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TOPIC -WOMEN’S RIGHTS - INDIAN CONSTITUTION

Updated: Dec 4, 2021

Author: Arti, II Year of B.A.LL.B(Hons.) From Geeta Institute Of Law, Panipat.

Co-author: Divya, II Year of B.A.LL.B(Hons.) From Geeta Institute Of Law, Panipat.


ABSTRACT

In the primitive society, women's rights have been exploited and they faced domestic violence, coercion, discrimination, abduction, rape crimes and many more. In the primitive society there had been male dominance due to which women have to remain under restrictions and have to follow a few certain norms or rules and regulations. The principles of gender equality are cherished in Indian constitution. The Constitution grants equality to women as well as prohibits the discrimination against women.


CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS FOR WOMEN'S RIGHTS

The constitution provides certain provisions to the state for adopting some measures in favor of women. The articles protecting the rights of the women are:

  1. Article 14(equality before law)

  2. Article 15 (prohibition of discrimination on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth)

  3. Article 16(equality of opportunity in matter of public employment)

  4. Article 39(a) (equal justice and free legal aid)

Article 39 (d) (equal work pay for both men and women)

  1. Article 42 (provision for just and humane condition of work and maternity relief)

  2. Article 46 (promotion of educational and economic interests of scheduled caste, scheduled tribe and other weaker section)

  3. Article 47 (duty of the state to rise to the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health)

  4. Article 51(a) (fundamental duties)

  5. Article 243(d), Article 243(t) reservation of seats

Some crimes which are particularly against women are categorized as "crime against women”. We need provisions in the Indian Constitution for the protection of women. These provisions act as a safeguard for women. Apart from the constitutional rights we also have legal rights. For example, Protection of women from domestic violence act (2005), commission of Sati act (1987), medical termination of pregnancy act (1971), equal remuneration act,(1976).


INTRODUCTION

Before the Indian Constitution Indian males were suppressing females by the way of polygamy, child marriage, sati paratha and they used to burn the window and denying them to enjoy their proper rights. The status of women has improved after the existence of the Indian constitution. Separate school and colleges have been established for women and they are being encouraged. The conditions of women have improved from the primitive stage. In present context, females in India have started participating in all fields like education, sports, medical fields, military fields, science and technology etc. There are many acts and provisions that have made by the government of India for the protection and benefits of women. In the constitution of India, the legal security has been established for the economic social and cultural welfare. The Constitution of India prohibits the discrimination against the individual on the ground of religion, race, caste etc..and have provided equal opportunity to all.


ARTICLES THAT HAVE ADDED IN THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS


Article 14

According to this article, there should be absence of special privileges to any person and no one is above the law. This article also provides the equality of treatment under similar circumstances and the like should be treated alike without any discrimination. So this provision also creates the equal protection for women so that they will not be discriminate on the basis of their gender and should be treated equally.

In the leading case, the fundamental right of working women comes under article 14, 19, 21 of constitution of India sexual harassment violates the fundamental right of the women under article 14 of the Indian constitution.

In August 2017 the judges of Supreme Court gave their decision in the triple Talaq case and they state that the practice of triple Talaq was unconstitutional and the bench observes that the right to equality comes under article 14 of the constitution and is fundamental right which manifested equality. The basic rule of law is that it is States gender equality and gender equity Article 14.


In the recent case Supreme Court voids Rakhi for bail over High court judgments and directed to High court that judges shouldn't use any word that shows the impartiality and gender biases of the court. As it is against the right to equality under article 14 of the Indian constitution.


Article 15

This article specially bans the state from discriminating any citizen of India on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.


In the landmark case, there is the prohibition of entry of women in the temple due to biological factors which violates the article 14 article 15, 17 under Constitution. Women haven't been allowed to enter into the temple when they are menstruating according to Hindu tradition and considered them impure.


So a plea has filed in the Kerala High court for seeking a ban of women’s entry in the temple but the high court put the age restrictions for entering into temples. In 2018 the Supreme Court allows the entry of women in Sabarimala temple. Here in this case the Supreme Court has shown that the equality and morality is above than any other principle.


State is not prevented from making special provisions for women and children. Itshow economic backwardness and provide women empowerment. That's why positive discrimination affirmative provisions must be reasonable example reservation in local bodies and in some states, Provision for free education.


Article 16

Article 16 of Indian constitution provides equal opportunities to all the citizens for employment in public sector. Article 16(1) provides equal opportunities to the citizens or appointment to anyoffice under the state. There is an obligation on the work of employer for equal pay for equal work.


Similarly, in the case of women, they should also be treated with equal pay for equal work as like the male members of the society. Equal pay for equal work is also a directive principle in Indian constitution. Equality of work was no longer being treated as character of work done but it is related to the position on which the workers work.


