Women do play major role in shaping the society by providing moral force at home. They have
very unique position at every society whether it is developed, undeveloped or developing.
Women have gained a lot in almost every field. It is said that to understand things in a better
manner we need look upon the history.
There was a time in history when women were forced to
live within the four walls and they were not even allowed to raise their opinion. Now, in the
modern days we find woman in every campaign and both men and women are bread earner of
the family. Both the spouses are sharing the responsibilities and the stereotypical roles placed on
women are slowly dissolving. Women are the embodiment of Shakti, the Creator and the Destroyer of human race.
Since Independence the position of Indian women is no better. On one
hand she is held high, worshiped, considered as the epitome of virtues and the one who could
just sacrifice everything for their family. But on the other hand she has been the victim of
miseries, hardships and atrocities that are caused due the male dominating society. They are most
deprived and backward section of the society. She had been the victim of tyranny.
As a solution
to every problems mainly the gender discrimination, women empowerment is the need of hour. It
is high time to provide women equal rights, opportunities in decision making and they should be
recognized as the builders and moulders of the nation's destiny.
"The day a woman can walk freely on the roads at night, that day we can say that India has
achieved independence." - Mahatma Gandhi
According to a report published by United Nations in 1980 it was found that women do
constitute the half of the world's total population. They do perform nearly about two-thirds of
work hours and they receive one tenth of the world's income. They own less than one hundred
percent of the world's property.1
According to the Apex Court of India's observation in the case Madhu krishna v. State of
Bihar 2 women constitute half of the Indian population. They have always been the discriminated
section of the society and have suffered a lot. In spite, the number of sacrifices they have been treated as the inferiors.
With the aim to provide women protection against their sufferings, the framers of the Indian
Constitution have incorporated special provisions. These provisions would enable a woman to
develop in all spheres of life.
The preamble of our constitution is non- discriminatory where all sections are treated equally and
alike. But when we look at the history of India, suppression of women is very old and long. The
framers have historically examined the situation and incorporated provisions with the view to
grant equal status to women in terms of all spheres.3
The preamble of the Indian Constitution declares social, economic and political justice to all its
citizens. The mentioning of the terms simply means that neither men nor women should be
denied from the fruits of justice.
Social Justice when interpreted simply means that larger goal
must be achieved and nobody should be deprived of their legal rights. It also means that state
should make all those positive laws that are required for the development of society. The
expression "social and economic" means that all should have equal opportunities and injustice
should not be done even to unequal of the society.4
The Part III5 of the India Constitution primarily deals with fundamental rights. Even though
Articles 12-35 are applicable to all citizens and no discrimination is made on the basis of sex but
certain special provisions has been made for the protection of rights of the women.
Article 14 of the Indian Constitution guarantees equality before law and equal protection of the
law. Thus, a woman of the Indian society enjoys same treatment and protection to that of men as
guaranteed by Indian Constitution. Article 15 of the Indian Constitution prohibits discrimination
When we talk about clause 1 of Article 15 it states that state should not make
any discrimination against any citizen mainly on the grounds of religion, caste, sex of place or
any of them. On the other hand, Article 15(3) lifts that ignominy and permits the state will not
hesitate to make positive discriminatory laws for women to meet up their special needs.
intention of the f framers could be seen that in order to protect the interest of women such
specific clause has been inserted. The concept of Article 15(3) was justified by Honorable Justice
He observed that clause 3 of Article 15 recognises that fact that women have been
deprived of their rights since ages and they have been socially and economically handicapped.
Dr. G.B Reddy also stated that clause 3 of Article 15 is in favour of women and states are
empowered to make special provisions to ameliorate their social, economic and political
condition. The object of the Article 15(3) is to eliminate socio- economic backwardness of
women.6 Again in the case of Charan Singh v Union of India,
The Honorable Court observed:
that women should be treated as class and their social, economic and political condition should
be compared with men.
Article 16 talks about equal opportunity in matters of public employment and Article 16(1) states
that no discrimination should be made in opportunity and employment to any office under state.
In the case, C.B. Muthamma v Union of India
,8 the rules requiring female employees to get
permission before marriage and denial of right to employment to married women were held to be
discriminatory and violative of Article-16 of the Indian Constitution.
Now Article 16(4) talks
about empowerment of the backward and deprived communities to give them proper share in
administrative apparatus. Here the question may arise that whether women are included in the
deprived and backward community.
Talking into account their condition, position and status they
fulfill almost all the characteristics and hence they must be given benefit.
Article 19 to 22 deals with right to freedom that must be guaranteed to both men and women.
Article 21 states that:
No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except by the procedure established by law.
This section has been widely interpreted in Maneka Gandhi's Case
Article 23 of the Indian Constitution talks about prohibits human trafficking. In the case,
Jeet v Union of India
,10 the court observed that trafficking in India is prevalent since ages in the
form of prostitution and buying and selling of human beings. And every citizen as per Articles 32
to 35 has right to constitutional remedies.
