The question “Explain the constitutional perspectives of Gender Justice with the help of relevant Constitutional Provisions and case laws. " was asked in the Mains 2023 GS Paper 2. Let us look at the model answer to this question.
Answer: Gender justice refers to the fair treatment of all genders, ensuring equal rights and opportunities. In India, given the deep-rooted patriarchal norms, achieving gender justice is paramount. The Constitution, as India's foundational text, robustly advocates for this cause, adapting and evolving to meet the country's aspirations.
Constitutional Provisions for Gender Justice:
- Preamble: Ensures "Justice - social, economic, and political" and "Equality of status and of opportunity" for all, laying the foundation for gender justice.
- Article 14: Guarantees equality before the law, emphasizing gender equality in all legal and state actions.
- Article 15(1): Forbids discrimination solely based on sex.
- Article 15(3): Enables affirmative actions for the benefit of women and children.
- Article 16: Ensures equality of opportunity in public employment, irrespective of gender.
- Article 23: Prohibits human trafficking and forced labor, which disproportionately affects women and girls.
- Article 39(a) & (d): Enshrines the principle of equal pay for equal work and ensures an equal means of livelihood for both genders.
- Article 42: Advocates for just and humane work conditions and maternity relief.
- Article 51A(e & f) (Fundamental Duties): Mandates the renunciation of practices derogatory to the dignity of women and emphasizes respect for women.
- 73rd and 74th Amendment Acts (1992): Provided for reservation of seats in local bodies for women, ensuring their participation in grassroot-level governance.
Landmark Case Laws Strengthening Gender Justice:
- Shah Bano vs. Mohammad Ahmed Khan (1985): Emphasized the maintenance rights of Muslim women, setting a precedent for gender justice within personal laws.
- Vishaka vs. State of Rajasthan (1997): Introduced the Vishakha guidelines to combat workplace sexual harassment.
- Gaurav Jain vs. Union of India (1997): Recognized the rights of children born to prostitutes, emphasizing the state's duty towards women in distress.
- Joseph Shine vs. Union of India (2018): Decriminalized adultery, underlining women's autonomy and equality in marital relations.
- Navtej Singh Johar vs. Union of India (2018): Promoted gender justice by decriminalizing homosexuality.
- Shayara Bano vs. Union of India (2017): Declared the practice of 'Triple Talaq' unconstitutional, safeguarding the rights of Muslim women.
- Indian Young Lawyers Association vs. State of Kerala (2018): Addressed the Sabarimala temple entry issue, emphasizing women's right to equality in matters of religion.
The Constitution, through its provisions, amendments, and reinforced by critical judicial interpretations, ensures an evolving framework for gender justice in India, responsive to contemporary challenges and societal needs.