In the case, the high court of madras declared the provision of factories act, 1948 to be unconstitutional as it violates article 14, 15 and 16 of Indian constitution and allowed women in factories during night shifts as all the measures taken by the state government including redressed of complained of sexual harassment by a women and includes the provision of transportation facilities during the night and it give the direction to promote gender diversity at work place.


Article 39

According to article 39 of the Indian constitution the state would provide adequate mean livelihood to every person including women and have to provide equal pay for equal work for women empowered.


That another very important judgment passed by honorable supreme court in which it was held that there should be no discrimination on the basis of sex, and same pay have to be given despite of the fact that employ is men or women even otherwise by equal treatment has to be given to our citizens without making any difference on basis of caste, creed or sex.


Article 42

This article covers to more important components that is related to workplace and maternity relief full stop if a person is working in a construction site then the workers should be provided with the facilities which is necessary there and for women’s they allowed to take maternity leave and will be paid full salary. This provision directs the benefit of women.


The main issue before Delhi high court was that weather the petitioner would suffer merely because maternity leave availed by her and for that she was to suffer six months’ delay in her final exams. The point be arising here that when in constitution equal rights are given to each and every one despite of belonging to any creed, or sex then while the petitioner would get her degree after delay. The honorable high court allowed the petition and stated that “if see otherwise fulfills all necessary requirements and there is no other impediment then her right to undertake the final examination in December, 2018 ". The writ petition of petitioner was aloud and hence she was provided the opportunity of getting her exam without any discrimination.


Article 46

Article 46 constitutes specific to women who includes the rights like equal opportunity to have access to all the level of responsibility, provision of violence against women. Article 46 includes the rides that the state shall guarantee and protects the right of the women within the family and give women's equal opportunity like men. The state works for the measures in order to prohibit the violence against women. Article 46 also talks about the political right that a woman allows to effectively exercise these rights.


This section promotes the economic growth and educational interests of the weaker section. The states have to protect them from all kinds of social injustice and from their exploitation.


In the case, Madras high court giving reference of another case passed a very important judgment on article 46, the problem involved in that case was that petitioner was facing discrimination on the ground of caste, sex and due to that government order she was facing the discrimination the madras high court while deciding the matter stated that the state was not right by passing any such order cannot over rule the fundamental principle contain in article 46 as they were bound to follow it. The high court further stated that they is considerable force in the arguments advanced on behalf of petitioner and there is substantial question of law involving in the case and it was confirmed.


Article 51 (1)

Article 51A (e) specify about that every citizen by way of fundamental duty the responsibility to renounce p practices derogatory to the dignity of the women.

In Aruna Roy vs. Union of India the validity of national curriculum framework for school education was challenged on the ground that it violates article 21 of the constitution and the court held that article 51A (e) provides that the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women accordingly in this case court held that the education is neither wallets article 28 of the constitution nor it is against the secularism.


Article 243

Article 243 D (3) states that there should be reserved seats for women of the scheduled caste and scheduled tribes in the panchayat election with rotation to different constituencies.


Article 243 D (4) states that there should be reservations for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and women in panchayats at the village for the post of chairperson.


Article 243 T (3) provides that there should be one third of the reservation for women in the municipality's direct election and the seats may be allotted by rotation two different constituencies in the municipality. Article 243 T (4) provides that the women shall have reservation in the office of chairperson in the municipality.


In Saraswati Devi versus Shanti Devi under the provision of Haryana municipal act 1973, the appellant was elected from a ward reserved for SC women and responded was elected from a ward for general women. Academy frication made by the order of the government provided where a single member was elected on SC seat in municipality she should be deemed to be elected. The respondent claim's that she was also entitled to contest the election for the seat of the president because she was S.C. and held to be not maintainable because she was not elected on the seat reserved for SC women full stop the appointment of appellant was held to be constitutional and valid. Since the appellant belonging to the SC's category, her appointment as president was constitutional valid.


SPECIAL INITIATIVES FOR WOMEN

National commission for women

The government set up this body for the protection of women. It works as a legal safeguard and ensure the implementation of the safeguards. Most of the women work under patriarchal ethos and mainly the women living in urban areas have benefited from the constitutional provisions. Objectives are:

  1. It reviews the legal and constitutional safeguards for women.

  2. It aware the government as well as the individuals about the coming legislation measures and recommends them.

  3. It suggests the policies regarding to women.

  4. It helped in the redressed of grievances.

It also suggests the government regarding the policies for women’s and organize awareness workshops. National commission of women is mainly nominated by the central government and all the necessary amendments are made by the National commission for women. It shows the points relating to the matter of humans rights. Hidden shows the integrity and development of the women's. It also educates them about their rights and liberty. Most of the women in the ruler areas are uneducated and this commission helps them to address their rights.


