gender-equalityOn Friday, 7 August 2015, Supreme Court of India will hear a petition which seeks a direction to the chief ministers of seven Indian states to consider inclusion of women legislative members in their councils of ministers. The Writ Petition has been filed by DK Aruna, a former information and public relations minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh and a present MLA from Gadwal constituency in Telengana.

The PIL petition questions the gender inequality in the councils of ministers in the following seven states:

  1. Telangana
  2. Uttar Pradesh
  3. NCT of Delhi
  4. Punjab
  5. Nagaland
  6. Mizoram and
  7. Puduchery
Case No. Writ Petition (C) No. 512 of 2015
Case Title DK Aruna v. State of Telengana & Ors.
  • Chief Justice HL Dattu
  • Justice Arun Mishra
  • Justice Amitava Roy

The PIL is based on the ground that there is not a single woman representative in the governments of these states. Advocate-on-Record Sarvan Kumar K. who has filed the petition told IANS/Business Standard that absence of women members in the governments was in breach of the right to equality guaranteed under article 14 of the Constitution of India.

PIL claims that  the state governments’ actions in “causing gender inequality” in the composition of the council of ministers was in violation of the Constitution

Petitioner DK Aruna, a third time MLA, says that “not only men, [but] women also fought in large numbers”, but the “first government (of Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao) did not care for the sentiments of women of the state”. She further says that “there are women members in the assembly from the ruling party but no woman has been given opportunity even after one year of governance”.

Petitioner has claimed said women members of the state assemblies have not been included in the government as the chief ministers lack appreciation of article 164 of the Constitution which speaks of the appointment of the chief minister and the council of ministers by the governor on the aid and advice of the chief minister.

Article 164 of the Constitution provides:

164. Other provisions as to Ministers

(1) The chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister, and the Ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor: Provided that in the State of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, there shall be a Minister in charge of tribal welfare who may in addition be in charge of the welfare of the Scheduled Castes and backward classes or any other work
(2) The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly of the State
(3) Before a Minister enters upon his office, the Governor shall administer so him the oaths of office and of secrecy according to the forms set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule
(4) A Minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of the Legislature of the State shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a Minister
(5) The salaries and allowances of Ministers shall be such as the Legislature of the State may from time to time by law determine and, until the Legislature of the State so determines, shall be as specified in the Second Schedule The Advocate General for the State

Image from here