, or eminent domain laws, but permits to them the exercise of a wide scope of discretion, and nullifies what they do only when it is without any reasonable basis. Mathematical nicety and perfects equality are not required. Similarity, not identity of treatment, is enough. If any state of facts can reasonably be conceived to sustain a classification, the existence of that state of facts must be assumed. One who assails a classification must carry the burden of showing that it does not rest upon any reasonable basis.” [Page 579, 1st Edition of “constitutional Law” by Prof. Willis.]
Having summed up the law in this way, the same learned author adds:
“Many different classifications of persons have been upheld as constitutional. A law applying to one person or one class of persons is constitutional if there is sufficient basis or reason for it.”
There can be no doubt that Art. 14 provides one of the most valuable and important guarantees in the constitution which should not be allowed to be whittled down, and, while accepting the statement of Professor Willis as a correct exposition of the principles underlying this guarantee, I wish to lay particular emphasis on the principle enunciated by him that any classification which is arbitrary and which is made without any basis is no classification and a proper classification must always rest upon some difference and must bear a reasonable and just relation to the things in respect of which it is proposed.