Equity | Equality UPSC | Rule of Law UPSC | Difference between Equity and Equality | IAS TARGET IAS Target

Rule of Law, Equity and Equality

The rule of law: "The authority, influence, and control of law in society, particularly when viewed as a limitation on individual & institutional behavior; therefore all members of a society (including those in incumbent government) are considered equally subject to openly disclosed legal codes & processes."
"The rule of law" is a political situation, not any specific legal rule. The term "the rule of law" can be the trail to sixteenth-century Great Britain, and in the following century, the Scottish scholar Samuel Rutherford employed it in arguing opposing the divine right of kings.
John Locke, an English philosopher & political theorist, wrote that freedom in society means being subject only to laws made by a law-making body, i.e., a legislature that applies to everyone. A person is otherwise free from both governmental and private restrictions upon liberty. 
The Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote: 
"The rule of law is more established, that law should be in charge than any one of the citizens." The rule of law inferred that every person is subject to the law, including people who are lawmakers, law enforcement officials, and judges. It stands in opposition to a monarchy or oligarchy where the rulers are above the law. The absence of the rule of law can be found in both democracies and monarchies, for instance, because of unawareness, neglect, or ignorance of the law. The rule of law is more prone to decay if a government has inadequate corrective mechanisms for restoring it.


Equity or economic equality refers to the concept or idea of fairness in economics, particularly with respect to taxation or welfare economics. More categorically, it may refer to equal life chances, nevertheless of identity, to provide all citizens with a basic & equal minimum of income, goods, and services, or to increase funds and commitment for redistribution.
Example of Equity includes:
  • Common stock,
  • additional paid-in capital,
  • preferred stock,
  • retained earnings and
  • the accumulated other comprehensive income.


The belief inequality is a major assumption of a self-governing society. Equality does not entail complete equality. In general terms, equality refers to full equality of treatment and award for all. It is demanded as natural equality. It is thought that all human beings are born natural and free. Nonetheless, despite a strong emotional appeal to the hearts of people, the concept of natural and absolute equality of all cannot be fully acknowledged and realized. Men are neither same in respect of their physical appearance nor in respect of their mental abilities. Some people are stronger, others weaker, and some are more intelligent and capable than others. Actually, equality means that all people must have equal opportunities for development. In fact, when we talk of equality for all people, we really mean general and fair equality and not absolute equality.
 The term equality used in political science differs from uniformity, identity, and sameness. Some people, of course, want to use it to denote uniformity. But this does not convey the meaning when it is used by political scientists. Equality does not mean the obliteration of diversity.

Difference Between Equity and Equality

Equity Equality
Equity refers to fairness, justice and impartiality Equality refers to equal sharing and division, keeping everyone at the same level
Equity= Fairness and justice Equality meaning Sameness
Equity is need based approach Equality is unaffected by the need of the people or society.
It justifies things on the basis of quality It justifies things on the basis of quantity
It focuses on need and requirement of an individual. Thus, known as need based approach It gives the same thing to all the people, irrespective of their needs.
Equity makes sure what is needed and in which quantity to an individual Equality does not look at what is required for an individual person.
Equity is the means/process Equality is the outcome/end result of the process
Equity is subjective. It differs from situation to situation and from person to person Equality is measurable. It does not vary and neither matter whoever looks at it
It identifies the differences and tries to reduce the gap between the groups It is the indifference to the differences or gaps between two or more groups
Equity is positive discrimination Equality might give rise to harmful discrimination.
People are treated fairly but differently People are treated equally but maybe unfairly.
Here, people can get what they need As per Equality, people will only get what everyone else gets.
Equity cannot be achieved through equality Equality can be achieved through equity
It looks everyone differently Do not look at everyone differently
Proper analysis of the existing situation is needed to practice equity No such as analysis is needed is needed to practice equality
Equity can work even if people do not start from the same point Equality can only work if each and everyone starts from the same place.
Equity is taking a rationale and logical decision Equality is treated chiefly equally irrespective of being rational or not.
Example 1 In a family, giving different quantity of food to all the family member as per their age, level of physical activity and dietary requirement and need is equality Example 1 In a family, giving equal quantity of food to all the family members irrespective of their requirement of each of them is equity
Example 2 Providing extra classes to the weak students Example 2 Same classes for all the students OR extra classes for all the students irrespective of their grades