Article 15(3) Of Indian Constitution: When Exception Is The Rule

Article 15(3) of constitution
Problems of Article 15(3)

Women Empowerment, the most discussed yet least achieved target for any Indian govt. The need to bring Indian women to the mainstream of population was felt long back in the ‘50s, however, even after six decades women in India are not empowered and the need of a new law to empower them is felt almost every now and then.

To understand how exception has become the rule in India, let’s see what is written in article 15 of the constitution –

ARTICLE 15

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Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

(1) The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.

(2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to—

(a) access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment; or

(b) the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of the general public.

———————————————————————

So this article of our constitution says that the state will consider everyone equal in terms of their access to any public property or wealth. The reason this article was brought in was that in the ‘50s our India had a great issue of untouchability. People were simply denied access to public toilets, wells, bathing ghats etc. based on their caste or religion. So this article never talks about restricting anybody’s access to these public properties and hence gives a positive right to the people. So in a sense, it is a positive step for the people discriminated, allowing them equal access to the public resources available.

Now let’s see Article 15(3) of the constitution that empowers the state to make special provisions for women and children –

———————————————————————

ARTICLE 15(3)

“Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children.”

———————————————————————-

So it states that even though the state will not discriminate anyone, they can make special provisions only for women and children for safeguarding their interests. From the main article we understand that it may be like having some bathing ghats marked only for women, or some wells accessible only for women or some other public properties made accessible only to women etc. So we understand that if these provisions are made men will not be allowed to access those resources. This also clarifies that all these resources are public resources and NOT any private resource.

To understand this abuse, if you read this article you will know how many such provisions already exist today only for women. We wonder why in spite of the existence of so many provisions Indian women are never empowered.

Indian Constitution

Article 15(3) – Children Are Never Empowered

On the other hand article 15(3) also talks about empowering children, but we don’t see new laws coming for empowering children that often. In fact, in recent past we have seen only Sexual Harassment of Children law being passed by the parliament whereas for women a new Sexual Assault Law (Nirbhaya Act), Workplace Harassment Law, Domestic Violence Act, Amendment to Hindu Succession Act and many other laws are passed and different reservation policies in public places (like transport, ladies special etc.), less tax for women taxpayers, Concession in House Registration, grace marks in IIM etc. are also enacted. Also provisions of Salary to the Wife, Marital Rape, Provisions under Food Security Bill etc. are discussed.

We wonder why women are given much more security and rights than even our children under Article 15 (3) and why most of these laws actually talk about creating a harsher provision for men (which is negative right for men) rather than giving women right (which is positive right). And there can be no other reason other than the popular vote bank politics. We understand that children are not a vote bank for our politicians but women are. Hence we are made fools every day.

Positive and Negative Rights

To understand the concept of positive rights vs negative rights let’s take the example of Marriage Law Amendment (IrBM). Here a wife was given the right to her husband’s inheritable and inherited property where she had not contributed. So this was negative right for husband where the right to his own property was supposed to be taken away in the name of giving the property to the wife. If the constitution was followed then Govt. should have designed a welfare program for those women from govt. funds (and not from the husband’s money).

So even if we agree with what our leaders said in the parliament that –“98% women do not own property” even then the husband does not become responsible for giving them property. Now imagine how could unmarried women get property in this rule? This again confirms that IrBM bill was never intended to empower women but was aimed at extorting families so that the drama of empowerment continues.

Since this property given to the women under IrBM was not PUBLIC property but belonged only to their husbands, the applicability of Article 15 (3) did not arise (note constitution gives right to access to public places, institutions, properties etc. and not any private property). So this bill directly violated Article 15 that spoke about the state not discriminating one based on one’s gender. Yet this was passed by Rajya Sabha for political reasons.

Our constitution makers wanted to bring reservation or special provisions only for 10 years. However, our politicians are continuing the same for vote bank politics and showing Article 15(3) as a reason. However, the constitution only gave permission to create special provisions and not new laws for women. Unless this sense prevails in our legislature we can’t stop the anarchy prevailing in the society in the name law misuse and taking our legal system for a ride in all women-centric laws.


Related Articles –

1. The Politics of Women Empowerment in India

2. An Open Letter to Honorable Supreme Court

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19 comments

  1. since, after marriage, the husband and wife are a single agency so the property should belong to wife also, and this right is given because of the status of women in Indian society since past to present. And if the condition of women comes parallel or near about to men then definitely these laws and provisions should be declared void.
    and yes your interpretation is good but it includes more “political approach”.

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    • Good point. So, wife also should have contribution to the agency in financial terms and that agency should have 50 – 50 financial contribution in the beginning unless otherwise agreed by the partners. Regarding Status of women in Indian society, please don’t talk in vague terms. Be specific if you want to show that women’s status was low or bad. I like specific and logical comments and not some vague opinion.

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      • in past, the women were like completely dependent on man…so the special provisions were made for them.and ya women status was very low and bad as compared to men.

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        • Wait..even children are dependent on men even today. That only means there was a social security in place, which is lacking today. Now, when women are becoming independent at least per the law then they should contribute, right? at least it should be legally accepted and bound? So, having one archaic notion of keeping women dependent on men can’t be justified if we want equality, right? So, dowry should be legalized.

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        • How come.

          Did any one stopped women from working?

          Did any laws say do not give the property to the daughter?

          How many men are getting property. By taking from parents and working hard for job.

          Women also can do same.

          It is just painted men are responsible.

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        • Telling you again. This place is for informed comments and not some assumption based random talk. Be specific, will give you specific answers.

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  2. “reservation and special provision should prevail until the objective of the acts introduced”, is nearly achieved. and yes, the women are becoming independent but the majority of the population still lacks.

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    • Are all men rich and settled?
      It depends on person. As a system, laws permitting girls to take their property from parents as well as women too can work

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      • whether all men are rich and settled do not matter. The thing that matter is that our society is a” patriarchal society” and as children get the share in parents property, the same, the wife gets the share in husband property.
        yes, it is a debatable topic but existing laws and provisions should not be void unless the aim is achieved.
        and the data shows that there is still a long time to go in this matter for both children and women.

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        • So, you believe in Vedic philosophy, that says women should be protected. So, you also need to believe in the philosophy that women should be ‘under’ supervision of men,don’t you think so? Children are ‘under protection’ of their parents. That is why children are not considered ‘equal’ to parents. The reason is when two individuals become ‘equal’, one can’t be taken for granted to ‘protect’ or take care of the other. Since, feminist concept is equality, men can’t be taking care of women. Do you understand how BIG hypocrite you are?

          Considering ‘children’ as equal to men is a stupid thing. They should NOT be considered as ‘equal’ to men. If that happen then a lot of problems will start. Children will start disrespecting their own parents. The whole social structure will break down. Also, if children are equal to adults (males or females), then can we consider children for PM? Plain and simple answer is ‘NO’. So, only idiots can think that children should have equal rights. In fact, there can’t be equal rights at all and rights is based on responsibilities. That does not mean people should not be protected. These are different aspects.

          In fact, even two men are not equal. Everyone is unique and we are always ruled by other powerful men. For instance, you and me are not same. In your company, if everyone is treated equal then there will be no organization. Similarly in a society everyone can’t be equal. That is why socialism didn’t sustain. Study more about world history and stay tuned to my blog to know more about how stupid is the idea of equality.

          Like

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