white black legal international law journal ISSN: 2581-8503

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Authored By - Sushmitha.J

5th year BBA.,

LLB PRIST University- School of Law



In our society women enjoy an unique position and their contribution to the social development and progress can never be denied. In almost all parts of the world their role in building the national character is significant.

In our Nation, almost half the population are women and their contribution to the economic prosperity and growth is noteworthy.

Prior Manu declared Yatra Naarayastu Poojyante ramante tatra Devatah’ It means where women are respected, divine and grace .Women are symbol of sacrifice, kindness, also placed women in high esteem glorifying their dignity but from the cradle to grave women are below the clutches of numerous evils such as discriminations, oppressions, violence, inside the society. In order to ameliorate the condition of Women in India various legal provisions for women safety and empowerment in Indian Constitution is the most comprehensive and complete document containing the provisions of equality and justice which aims at protecting the dignity of each individual irrespective of class, caste, religion etc. Fundamental law as in the Preamble, in Part III dealing with Fundamental Rights and in Part IV which stating Directive Principles of State Policy, thrive for securing gender justice and other numerous laws and legislatures aimed at empowerment of women in the areas of personal, labour, service and criminal and social economic matters.

Legal system in India for the protection of women ranges from constitutional mandates to women specific legislations. Protection of the rights of women is also an obligation of India in the international context. The role played by judiciary is significant for the protection of rights of women. The present research paper critically analysis the role of the legislature and judiciary in empowerment of women.

Keywords: women, judiciary, protection, legislature, empowerment,


All data and information present in this research paper are collected from various reports which are been prepared by national and international agencies on women empowerment, information's are collected from several authentic websites and journals relating to role of judiciary on women empowerment are referred.



 In our society women enjoy an unique position and their contribution to the social development and progress can never be denied. In almost all parts of the world their role in building the national character is significant. Their contribution to the society is manifold and they have got multifaceted personality as they play the role of mother, sister, wife and daughter during various stages of their life. In their role in various capacities they become a part of the society and by playing a major role in enhancing, the dignity of the society.

During the last three decades there has been a sea change in the concept of women's empowerment.

Women’s empowerment can be defined to promoting women’s sense of self-worth, their ability to determine their own choices, and their right to influence social change for themselves and others. Women’s empowerment and promoting women’s rights have emerged as a part of a major global movement and is continuing to break new ground in recent years.

Empowerment provides a greater access to knowledge and resources, more independence in decision making. considerable ability to plan lives, more control over the circumstances which influence lives, and freedom from customs, beliefs and practices. Thus, women empowerment is a process in which women challenge the existing norms and culture, to effectively promote their well being.

According to the United Nations, women’s empowerment mainly has five components:

  • Generating women’s sense of self-worth
  • Women’s right to have and to determine their choices:
  • Women’s right to have access to equal opportunities and all kinds of resources:
  • Women’s right to have the power to regulate and control their own lives, within and outside the home, and
  • Women’s ability to contribute in creating a more just social and economic order.

Women empowerment can be interpreted as totality of empowerment including political, social, cultural and other dimension of human life as also physical, moral and intellectual.

“You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women”

– Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru



    • To study about growth of women empowerment.
    • To study various laws and legislatures made in favour of women empowerment.
    • To analyse the role of judiciary in protection of women’s right in India.



The significant discrimination of women time over time again during the past centuries gave birth to the concept of women empowerment. The concept was first introduced during the UN's third world Conference on Women while highlighting the need for equal social & economic power in favour of women.

In the medieval period The integrity among the genders had room in the early Vedic period but somehow in the later Vedic period there was a decline in the integrity and equality among them, especially the position of the women which was equal in the early Vedic period, later had a downward trend in later Vedic period. It is believed that foreign conquest is the main reason for the decline of women’s status in that era. There was an erosion in the Rig-Vedic ideals of fairness and harmony, which deprives women to enjoy their right to study the Vedas, recite Vedic mantras, and practice Vedic rituals. Women were forced to get married and or involve in domestic life and have an indisposable devotion to their husbands. At that time parents were ashamed of the born of a girl child.

