Women& Article In India(GS-1 Exam Synopsis)2020-21(UPSC)


Introduction The principle of Gender Equality is enshrined in the Indian Constitution. The Constitution not only grants equality to women, but also enables State to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women.
What Article 15 states? Article 15 secures the citizens from every sort of discrimination by the State, on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth or any of them (Article 15(1)); does not prevent the State from making any special provisions for women or children (Article 15(3)); allows the State to extend special provisions for socially and economically backward classes for their advancement (Article 15(4)).
Why Art 15 was included? Inclusion of Article 15 is due to historic wrongs done like discrimination, exploitation, violence in our society. Absence of ownership rights to women, non-inclusion in government jobs initially, not getting admissions, etc. were some issues which were resolved through Article 15 and 16. Then Caste discrimination was another, or rather is another factor responsible for inclusion of Article 15 in Indian Constitution.
Article 14 Vs Art 15(3) Article 14 provides for right to equality while Article 15(3) provides for positive discrimination in favour of women. But these are not contradictory rather Article 15(3) is enabling clause for Article 14.
Court’s view In Dattatraya Motiram v State of Bombay, the Bombay High Court  and the Calcutta High Court in Mahadeb Vs Dr. BB Sen held that “If there is a discrimination in favour of a particular sex, that discrimination would be permissible provided it is not only on the ground of sex.” In 2017, the Supreme Court declared instant triple talaq as unconstitutional. The argument that Muslim personal law enjoyed protection of the rights to religious freedom did not hold against the right to gender equality. In 2018, the Supreme Court opened the doors of Sabarimala Temple in Kerala to women of all age groups including those in menstruating phase of life.
Several affirmative government actions under Art 15 Dowry prohibition; Act against Sexual violence; Act against Domestic Violence; Reservation for women in local governments.

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