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Fundamental Rights of Women in India


The Constitution of India guarantees the Fundamental Rights of every citizen, encompassing the rights and privileges specially accorded to women. These rights emphasize equality, prohibit discrimination, and enable provisions for affirmative action to ensure gender parity.

Equality Before Law (Article 14)

Definition and Provisions

Article 14 of the Constitution of India ensures 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.

Case Laws and Examples:

Air India vs. Nergesh Meerza (1981): The Supreme Court struck down the regulation that terminated the services of an Air India hostess upon marriage, as discriminatory.

Prohibition of Discrimination (Article 15)

Definition and Provisions

Article 15 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. Specifically, Article 15(3) empowers the State to make special provisions for women and children.

Case Laws and Examples:

C.B. Muthamma vs. Union of India (1979): This case challenged the discriminatory provisions against women in the Indian Foreign Service and set a precedent for equality.

Right to Life and Personal Liberty (Article 21)

Definition and Provisions

Article 21 guarantees the protection of life and personal liberty to everyone. It includes rights to livelihood, privacy, dignity, health, and more.

Case Laws and Examples:

  1. Vishaka vs. State of Rajasthan (1997): This case led to the framing of the Vishaka Guidelines to prevent sexual harassment at the workplace.

  2. Suchita Srivastava vs. Chandigarh Administration (2009): This case emphasized women's reproductive rights as a dimension of personal liberty.

Right to Practice Any Profession (Article 19(1)(g))

Definition and Provisions

Article 19(1)(g) ensures the right to practice any profession or carry out any occupation, trade, or business, including the right of women to work.

Case Laws and Examples:

Anuj Garg vs. Hotel Association of India (2008): This landmark judgment declared a statute prohibiting women from working as bartenders unconstitutional, affirming women's right to choose their profession.

Conclusion: Fundamental Rights of Women in India

The Indian Constitution provides a robust framework that promotes gender equality and ensures the protection of women's rights. From the right to equality and nondiscrimination to personal liberties and the right to work, the legal system provides women with tools to demand justice and fairness.

Significant strides have been made in terms of legislation and landmark judgments to protect and promote women's rights in India. However, the implementation and social acceptance of these rights continue to be a work in progress, requiring consistent efforts by the government, judiciary, civil society, and every individual.

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