Approximately 500 B.C., the status of women began to Decline, and with the Islamic invasion of Babur and The Mughal empire and Christianity later worsened women’s Freedom and rights. Although reform movements such As Jainism allowed women to be admitted to religious orders, By and large women in India faced confinement and Restrictions. The practice of child marriages is believed to Have started around the sixth century.


The Bhakti movements tried to restore women’s status and Questioned certain forms of oppression. Traditions such as Sati, Jauhar, and Devadasi among some communities have been banned and are largely defunct in modern India. However, some instances of these practices are still found in Remote parts of India. Child marriage remains Common in rural areas, although it is illegal under Indian law.

Thus The position enjoyed by women in the Rig- Vedic period deteriorated in the later Vedic civilization. Women were denied the right to education and widow remarriage. They were denied the right to inheritance and ownership of property. Many social evils like child marriage and dowry system surfaced and started to engulf women. During Gupta period, the status of women immensely deteriorated. Dowry became an institution and Sati Pratha became prominent.

During the British Raj, many social reformers such as Raja Rammohun Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, and Jyotirao Phule started agitations for the empowerment of women. Their efforts led to the abolition of Sati . As a result of their concentrated efforts, the status of women in social, economic and political life began to elevate in the Indian society.

In the modern age, in this new millennium they have shown their excellence in almost all fields and their contribution in political, civil, economic, social and cultural development of a country is widely appreciated and recognised and they have proved that they are no more week and are equal with men. In both developed and developing countries we can see women are placed at par with men and even at some places they are placed in a better position enjoying higher status thereby signifying the leadership they have.



 In earlier societies they used to enjoy a special status as they were worshipped as goddesses but slowly the respect, the admire and the status came to be derecognised and their position deteriorated to a great extent. They have become victim of the social set up and sex based discrimination continued to dominate the society thereby depriving them from all sorts of facilities. They are treated unfavourably and the concept of equality and equal status has become a myth for them.

Need for empowerment are day so centres of domination and discrimination done by men over women; women are the suppressed lot. They are the target of varied types of violence and discriminatory practices done by men all over the world. India is no different


India is a developing country where we find various types of customs traditions and practices. These customs and traditions, good as well as bad, have become a part of our society’s collective consciousness. We worshiped women as female goddesses by giving great importance to our mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and other female relatives of friends. But at the same time, we could see treating the women badly in society.

Indian society consists of people belonging is almost all kinds of religious beliefs in every religion women are given a special place where every religion teaches us to treat women with respect and dignity. But somehow the society has so developed that various types of ill practices, both physical and mental, against women have become a norm since ages. For instance, sati, practice of dowry, abetment to suicide, female infanticide, cruelty, sexual silence, sexual harassment at work place, domestic violence and other varied kinds of discriminatory practices.

Empowerment are classified as;

Individual empowerment- means to have the self-confidence to articulate and assert the power to Negotiate and decide.

Social Women Empowerment- A critical aspect of social empowerment of women is the promotion of gender Equality. Gender equality implies a society in which women and men enjoy the same opportunities, outcomes, rights And obligations in all spheres of life.

Educational Women Empowerment- It means empowering women with the knowledge, skills, and self-confidence Necessary to participate fully in the development process. It means making women aware of their rights and Developing a confidence to claim them.

Economic and occupational empowerment- It implies a better quality of material life through sustainable livelihoods owned and managed by women. It means reducing their financial dependence on their male counterparts by making them a significant part of the human resource.


Legal Women Empowerment -It suggests the provision of an effective legal structure which is supportive of women Empowerment. It means addressing the gaps between what the law prescribes and what actually occurs.

Political Women Empowerment- it means the existence of a political system favouring the participation in and control By the women of the political decision-making process and in governance.

