Role of the Indian State and Judiciary in ensuring Gender Justice: A Paradigm shift in the nature of Policy Making and Pro- active role of the Judiciary
The concept of Gender Justice refers to the basic level of human right that seeks to deliver Justice to all irrespective of gender and ensure a dignified life. The Constitution of India tried to deliver gender Justice through a number of constitutional measures like the Preamble, Fundamental Rights, DPSP etc. and these ideals are implemented through various schemes and policies by the Indian legislature. Right from the Abolition of Sati act (1829), Widow Remarriage Act (1856), during British period to Dowry Prohibition Act (1961), the Domestic violence (Prohibition) Act along with measures like Gender Budgeting, 33% reservation of seats for women in Panchayat bodies, schemes like Sukanya Samriddhi Abhiyan, Ujjwala Yojana, Surrogacy Act all seeks to address the issue of gender parity in India. Besides the Indian Judiciary also played a pivotal role in ensuring gender Justice while addressing various cases like Gita Hariharan v. Reserve Bank of India, Vishakha & Others v. State of Rajasthan etc. to recent order regarding Sabarimala issue, Equal Role for Women in Army etc. It can be said that earlier the policies and acts are mostly concerned about the upliftment of the social position of women, but with the changing time and society new issues are gaining momentum like property and economic rights of women, health issue, women and political representation, women and environment along with the latest issue of justice for the LGBTQ community after Supreme Court of India decriminalized section 377 of the Indian Panel Code (IPC). Hence this paper seeks to analyze the ‘process of transition in the nature of policy making' by the Indian state along with the process of judicial activism regarding delivering gender justice. It seeks to analyze the new areas and insights that are gaining much attention of the policy makers and the courts of law. Though a number of positive initiatives have been taken from time to time to attain gender parity, a lot is yet to be done as India still lacks behind in Global Gender Gap Index published by World Economic Forum. Hence, through this paper an attempt will be made to discuss the areas that need to be addressed along with some remedial measures which can secure gender justice to the utmost level in the Indian society.