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Article 19(1)(g):

All citizen shall have the right to pratice any profession, or to carry on 
any occupation, trade or Business.

"The meaning and content of the fundamental right... are of sufficient amplitude to encompass all the facets of gender equality including prevention of sexual  harassment or abuse... The fundamental right to carry on any occupation, trade or profession depends on the availability of a 'safe' working environment... When, however, instances of sexual harassment resulting in violation of fundamental rights of women workers under Article 14, 19 and 21 are brought before us for redress.., an effective redressal requires that some guidelines should be laid down for the protection of these rights to fill the legislative vacuum."

"In the absence of domestic law occupying the field, to formulate effective measures to check the evil of sexual harassment of working women, the contents of international conventions and norms are significant for the purpose of interpretation of the guarantee of gender equality... and the safeguards against sexual harassment implicit therein. Any international convention not inconsistent with the fundamental rights and in harmony with its spirit  must be read into these provisions to enlarge the meaning and content thereof;..."

- The Supreme Court in Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan, (1997) 6 SCC 241 (at 251, 247-248).


Though the Supreme Court had on several occasions shown its sensitivity to gender issues, Geeta Hariharan and Vishaka were watersheds. In the former case, interpreting the law, the Court held that the Hindu mother had equal right with  the Hindu father for guardianship of her child. In the later case, the Court, in the absence of legislation, placed reliance on the "Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women" (CEDAW) and the Government of India's resolution of 1993 at Beijing to construe the Constitutional guarantee of gender equality in the Indian Constitution. A comprehensive set of guidelines and norms were prescribed for employers, other responsible persons and institutions to ensure prevention of sexual harassment of women at the work place.



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