Empowering women is one of the most effective tools for improving lives of family, community and nation as a whole.

Thus, it is imperative need to develop women empowerment.

“there is an urgent need to tackle the illes of the society against women through active participation of all- men, women, society and governments. It is imperative to make women empowerment a people’s movement.”

-Sushma swaraj


Our judiciary is one of the four pillars on which Indian democracy stands. It governs and drives our actions and categorises them into legal and illegal verticals. Among several judges in the 25 High Courts of India, female judges make up only 11.7% of the population, states the report of Supreme Court Observer.


Motivates More Women to Seek Justice: Higher numbers, and greater visibility, of women judges can increase the willingness of women to seek justice and enforce their rights through the courts.

Different Point of Views: It is definitely valuable to have representation of various marginalities in the judiciary because of their different lived experience.

Increase Judicial Reasoning: Increased judicial diversity enriches and strengthens the ability of judicial reasoning to encompass and respond to varied social contexts and experiences.



  • Universal declaration of Human Rights (1948)-All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without any discrimination on race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
  • Convention on Political Rights of Women (1952)-Women shall be entitled to vote in all elections on equal terms with men, without any discrimination. Women shall be eligible for election to all publicly elected bodies, established by national law, on equal terms with men, without any discrimination. Women shall be entitled to hold public office and to exercise all public functions, established by national law, on equal terms with men, without any discrimination.
  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1967)- The Convention provides the basis for realizing equality between women and men through ensuring women's equal access opportunities in political and public life which includes right to vote and to stand for election as well as education, health and employment. States parties agree to take all appropriate measures, including legislation and temporary special measures, so that women can enjoy all their human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Convention is the only human rights treaty which affirms the reproductive rights of women and targets culture and tradition as influential forces shaping gender roles and family relations. It affirms women's rights to acquire, change or retain their nationality and the nationality of their children. States parties also agree to take appropriate measures against all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of women.
  • Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993)-The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993. It covers physical, sexual and psychological violence at home and elsewhere in society.


All provisions of the Constitution and all laws enacted by the legislature get their real meaning and import through the process of judicial interpretation.

 The Constitutional mandate and the various laws providing for protective discrimination in favour of women relating to several aspects of their social, economic and political life have come up before the courts. Through various devices like judicial review, judicial activism, social action litigation and the duty of enforcement of fundamental rights the superior Courts in India have evolved a gender jurisprudence which has given substance and life to the constitutional scheme of protective discrimination in favour of women.

 Below is detailed overview of the judicial approach in various cases, where the Courts have successfully delivered their verdict to strengthen position of women.



In India there are numerous laws aimed at empowerment of women in all areas such as personal, labour, criminal and socio-economic fields.

  1. Constitution of India:
    • Fundamental Rights: The policy of women empowerment is well entrenched in the Fundamental Rights enshrined in our Constitution.


Art 14 states about principle of equality- right to equality, Art15 specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex

Art 15(3) empowers the State to take affirmative actions in favour of women. Article 16 provides for equality of opportunity for all citizens relating to employment of appointment to any office.

These rights being fundamental rights are justiciable in court and the Government is obliged to follow the same.


    • Directive Principles of State Policy:

Directive principles of State Policy also contains important provisions regarding women empowerment and it is the duty of the government to apply these principles while making lows or formulating any policy. Though these are not justiciable in the Court but these are essential for governance.

Art 19 (a) provides that the State to direct its policy towards securing for men and women equally the right to an adequate means of livelihood.

Art 19 (d) mandates equal pay for equal work for both men and women

Art 42 provides that the State to make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.


    • Fundamental Duties: Fundamental duties are enshrined in Part IV-A of the Constitution and are positive duties for the people of India to follow.

