• Lex Valorem

‘Women’ as a Vulnerable group and their Human Rights.

“Human dignity is the quintessence of human rights”

CJI J.S.Verma[1]


‘Women’ is one of the vulnerable groups in society. There rights are frequently violated by the dominated group of the society. This paper is an attempt to provide brief about what is human rights, provision under international law regarding the protection of women and status of women is Indian scenario.


International law was sole concerned with states in the classical period which was inflected by the theory of state sovereignty. Human rights are those rights which belong to an individual as a consequence of being human as amen’s of human dignity. These are the rights which all men everywhere as all times ought to have, something of which no one may be derived without a grave affront to justice[2]. They are based on elementary human needs as imperatives. Some of these needs are elementary physical survival and health. Other is elementary for psychic survival and health. Thus, human rights can be perceived and enumerated. Theses rights based on the traditionally concept of natural law.

Concept on Human Rights

Human rights are rational beings. They by virtue of their being, human possess certain basic and inalienable rights which are commonalty known as human rights. Presently the vast majority of legal scholars and philosophers agree that every human being is entitled to some basic rights. Thus, there is universal acceptance of human rights in principle in and international plane. These are certain deeds which should never be done, certain freedoms which should never be invaded, something which are supremely sacred[3].

According to D.D.Basu[4],

‘Human rights as those minimum rights which every individual must have against the state or other public authority by virtue of has being a member of human family, irrespective of any other consideration’.

According to justice .Bhagawati in Maneka Gandhi v Union of India[5],

Held that all those rights which are essential for the [protection and maintenance of dignity of individuals and create conditions in which every human being can develops his personality to the fullest extent may be termed as the human rights.

Human rights are indivisible and interdependent, and therefore précised there cannot be different kinds of human rights. The United Nations system makes it clear that human rights are of two kind’s visa,

· Civil and political rights

· Economic, social and cultural rights.

Women as Vulnerable group

There are certain groups of human beings which either by nature or because of deep rooted custom is weak and vulnerable. As follows, the advancement of women has been a focus of the work of the United Nations since its creation. The preamble of the charter of the united nations sets as a basic goal to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women,

Definition of discrimination against women

The convention under article 1[6], defines the term discrimination against women as any distinction, exclusion. Inclusion or restrictions made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of imparting or nullifying the reorganization, enjoyment or excise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on the basic of equality of men and women of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural and other filed.

The convention under part III lays down a number of fields where states parties are required to take steps to eliminate discrimination against women includes the following-

Education- The convention under Article 10 provides that women shall be provided same conditions for career and vocational guidelines as to that of men.

Employment- The convention under Article 11 provided that states parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of employment.

Health care - The Convention under Article 12 provides that states parties shall take steps to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of health care, across to health care services, including those related to family planning.

Economic and Social Life - Article 13 of the Convention provides that discrimination against women shall be eliminated in other areas of economic and social life.

Women in Rural Areas - Article 14 provided elimination of discrimination against women in rural areas. States Parties are required to ensure such women the right to participate in the elaboration and implementation of development planning at all levels.

Equality before Law- Article 15 of Convention provides that “State Parties shall accord to women equally with before the Law”.

Marriage and Family Relations - Article 16 provides that State Parties shall take all measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations.

Optional Protocol to the Convention of Women

The convention did not provide did not provide for individual complaint system. In order to fulfill this deficiency the General Assembly on October 7, 1999 adopted the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women which would enable victims of sex of Discrimination, sexual exploitation and other abuses to the committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women against States Parties to the Protocol. Thus, The Protocol would allow to by-pass governments to have the Committee to investigate their grievances. As on December 5, 2013, the protocol has 104 State Parties.

Status of women under Indian constitution

India has given equal status to women under its Constitution under article 14[7]. Women in India enjoy rights to equality and any discrimination against them shall be violation of equality, of right and respect of human dignity.

Article 15, every female citizen has right to access to shops, public restaurants, hotels, and places of public entitlement and no restriction imposed on female citizens with the regard to the use of tanks, bathing Ghats, roads and place of public restaurants.

Article 16, provides there shall be equal opportunity for all citizen in matted relating to employment or appointment to any under state.

Article 15(3) that states may make special provisions for women.

Ensuring this number of provisions aimed at securing equal status for and removing discrimination against women have been made. For instance the constitution was amended in 1992 to reserve 33 percent seats in panchayats and municipalities[8]. The constitution also cast the duty on every citizen to renounce practice derogatory the dignity of women[9].

Role of judiciary

C.B.Muthamma v.Union of India, the supreme court held that the, provisions in service rules requiring a female employee to obtained the permission of the government in writing before her marriage is solemnized is discretionary against the women. Equality of opportunity in matters relating to employment does not mean that men and women equal are all occupation and all situations.

In case of Air India v Nargiz Meerza, the SC struck down the provision of the rules which is stimulated the condition that service shall be terminated on her pregnancy as unconstitutional. Hence the restriction on Air Hostess not to marry within 4 years of the service is unreasonable.

In case Pratibha Rani vs. Suraj Kumar, SC held that it cannot be said that in entering into matrimony the stridhan property of the married women has to be placed on the custody of her husband.

In famous case of Vishaka and Others vs. State of Rajasthan, the Supreme court presented a series of guidelines until the legislature passes a legislation to safe guard the interest of the working women and protect them from sex exploitation at the workplace. And held that all this incident are violation of fundamental rights of the women.


India has ratified the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination on the women. Indian courts on the basis of above constitutional provisional have regarded a number of rules and regulations as discrimination against the women and consequently unconstitutional. Universal Declaration of Human Rights had affirmed the principles of the inadmissibility of discrimination and proclaimed that all human beings are born free and with dignity including the women.

By Shivanjali Mahadev Mane,

KLE law college Chikodi,

4th year BALLB.

Endnotes [1]The New Universal of Human Rights, p.3. [2] Maurice Cranston, What are human Rights? P.36. [3] Maurice Cranston quoted in L.J.Macfarlane, ‘The Theory and practice of Human Rights’ (1985) p.7. [4] ‘Human Rights in Constitutional law’, (1994), p.5 [5] AIR 1978 SC P.597 at p.619 [6] Article 1 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights [7] Article 14, ‘Equality before law and equal protection of law’ [8] Article 243D – Inserted by the Constitution (seventy third amendment) act, 1992 [9] Article 243 T- Inserted by the Constitution (Seventy-FOURTH Amendment) Act, 1992.

47 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All