Now taking into consideration the above discussion certain questions may arise.
- Can a woman be denied a job merely because she is a woman?
In the landmark case, Air India v. Nargesh Meerza11, the Apex Court held that
woman should not be denied employment merely on the ground that she is a woman. It is gross
violation of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution.
- Can a person be denied of seniority promotion on the ground of sex?
The same question arose and was Indian Foreign Service was challenged in the
case Miss C.B. Muthamma v. Union of India.12 It was held by the court that rules relating to
seniority and promotions in India Foreign Services which makes discrimination on the ground of
sex only was not only unconstitutional but also a hangover of masculine culture.
- Whether beauty contests are violation of constitutional provisions?
This question arouse in the case of C. Rajakumari v. Commissioner of Police,
The Honorable Court held that beauty contest that is likely to degrade, deprive,
corrupt or injure the public mortality is violative of Articles 14, 21 and 51-A of the Indian
- Can a woman make reproductive choice?
The Honorable Supreme Court in the case of Suchita Srivastava and Another v. Chandigarh Administration
14 observed that women do have right to make
choice and is covered under Article 21.
- Can there be reservation of seats for women in college?
The Honorable Bombay High Court in Dettatreya v. State of Bombay,
15 held that reservation of seats for women in college in not unconditional.
- What is the relation between immoral trafficking and the Indian
Article 23 of the Indian Constitution prohibits human trafficking. In the case,
Vishal Jeet v Union of India,16 the court observed that trafficking in India is prevalent
since ages in the form of prostitution and buying and selling of human beings.
- Can a mother act as a natural guardian during the lifetime of father?
The Apex Court in the case, Githa Hariharan v. Reserve Bank of India17 held that
father cannot alone was the natural guardian which was violation of Articles 14 and 15
of the Indian Constitution. Hence, the mother can also be the natural guardian during the
lifetime of father.
Directive Principles Of State Policy
Under the Constitution of India, 1950 the concept of directive principles of state policy is the reflection of democratic governance.The Constitution in Part IV18 directs the state to take certain
remedial measures. The policy includes equal rights to work, equal pay for equal work, adequate
means of decent and dignified livelihood to both men and women.
These are guaranteed under
the directive principles of State policy. Article 38, 39(a), 39(b) and 39(e), 42, 44 and 45 deals
with the welfare and development of women.
- Principle of "equal work" is a constitutional goal
The Honorable Court in Randhir Singh v. Union of India,
19 expressed the opinion that the principle of "equal work" is not a constitutional right guaranteed by the
constitution but a constitutional goal. Article 39(d) declares that State must direct measures to
ensure equal work for both men and women.
- Right as to plurality of marriage is not conferred on husband
In the case Lily Thomas v. Union of India,
20 it was settled that mere conversion does not bring to an end the marital
ties unless a decree for divorce is obtained from the court
- Protection of women from prostitution and rehabilitation of their
In a landmark case of Gaurav Jain v. Union of India,
21 the court held that it is the duty of government and voluntary non- governmental
organizations to take all necessary
steps for protection of women from prostitution and rehabilitation of their children. They
must be provided opportunity for education, financial support, legal aid and free
In the post-Independence period the Indian Constitution has extended and several special
provisions were made for the women. The states are continuously directed to take measures for
the empowerment of women. Several legislations are enacted to bring the position of women not
only at par with men but also they have been granted privileged position against men.
provisions, acts, legislations, etc. clearly mentions that steps have been taken to uplift the women
but the condition still remained unimproved because there is no satisfactory result. The nation
has long way to go as the real issues remain unattended.
- Dr. S.C. Tripathi, Women and Criminal Law 15 (Central Law Publications,
Allahabad, 2nd Edn, Reprint 2020
- (1956) 5 SCC 148
- Preamble of the Indian Constitution, available: (https://doj.gov.in/sites/default/files/preamble-eng.pdf
last visited 30th October, 2021)
- Part III of the Indian Constitution, 1950, available at: (https://www.mea.gov.in/Images/pdf1/Part3.pdf
last visited 31st October, 2021)
- Government of Andhra Pradesh v. P.B. Vijay Kumar AIR 1995 SC 1648 at p. 1651
- (1979) S. L. J. 26 at P. 32
- AIR 1979 SC 1868
- AIR 1978 SC 597
- AIR 1990 SC 1412
- AIR 1981 SC 1829
- AIR 1979 SC 1868
- AIR 1998 A.P. 302
- 2009 (9) SCC 1
- AIR 1953 Bom. 311
- Supra Note 6
- AIR 1999 SC 1149
- Part IV of Indian Constitution, available at: (https://www.mea.gov.in/Images/pdf1/Part4.pdf
last visited 31st
- AIR 1982 SC 879
- AIR 2000 SC 1650
- AIR 1997 SC 3201