It also contains a duty related to women's rights:

Art 51 (A) (e) expects from the citizen of the country to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India and to renounce practices deviatory the dignity of women

    • Other Constitutional Provisions:

Through 73rd and 740 Constitutional Amendment of 1993, a very important political right has been given to women which is a landmark in the direction of women in International Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics Special In India. With this amendment women were given

31.33 percent reservation in seats at different levels of elections in local governance at Panchayat Block and Municipality elections.


  1. Indian Penal Code, 1860
    • Section -202, 203 and 294 provide for punishment in sale and exhibit of scene books objections and for obscene at in public place.
    • Section 304bs deals about murder of women in connection with demand of dowry.
    • Sections -312 to 318 deal about punishment for causing miscarriage.
    • Section- 354 provides punishment for outraging the modesty of any women.
    • Section- 366 deals about kidnapping for marriage against her will.
    • Section 366-A deals about procuration of minor girls for sexual purpose.
    • Section 376 deals about punishment for rape.
    • Section 494 protects women from bigamy.
    • Section 497 deals about protection of married women from adultery.
    • Section 498-A of Indian Penal Code deals about subjecting women to cruelty by her husband a relatives and her husband.
    • section 509- provides fluttering words and gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman.


  1. Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973: Under Section125-128 Code of Criminal Procedure a woman has Got right to maintenance


  1. Indian Evidence Act, 1872-
    • Sections 113(A)-provide for presumptions as to abetment of suicide by a married woman within 7 years of marriage as dowry death of a woman And as to absence of consent of woman formal intercourse.
    • Section113 (B)- Presumption as to Dowry death.


  1. Hind Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956
    • Section18-A provides for captions of husband to maintain his wife. Section 182) provides right of wife to live separately.
    • Section19- provides for maintenance of widow by her father-in-law


  1. Hindu Succession Act, 1956:
    • Section 14 of the Act provides for property of female Hindu to be her absolute property.
  • Section 23 provides right of female legal heirs in the dwelling house
  1. The Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act 1956 Section 6 of the Act provides for mother as natural guardian for minors below 5 years


  1. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955:
    • Section 13(2) of the Act provides for wife to present a petition for divorce.
    • Section 13(b) provides equal right for wife for getting divorce by mutual consent Section 24 of the Act provides for relief for interim maintenance and expenses.
    • Section 25 of the Act provides for right to a wife to seek permanent alimony and maintenance .
    • Section 26 of the Art provides right to claim custody of children


  1. The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961: Under the provisions of this Act demand of dowry either before marriage, during marriage and or after the marriage is an offence


  1. The Muslim Women (Protection of Right on divorce) Act, 1986: Under the provisions of the Act provides for maintenance of women by the relatives after iddat period.


  1. The Factories Act, 1948: The provisions of this Act provides for health, safety, welfare, and working hours for women labour working facilities.


12 The Equal Remuneration Act 1976 It provides for payment of equal wages to both men and women workers for the same work or work of similar nature. I also prohibits discrimination Against women in the matter of recruitment


  1. The Employees State Insurance Act, 1948 The Act provides for insurance pension and


  1. Maternity benefits to women workers :Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. It provides for maternity benefit with full wages for women workers


  1. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971: The Act safeguards women from necessary and compulsory abortions


  1. The Child Marriage Real Act, 1976 The Act provides safeguards for girls from child 17. The Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act, 1986: The Act safeguards women from


  1. The Pre Diagnostic Technique (Regulation and Prevention of Men) Act, 1994 This Act prohibits diagnosing of pregnant women and also identification of child in the womb whether it is male or female.


  1. The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986. The Act safeguards women from Indent representation


  1. The Commission of Sati(Prevention) Act, 1992: safeguards women from Sati.


  1. The National Commission for Women Act, 1992: The Act provides for a setting up a statutory body namely the National Commission for Women to take up remedial measures, and facilitate redress of grievances and advise the Government on all policy matters.


  1. The Family Courts Act 1984 The Act provides for setting up Family Court for in-camera proceedings for women


  1. The Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Eve-eating Act 1980: The Act provides punishment for it protecting women.


