Gender justice refers to ensuring equal access to resources and opportunities for all individuals, irrespective of their gender, encompassing economic participation and decision-making.
Recent data from the Gender Gap Report 2023 ranks India 127th out of 146 countries, indicating significant gender disparities. Furthermore, in the Gender Inequality Index component of UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) 2021, India holds the 122nd position among 190 nations.
Preamble of the Indian Constitution emphasizes values of equality, liberty, freedom, and justice for all.
- Article 14 guarantees the Right to Equality, ensuring that all are equal before the law.
- Article 15 prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.
- Article 16 ensures equality of opportunity in public employment without discrimination.
- Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP):
- Article 39 calls for equal pay for equal work for both men and women.
- Article 51A (e) obliges citizens to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women.
Relevant Case Laws:
- Vishakha vs. State of Rajasthan (1997): Led to the formulation of Vishaka guidelines, defining sexual harassment and placing the responsibility on employers to provide a safe working environment for women.
- Mohd. Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum (1985): Established the right of a divorced Muslim woman to maintenance despite conflicting provisions of Muslim personal law.
- Mary Roy vs. State of Kerala (1986): Ensured Christian women’s equal property rights.
- Lata Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr (2006): Validated inter-caste marriages.
- Suhas Katti vs. Tamil Nadu (2004): Addressed cyberbullying against women.
- Young Lawyers Association v. State of Kerala (2019): Declared unconstitutional the restrictions on the entry of women into the Sabarimala shrine.
- CEHAT v. Union of India: Banned advertisements related to pre-natal sex determination techniques.
- Secretary, Ministry of Defence v. Babita Puniya & Ors.: Granted all women army officers eligibility for permanent commissions.
- The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act judgment (2022): Recognized the right of unmarried women in consensual relationships to safe and legal abortions.
Highlighting achievements of women like the appointment of a woman as the President, Squadron Leader Avani Chaturvedi becoming a pioneer in the Indian Air Force, and Shaliza Dhami commanding a frontline combat unit in the IAF signifies the progress made in the realm of gender justice.
Emphasizes the need to continually strive for gender equality through the legal framework and societal change, building upon these constitutional provisions and landmark judgments.