Reservation for women in local self-government

The 73rd constitutional amendment act was passed in 1992 and it provides one third of the reservation of total seeds for women in local bodies’ weather in rural areas or in urban areas. Reservation of seats for women in local governance gives human much needed exposure and lead to empowerment. There was also witnessed a marked improvement in social parameters like health and education. This also improved women participation in governance and Nation building.


The national plan of action for the girl child

This ensure the protection and development of the girl child and the objective of this is the better future for the girl child. The foremost objective of this action plan is to reduce the number of death of the girls under the age group of 5 years. Some of the savings scheme for the girl child are Sukanya samriddhi Yojana, CBSE udaan scheme, National scheme of incentive to girls for secondary education etc.


National policy for the empowerment of women, 2001

It involves all the forms of violence against women it can be physical violence or mental violence. It ensures the gender equality and enable political empowerment of women, so that women can claim their rights. It was prepared why the ministry of women and child development in 2001. Example of the women empowerment schemes are one stop centre scheme, working women hostels, nari Shakti puraskars etc.


WHY WOMEN EMPOWERMENT IS NECESSARY?

These are some article which helps in the development of the women and make up half of the country so in order to make the country and entirely powerful country women empowerment is very necessary the individual and the government must come together to make it happen. Education for girls must be made compulsory so that women can become literate to make the life for themselves. The constitution of India not only grants equality to women but also aware an individual about their rights.


Women Empowerment is vital issue that needs action on urgent bases. Gender equality is most important part of human development by UNDP. The rank of India is 130 for gender inequality among different countries. Only 27%of female population within the age group of 25 years and above and some secondary education and the context of male in the same age group is 56.6%. According to 2011 census of India, about 10% of the girls within the age group of 15-18 year were already married and this is one of the major’s incidents of violence. A Women Empowerment is the process that creates power in women to live a respected and pleasant life.  History says that women were illiterate. The Sati Pratha and girl child abortion is that issued which we are facing in the present scenario in some backward area of India. This problem can be solved with the help of government. It can also be solved at individual level by start respecting women by giving them equal opportunity like men. We can encourage them for education, for jobs. Here in India, the government has launched various schemes like “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yogana”, “Mahila-e-haat”, and “Mahila Shakti Kendra”.


We all talked about the women's empowerment and gender equality. But firstly we have to see that where we stand in context of women as compared to other countries.


CONDITIONS OF THE WOMEN IN INDIA vs. THE REST OF THE WORLD

Women look really good and safe but just on paper. India has passed lots of loss for women that protect them from Sati Pratha, sexual harassments, child marriage, indecent representation of women, domestic violence and specific government schemes like National commission of women act, equal remuneration act etc. but why the women in India is still struggling?

The America was never ready for women president. But here in India, we have seen a female prime minister in 1966 and a President in 2007, 2 female Lok Sabha speaker and 16 women chief ministers of different states. Due to one third reservation in gram panchayat, women have 25 to 40% of reservation in Indian politics. But the women's representation of parliament is just 12% and 88% of men. Women’s rank in parliament is 149 in all over the world. Only 48% of the women in India who have completed basic 5-year primary education have found to be illiterate. Women in India outshined by countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal.


Women made only 27% of workplace in 2016 as compared to 35% of the participation in 1990. India has the third highest paid maternity leave policy in the world only after Canada and Norway but the problem is that this is not applied to the women working inunorganized sector example work health and in organized sector the employers are skeptical because the government doesn't provide them any monetary help. Access to abortion is legal permission before 20 weeks of pregnancy in India in fact the countries like Chile, Malta, El Salvador there doesn't allow abortion at all and under the GST law the sanitary pad is also been heavily taxed with 12%GST.


India is considered as a dangerous place for women’s even before they are born. Everyday around 2,000 girls are killed in the womb or immediately after birth. That's why our sex ratio is 943:1000 for men and women. This is a reason of India's lower sex ratio than other countries like Turkey, Mozambique and many more. Even we have many rows but there are still 34000 cases of rape in India every year. Sexual harassment, abuse makes the India, the fourth most dangerous country for women in the world. So the government of India has to me the enforcement agency more approachable. Individual can make efforts by to be informed and inform others.


Conclusion

Indian constitution provides the same right to women and the men. For the achievement of the constitutional goal of equality, the women have provided the rights to ensure their development and educational opportunities. Sacred and statutory rights are provided to the women by the constitution of India. For the betterment and the development of the society, rights is necessary for the women. And the women nowadays have started participating in in education, sports, politics, medical engineering and technology etc. But in some places of India women disappearing from their marital home and it is one of the major criminal act against women. One of the most crucial reason is human trafficking. To stop all that things, we all have to empower women and remain inform and to spread the awareness to others.