JUDGE Markandey Katju of the Supreme Court stressed the need for women’s emancipation to make India a modern industrial nation.
“No doubt Article 15 (1) prohibits the state from discriminating against women, but it does not prohibit society from doing so, and in fact such discrimination is widespread beginning from the very birth of a child”, said Justice Katju while mentioning about sexual discrimination in Indian society. Justice Katju, who was delivering a lecture on ‘India and the Constitution’ in BHU here on Saturday, said: “Crime against women has increased lately, the courts are flooded with cases relating to dowry deaths, rape, domestic violence etc and all this shows that our society is still backward even though the Constitution is modern.”
“It may be mentioned that I.Q. tests in modern psychology have shown that the I.Q. of an average woman is the same as that of an average man”, he said adding, “If equal opportunity is given, a woman can perform as well as a man can e.g. Madame Curie who was the first person in the world who won two Nobel Prizes-one for physics and another for chemistry, Elizabeth I and Catherine the Great who were great statesmen etc.”
“The stories and novels of great Bengali writer Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay clearly bring out the great oppression which the Indian women were subjected to in our country.
Hence, it is not due to any inherent inferiority but only due to the fact that women were not given education and other opportunities that they could not come up to the level of men”, he said.
“No doubt, by a mere declaration of equality as a Constitutional right discrimination and inequality can not immediately be abolished, but it can certainly set forth an ideal which all patriotic and modern minded nations should strive for”, he observed.
“The great right in Part-III of our Constitution (i.e. the fundamental rights) would be meaningless unless it has a socio-economic content. The right in Part-III becomes only formal empty right unless people are guaranteed certain socio-economic rights e.g. right to employment, right to education, right to housing and medical care etc”, he said.
“A hungry man has no use of the right to freedom, of speech and expression. Similarly, an unemployed man has no use for the right to liberty. Hence, our Founding Father borrowed from the Irish Constitution, the Directive Principles and incorporated them in Part 4th of the Constitution”, said Justice Katju.