Judicial Approach towards Gender Justice

Judicial Approach towards Gender Justice: The Supreme Court in Muthamma v. Union of India (1979) 4 SCC 260 and Air India v Nagresh Mirza AIR 1981 SC 1829 Struck down discriminatory service conditions requiring female employees to obtain government permission before marriage and denying married and pregnant women the right to be employed.
In Vishaka v State of Rajasthan AIR 1997 SC 3011 the Supreme Court observed that equality in employment can be seriously impaired when women are subjected to gender-specific violence, such as sexual harassment in the workplace.
Women’s Right and the Indian Constitution
Therefore, the Supreme Court issued guidelines to ensure that the women have equal working conditions and are protected from sexual harassment. Vishaka was public interest class action and came up before Supreme Court of India at the instance of certain social activists and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) seeking to prevent sexual harassment of working women in all work places. Their grievance was that while working women remained vulnerable to this, neither the legislature nor the executive government was taking any effective preventive measure in this behalf. Therefore, the plaintiffs approached the apex court for the enforcement of the fundamental rights of the working women as guaranteed by the Constitution.
This was endorsed in Apparel Export Promotion Council v. A. K. Chopra AIR 1999 SC 625 in which disciplinary proceedings for sexual harassment leading to dismissal from service were upheld by the Supreme Court.
In Cases relating to public employment, the courts have quashed the discriminatory provisions that gave advantages to men and imposed disabilities on women. In Maya Devi v. State of Maharashtra 1986(1) SCR 743 the requirement of husband’s consent for wife’s application for public employment was struck down as an anachronistic obstacle to women’s equality and economic justice.
Since article (15(3) itself hints substantive approach, its application for giving special educational facilities, for giving representation in local bodies and for protection in places of work has a substantive dimension. Upholding a service rule that preferred women in recruitment to public employment to the extent of 30% of posts, the Supreme Court stated in Government of A. P. v. P. K. Bijayakumar AIR 1995 SC 164 to say that under Article 15(3) job opportunities for women cannot be created would be to cut at the very root of the underlying inspiration behind this Article Making special provision for women in respect of employments or posts under the state is an integral Part of Article 15(3)”.
The subordinated position of Christian woman, who was denied equal right in the matter of divorce against her husband, was brought to the limelight by way of anti-subordination interpretation in Ammini E.J. v. Union of India AIR 1995 Ker 252 Referring to the life of Christian wife being compelled to live as wife against her will the High Court of Kerala observed, It will be a humiliating and oppressed life without freedom to remarry and enjoy life in the normal course. It will be a life without freedom to uphold the dignity of the individual in all respects. The Court quashed the impugned provision as violative of articles 14, 15 and 21.
In Mackinnon Mackenzie & Co. Ltd. v. Audrey D’Costa, AIR 1987 SC 1281 the court observed that there was discrimination in payment of wages to lady stenographers and such discrimination was being perpetuated under the garb of a settlement between the employees and the employer. The Court finally not only made it mandatory to pay equal remuneration to lady stenographers as their male counterparts but also observed that the ground of financial incapability of the management cannot be a ground to seek exemption from the equal Remuneration Act, 1976.
Interpretation of the guardianship law in the light of Article 15 by the Supreme Court in Githa Hariharan v. Reserve Bank of India AIR 1999 SC 1149 could equate the position of mother to that of father in the matter of guardianship.
All the wings and layers of government legislature, executive and judiciary at central, state and local levels have the responsibility towards empowerment of women.
Legislature has enacted many laws in bringing about equality between men and women to fulfill the obligation not only of the international conventions but also of the Constitution of India. A Combined reading of article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India categorically provides that no law can be made or can be applied which discriminates against women. Law cannot alone remedy the inequalities and bring about justice, development and empowerment. It can act as a spring board of doubt of all sections of society required to achieve the ends.
Whatever the causes may be, it is the duty of human to protect the human rights of those who are victims. Even though the government is trying to take care of this natural right by formulating various policies, enacting and formulating laws but these are not enough to tackle this problem unless a strong move to protect the rights of women is launched by the people’s movement. This is not a one man’s job. Entire humanity will have to join hands. Gender injustice is a problem that is seen all over the world. But unless there are certain attitudinal changes, women will continue to get
Women’s Right and the Indian Constitution at raw deal. They need to be educated. Educated mothers take care of their children irrespective of the boys or girls.

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