2023 GS2 Answer

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

Question from UPSC Mains 2023 GS2 Paper

Model Answer: 

Gender Justice

Gender justice refers to the protection of human rights and ensuring equality between men and women. It is a fundamental principle of human dignity and democracy, recognized under international law and national constitutions. The Constitution of India, through its various provisions, seeks to uphold the principle of gender justice, ensuring equality, non-discrimination, and protection of women’s rights.

1. Article 14: Equality before Law

The Article 14 of the Indian Constitution guarantees equality before the law and equal protection of laws to all persons. It ensures that there is no gender-based discrimination. The case of ‘Air India vs. Nargesh Meerza‘ is a landmark judgement where the Supreme Court struck down the regulation that terminated the services of air hostesses upon marriage or pregnancy as it violated Article 14.

2. Article 15: Prohibition of Discrimination

Article 15 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. It also empowers the State to make special provisions for women and children. In the case of ‘Anuj Garg vs. Hotel Association of India‘, the Supreme Court held that any law that treats women as weak and denies them equal job opportunities would be unconstitutional.

3. Article 16: Equality of Opportunity in Public Employment

Article 16 ensures equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State. It prohibits discrimination in employment on grounds of sex. In the case of ‘D.K. Yadav vs. J.M.A. Industries Ltd.‘, the Supreme Court held that termination of a woman’s service because she refused to submit to the lust of her superior was a clear violation of Article 16.

4. Article 21: Right to Life and Personal Liberty

Article 21 guarantees the right to life and personal liberty. It has been interpreted broadly to include the right to live with dignity, which encompasses gender justice. In the landmark case of ‘Vishaka vs. State of Rajasthan‘, the Supreme Court laid down guidelines to prevent sexual harassment of women at the workplace, thereby upholding their right to work with dignity under Article 21.

5. Article 42: Provision for Just and Humane Conditions of Work

Article 42 directs the State to make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work. It has been used to uphold the rights of women workers, including maternity benefits.

6. Article 51A (e): Fundamental Duty to Renounce Practices Derogatory to Women

Article 51A (e) imposes a fundamental duty on every citizen of India to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women. This provision underscores the constitutional commitment towards achieving gender justice.

7. Legal Provisions for Women Empowerment

The Constitution has also enabled the enactment of several laws for the protection and empowerment of women, such as the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.

8. Constitutional Amendments for Women Representation

The 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments mandated 33% reservation for women in local self-government institutions, promoting their participation in politics and decision-making processes.


The Indian Constitution, through its various provisions, aims to achieve gender justice by ensuring equality, non-discrimination, and protection of women’s rights. However, the gap between constitutional promises and societal realities is significant. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure effective implementation of laws, promote awareness about women’s rights, and work towards changing societal attitudes to achieve true gender justice.

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