  1. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005: The Act provides for punishment for domestic violence committed by husband and his relatives and also provides legal assistance for women suffering from domestic violence. It also provides interim maintenance to women and also for compensation and damages


  1. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 deals with the laws relating to sell in Section 375, 367 354 and 500 1PC and the relevant sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 and the Indian Evidence Act 1872.


  1. Air India Vs Nargesh Meerza, (1981) 4 SCC 335]-This case deals with the women's right to equality. In this case the Supreme Court struck down the clause of retirement of air hostess on umaining 35 years of age or on marriage within first 4 year of service or on first pregnancy as being arbitrary and unreasonable and clearly vislative of arscle 14 of Indian Constitution
  2. Vishaka Sawhney Vs State of Rajasthan, AIR 1997 SC 3011, (1998) -This is the very famous case and the alarm raiser for the need of such act which can prevent the women from sexual harassment at the work place. In this landmark judgment the supreme case held that sexual harassment at work place is a violation of article 15 and 21 of the constitution and he laid down the exhaustive guidelines to prevent sexual harassment of working women in places of their work until a law is passed for this purpose. Recently in 2013 The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (PREVENTION, PROHIBITION and REDRESSAL) Act, 2013 was passed by the parliament of India.


  1. Sarta Mudgal Vs Union of India 1995, AIR 1531, 1995 SCC (3) 635-This case brought to lime light, the gross exploitation of personal laws of women. In this instance, a Hindu male, married under the Hindu law, desirous of taking on a second wife, cconverted to islam. After the second marriage he reverted to Hinduism, Second wife pleaded that she had no protection under neither of the personal law. In view of this case the Supreme Court directed the union government to implement uniform civil code.


  1. Mary Roy Vs State of Kerala-Women from the Syrian Christian community in Kerala were prevented from inheriting property due to patriarchal traditions. This decree was challenged by Mary Roy, a woman’s right activist and educator, After the demise of her father, she filed a case against her elder brother when she was denied equal share in the family’s inheritance. Though the plea was rejected by the lower court, the Kerala High Court overruled the previous judgment. In 1986, the Supreme Court delivered a landmark judgment that granted Syrian Christian Women the right to seek an equal share in their father’s property.


  1. Laxmi’s Union of India-Is 2006, Laxmi, an acid attack victim, filed a petition seeking measures to regulate the sale of acid and provide adequate compensation to the victim. Taking commizance of the number of cases relating to acid attacks against when on the rise, the Supreme Court imposed stringent egulations on the sale of acid. The ruling banned over the counter sale of acid. Dealers can sell the acid only if the buyer provides a valid identity of and states the need for the purchase. It is mandatory for the dealer to submit the details of the sale within the days to the police. It also made in illegal to sell acid to a person below 18 years


  1. Centre for enquiry into Health and Allied themes (CEHAT) Vs Union of India” With the advent of pre-natal diagnostic techniques that could determine the sex of a fetus, the growing trend of aborting female fetuses was observed. In a hid to curtail female fericide, the government of India issued the PNDT Act in 1996.The provisions of the PNDT Act, however, were not being effectively implemented by the state and central government, The Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied themes filed a petition which led to the Supreme court directing the Central and State governments to enact the provisions of the aut immediately, and banned all advertisements relating to pre-natal sex determination techniques


    1. Shamima Farooqni v. Shahid Khan 16 April 2015)-Supreme Court held that women cannot be treated as beggars and their grace cannot be lowered is rightful claim to maintenance after divorce if the husband has since then retired his service


    1. Mohammad Ahmed Khan Vs Shah Bano Begum, 1985 AIR 945, 1985 SCR (3) 844- Popularly known as the Shah Bano case, a penurious Muslim woman dammed for maintenance from her husband under section 125 of the code of the criminal procedure after she was given triple talaq from him. The Supreme Court held that the Muslim women have a right to get maintenance from her husband under section 125. After the decision, nationwide discussions, meetings and agitations were held. Then Rajiv Gandhi led government overturned the Shab Bano case decision by way of Muslim women (Right to protection on divorce) act, 1986, which curtaded the right of a Muslim women for maintenance under section 125 of the code of criminal procedure


