Article 14 of the constitution of India enshrines the equitable provision which provides that the state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. Thus, it secures equality for every individual including women. One of the prominent legal experts of English law has explained the legal concept of the word equality as follows: “with us, every official, from Prime Minister down to a constable or a collector of taxes, is under the same responsibility for every act done without any legal justification as any other citizens”.
Article 15 of the constitution also furthers the equitable principle of article 14 by prohibiting any kind of discrimination. It reads as the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, or any of them (Article 15 (1)).
Further article 15 (2) provides that No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to-
- access to shops, restaurants, hotels, and places of entertainment.
- the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads, and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of the general public.
This law implies that women have no disability or restriction in approaching the public place of entertainment and use of the public property. According to this law, women have the same right as men. This right has made the women feel equal to the status of men, as there is no bondage on their movement and use of public places.
Article 15 (3) provides for affirmative and positive action in favor of women by empowering the State to make any special provision for them and their children.
Article 16 of the constitution provides for equality of opportunity to all, in matters relating to public employment or appointment to any office and specifically forbids discrimination inter-alia on the ground of sex, religion, race, caste, place of birth, and residence or any of them. No doubt, women constitute nearly half of the population and no country can afford to ignore the contribution of women folk. Post Independence, women’s roles have changed enormously. They are working in offices, in organized and unorganized sectors. They also work as labor to pull up their family. The present position is that one-third of the labor force is composed of women. The working conditions and service conditions for women are not satisfactory. They are discriminated against in matters of employment, service conditions, and payment of wages That‘s why this article is framed to secure women from any kind of employment discrimination.
The right granted under Article 19 of the constitution makes an endeavor to improve the status of women to equate with men and discard the ancient customs and traditions which did not allow women freedom of speech, form association, and to move freely.
Article 21 of the constitution provides protection of life and liberty. The Article reads as under, No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except procedure established by law. Article 23 of the constitution provides for rights against exploitation and prohibition of traffic in human beings, beggars, and similar forms of forced labor.
DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY–
Article 38 of the Constitution requires the State to secure a social order in which justice is social, economic, and political for the promotion of the welfare of the people. It requires the state to strive to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities, and opportunities. Clearly, the intention of the creator of the constitution was to make sure that equality wouldn’t be only of opportunity but in point of fact.
Under Article 41 of the constitution, there is a provision to improve the condition of citizens. It says that the state is supposed to make effective devices for citizens for securing the right to work, right to education, and public assistance in case of unemployment, old age, sickness, and disability.
Article 42 requires the state to make provisions for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief. There is yet another provision worth mentioning, i.e. Article 44 which provides for Uniform Civil Code. It emphasizes the need for codifying personal laws of different communities and evolving the Uniform Civil Code. This would certainly help in the elimination of discriminatory provisions in personal laws.
Article 46 requires the state to encourage with special care the education and economic interest of the weaker sections of the citizen. Clearly then the target is to strive towards a gender just society.
Article 47 authorizes the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people.