Directive Principles of State Policy and Women

Lessons From the Law

Rayees Ahmed Wani
Author is Senior lecturer at KCEF Law College Pulwama

The elevation of the position of the Directive Principles in constitutional jurisprudence from relative insignificance to that of important set of inevitable values in recent decades could wield its own Influence upon protection of interests of women. Some of the provisions touching the interests of women can be looked to for appreciating the constitutional concern.

While Article 38(1) ordains the State to strive to promote the welfare of people by securing a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of national life, Article 38(2) states, “The State, in particular, strive to minimise the inequalities in income, and endeavour to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities, not only amongst individuals but also among groups of people residing in different areas or engaged in different vocations.” According to Article 39, the state shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing:

(i)   That the citizens, men and women equally have the right to adequate means of livelihood [Article 39(a)];

(ii)   That there is equal pay for equal work for both men and women [Article 39(d));

(iii) that the health and strength of workers, men and women, at the tender age of children are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter evocations unsuited to their age or strength [Article 39(e)}; and

(iv)  That childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment [Article 39(f).

Enactment of Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 has tried to effectuate the objective of Article 39(d). It provides for payment of equal remuneration to both men and women workers for the same work or work of similar nature and for the prevention of discrimination against women in the matter of recruitment and

employment opportunities Non-observance of the Act by the government contractors violates Article 14.The clause relating to protection against moral and material abandonment has been applied in cases relating to rehabilitation of child prostitutes and children of prostitutes.

State is obligated under Article 41 to secure right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement and in other cases of undeserved want Article 42 says, “The state shall make provision for securing just and humane condition of work and for maternity relief,” for implementing this provision Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 was enacted. This obligates the employers to provide maternity leave for six weeks each before and after the delivery of child and reimbursement of medical expenses.

Author is Senior lecturer at KCEF Law College Pulwama Lessons from Law

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