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Explain the constitutional perspectives of Gender Justice with the help of relevant Constitutional Provisions and case laws.

Gender justice implies the protection and promotion of rights without discrimination on the grounds of sex. The Constitution of India, through various provisions, seeks to ensure that gender justice is not just a theoretical concept but a lived reality for all citizens. The judicature has played a pivotal role in reinforcing these provisions through its judgments.


Constitutional Provisions:

  1. Preamble: It commits to securing for all its citizens justice – social, economic, and political; liberty; equality; and fraternity.
  2. Article 14: Guarantees equality before the law and the equal protection of laws to everyone.
  3. Article 15(1): Prohibits discrimination against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.
  4. Article 15(3): Allows the state to make special provisions for women and children.
  5. Article 16: Provides for equality of opportunity in public employment and mandates that no citizen shall be discriminated against in matters of employment on grounds of sex.
  6. Article 39(a): Mandates the state to ensure that men and women equally have the right to an adequate means of livelihood.
  7. Article 39(d): Directs the state to ensure that men and women receive equal pay for equal work.
  8. Article 42: Directs the state to make provisions for securing just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief.

Landmark Case Laws:

  1. Shah Bano Case (Mohd. Ahmed Khan vs. Shah Bano Begum, 1985): The Supreme Court held that a Muslim woman is entitled to maintenance from her ex-husband under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, emphasizing the right to life and personal dignity under Article 21.
  2. Vishaka and Others vs. State of Rajasthan (1997): In the absence of legislation to address sexual harassment at the workplace, the Supreme Court laid down guidelines (popularly known as the ‘Vishaka Guidelines’) to address and prevent such harassment, ensuring the right to a safe working environment.
  3. Joseph Shine vs. Union of India (2018): Decriminalizing adultery, the Supreme Court held that treating it as an offense would mean treating women as chattel of their husbands, a notion which is antithetical to the principles of gender justice and equality enshrined in the Constitution.
  4. Navtej Singh Johar vs. Union of India (2018): The Supreme Court decriminalized consensual homosexual acts, noting that the LGBTQ community possesses the same human, fundamental, and constitutional rights as any other individual, emphasizing the right to equality and life with dignity.
  5. Anuj Garg vs. Hotel Association of India (2008): The Supreme Court held that a provision barring women from working in establishments that serve alcohol is based on harmful stereotypes and is violative of Articles 14, 15, and 21.

Conclusion:

The Indian Constitution, through its explicit provisions and the judiciary’s proactive role, seeks to create an environment of gender justice. While substantial strides have been made, the journey towards complete gender justice is ongoing. The combination of constitutional mandates and responsive judicature ensures that the nation moves progressively towards a more just and equal society.


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