    1. Tuka Ram And Anr vs State Of Maharashtra, 1979 AIR 185, 1979 SCR) X19 Popularly known as the Mathura rape case was an incident of rape, Mathura, a young tribal girl, was allegedly raped by two policemen on the compound of Police Station. But the Supreme Court acquitted the accused, and the decision rebind the big public outcry and protest, which eventually led to amendments in Indian . The Criminal Law Second Amendment) Act 1983 (No. 46)


    1. Mackinnon Mackenzie Vs Audrey D'costa, 1987 AIR 1281-The first major judgment on the Equal Remuneration act had been delivered by the Supreme Court in this case, In this case Audrey a lady stenographer sued her company under equal remuneration act as she was paid less than the male stenographer.
    2. In Railway Board vs. Chandrima Das-It was a case of gang-rape of a Bangladeshi national by the employees of the Indian Railway in a room at Yatriniwas at Howrah station. These employees managed the “Yatriniwas the government contended that it could not be held Sable under the law of tors as the offence was not committed during the course of official duty. However, Hon’ble court didn’t accepted this argument and stated that the employees of union of Indian, who are deputed to run the railways and manage the establishment, including the Railways station and Yatrinivas are essential components of the government machinery which carries on the commercial activity. If any such employee commits an act of tort, the Union Government of which they are the employees can, subject to other legal requirement being satisfied be held Vicariously liable in damages to the person wronged by the those employees. The victim was awarded by Supreme Court with a compensation of Rs 10 lakhs for being gang raped in Yatriniwas of railway. Since the right is available to non-citizens also, the reach of the right is very wide.



  • Public Awareness .
  • The National Commission for Women and the National Human Rights Commission could be important addressing violations of women’s rights.
  • Proper redress or remedy to their grievances when needed such as in times of domestic violence or dowry cruelty etc.
  • Judiciary should be more vigilant in protecting the rights of women.
  • Judiciary should take stringent decision in punishing the offenders.



Women are an integral part of a society, they play a vital role in determining the destiny of a nation. We are most powerful when we work together as a team by which we could achieve to embrace the progress, creativity & independence. In consequence road map for women empowerment is there but still we have miles to go on this path of empowerment.

Each person has a unique role in the community opportunities to fulfil those must be given. This in particular, will take its time as well. The idea of women empowerment might sound hard by the yard, but by the inch, it is just a cinch. All we need is a concentrated effort focused in the right direction that would rest only with the liberation of women from all forms of evil. Therefore, due recognition for them becomes all the more important.

“The fight is not for woman’s status but for human worth. The claim is not to end inequality of women but to restore universal justice. The bid is not for loaves and fishes for the forsaken gender but for cosmic harmony which never comes till woman comes.”

- Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer





      1. Indian constitutional Law by M.P.Jain.
      2. PSA pillai’s – Criminal Law
      3. Law relating to women and children by Dr.S.P.Gupta.
      4. Women empowerment and development.
      5. Law relating to women & children by Mamta Rao. 6.Women and law by Myneni.

Online sources:

  1. https://www.impaper.net/women empowerment in india/Author: Prod. V.P Chupta
  2. http://www.yourarticlebbrary.com/essay/essay-on-women-empowerment-in-       india/31317 Author: Puja Mondal
  3. http://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/1862/Judicial-Activism-and-Women- empowerment-india-html.
  4. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322736012_LEGISLATIVE_AND_JUDICIAL_ PERSPECTIVE_OF_WOMEN_EMPOWERMENT
  5. http://www.pory.in/NewFolderMania.pdf EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN IN INDIA: A CRITICAL ANALYSIS.



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