Protection and discrimination

Protection and discrimination

Women have been able to come to forefront of every activity after a tough fight against oppression that they have been facing since the very inception of constitution and even before that. Though the laws have been made to afford protection to citizens, we can see the struggle prevailing even now. Article 14 which itself affords equality before law and equal opportunity before law, further Article 15 offers more specific protection against discrimination on five grounds, including discrimination on the grounds of sex. Despite the fine cannons of law, women have been subjected to discrimination despite the protection that has been offered to them.

There have been instances reported where the women have been discriminated in the garb of protection, one such instance was reported in which the Delhi High Court struck down the Section 30 of Punjab Excise Act,1914 which prohibited the employment of woman in institutions in which intoxicating drugs or liquor was considered in contravention of the constitution. The contentions were raised from the Hotel Association that it not only forbids employment in bars but also in restaurant and in hotel rooms also. The Court found the provision in contravention of Article 14, Article 19(1)(g), Article 15, however an appeal was filed in the Supreme Court in  Anuj Garg and others Vs. Hotel Association of India and others[1]  and Apex Court further was of the view that (paragraphs cited)

37. Instead of putting curbs on women’s freedom, empowerment would be a more tenable and socially wise approach. This empowerment should reflect in the law enforcement strategies of the State as well as law modeling done in this behalf.

39. Gender equality today is recognised by the European Court as one of the key principles underlying the Convention and a goal to be achieved by member States of the Council of Europe.

43. Instead of prohibiting women employment in the bars altogether the State should focus on factoring in ways through which unequal consequences of sex differences can be eliminated. It is the State’s duty to ensure circumstances of safety which inspire confidence in women to discharge the duty freely in accordance to the requirements of the profession they choose to follow. Any other policy inference (such as the one embodied under Section 30) from societal conditions would be oppressive on the women and against the privacy rights.

47. No law in its ultimate effect should end up perpetuating the oppression of women. Personal freedom is a fundamental tenet which cannot be compromised in the name of expediency until and unless there is a compelling State purpose. Heightened level of scrutiny is the normative threshold for judicial review in such cases.”[2]

Protection and discrimination

The series of discrimination starts with a girl when she is in her mother’s womb, and the behaviour of the family is indifferent towards a girl as compared to a boy. Often the homicide happens in foetus only however somehow if she escapes that the rest of her life is difficult. A better nutrition is offered to a boy.

Gender disparity continues to exist in India. Taking birth as a woman in the Indian society, a woman faces gender discrimination at all levels. At the household level – females are confined to the bounds of their household chores, raising children and looking after families, irrespective of her education degrees or her job profile. At her workplace: women have limited access to job opportunities and are paid less for the same work.[3]

Education and learning opportunities: gender-wise literacy rates in India showcase the wide gap that exists between men and women. As per 2011 census data, effective literacy rates (age 7 and above) were 82.14% for men and 65.46% for women. The main reason behind parents unwilling to spend on girl’s education is the mindset that educating women is of no value as in the future they will only serve their husbands and the in- laws.[4]

In India, for every 100 men in the country, there are only 93 women, which is below the global norm of 106 women for every 100 men. This reflects, in large part, both passive and active infanticide through unequal allocations of health, nutrition and other resources. In fact, girls born in India are 8-10 percent more likely to die before their fifth birthday than boys.[5]

The discrimination of females continues at even school and they are not motivated to play rough sports or sports involving muscular strength as the social construct allows them to only play soft sports, thus parents don’t even motivate the girls to try their future in sports.

The restrictions are also imposed on the career choices for girls. They are not encouraged to take up law as a profession but to opt for subtle professions like teaching and architecture. As a lawyer she might have to face consequences.

At workplace the same scenario continues and if they are able to take up good jobs they have to face sexual harassment at workplace, lewd and sexual remarks may be passed on them but because of the patriarchy they prefer to stay quite otherwise they have to bear the consequences. Even if they are apt for the promotion they are not promoted because the girls are not considered good leaders.

Though right to chose one’s spouse has been considered as part of right to life but still the girls are not allowed to chose their life partners and the partners that are chosen by their parents are considered to be the best. If they chose their own partner they often get killed as they tried to bring disgrace to the honour of the family.

The standing of women in Indian society received unprecedented national and international attention in 2012 following the brutal gang rape and subsequent death of a young woman in Delhi. The incident sparked widespread public protests in the Indian capital and gained further attention after one of the accused perpetrators was found hanged in jail. While the tragedy has led to some long-overdue reforms, it is far too early to declare it a turning point for the fate of the majority of India’s women. There are, of course, strong normative and humanitarian reasons to guarantee full gender equality and sufficient legal protection for women in India, as elsewhere. But the economic and political consequences – the material costs – of gender discrimination are often overlooked.[6]


Though the protection is offered by the laws but in the behest of those laws women are discriminated and the provisions are not abided by and women face discrimination starting from their homes when they are not given a chance to get even primary education, at their career options when they are not given equal promotional chances, further not allowing them to chose their own life partner. The series of events never stop here, while she might get raped by her own husband but that is not recognised in the eyes of law as an offence and she might have to get her child aborted because she conceived a girl. The series of events for a woman start from protection but they are actually meant to discriminate her.

“The views of the authors are personal


[1] Appeal (civil)  5657 of 2007

[2] Appeal (civil)  5657 of 2007


[4] Ibid



Harsh Gupta
I am Harsh vasu Gupta pursuing my BA.LLB from University Institute of Legal Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh. I am associated with his mooting society and Legal Aid society of his college. My areas of interest are constitution, criminal and international law. I love to write blogs and articles. My hobbies are playing cricket and listening songs.