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Nandini Warrier   13 January 2021


If the State of Karnataka decided to make special provisions for women and children, isn't that considered as a violation of Article 14 in the Constitution?


 2 Replies

Rama chary Rachakonda (Secunderabad/Telangana state Highcourt practice watsapp no.9989324294 )     13 January 2021

As all persons are not equal by nature or circumstances, the varying needs of different classes or sections of people require differential treatment. This leads to classification among different groups of persons and differentiation between ch classes. Accordingly, to apply the principle of equality in a practical manner, the courts have evolved the principle that if the law in question is based on rational classification it is not regarded as discriminatory.

Pankhuri Dhruvastha   03 February 2021

Right to equality is enshrined as a fundamental right under Article 14 of the Indian Constitution. It is derived from AV Dicey’s  Rule of Law. However, this fundamental right is not absolute and has certain exceptions to it.

Essentially, Article 14 permits classification but prohibit class legislation. This implies that the equal protection of laws guaranteed by Article 14 does not mean that all laws must be general in character. It does not mean that every law must have universal application as all persons are not in the same position or same circumstances. In Chiranjit Lal v Union of India (AIR 1951 SC 41) it was held that “the varying needs of different classes of persons often require separate treatment”. Furthermore, identical treatment in unequal circumstances would amount to inequality (Jagjit Singh v. State, AIR 1954 Hyd 28). So, a reasonable classification is not only permitted, but is necessary for the society to progress.

In addition to this, The Constitution of India itself provides multiple provisions for safeguarding the rights of women and children:

  1. Art. 15(3): It permits the state to make special provisions for women and children.

For instance, Several acts such as Dowry Prevention Act have been passed including the most recent one of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005.

  1. Art. 23: Under the fundamental right against exploitation, flesh trade has been banned.
  2. Art 24: Child labour in hazardous employment conditions is banned.
  3. Art. 39: Guarantees equal pay to women for equal work. In the case of Randhir Singh vs Union of India (AIR 1982 SC 879), the apex court held that the concept of equal pay for equal work is indeed a constitutional goal and is capable of being enforced through constitutional remedies under Art. 32.
  4. Art. 42: The Article states that the state shall make provisions for securing just and humane conditions for work and for maternity relief.
  5. Art. 44: It compels the state to implement unchanging civil code, which will help progress the condition of women across all religions. It has not been implemented yet and remains a goal enshrined under Directive Principles of State Policy.

It is also pertinent that the history of oppression and lack of representation of women in India has also led to the legislature drafting a bill which proposes to amend the Constitution of India to reserve one-third of all seats in the Lower house of Parliament of India, the Lok Sabha,, and in all state legislative assemblies for women. Whether reservation for women in Parliament is the right tool for empowerment may be debatable, it is certainly true that women of this country have a long way to go before they can achieve their potential.  They are hampered by low levels of education, lack of access to health care, lack of employment, and low social status.

Therefore on the basis of aforementioned arguments and reference to relevant legal provisions and precedents, we may conclude that the Government making special provisions for the protection of women and children falls within the purview of the State’s long term goal of achieving equality.

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