Recently the Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice V. Ramasubramanian of Hyderabad High Court has rejected the plea of appointing women in the cabinet of Ministers stating that there is no as such constitutional compulsion to include or exclude a person from a particular community in the Council of Ministers.
The PIL (Public Interest Litigation) was filed by the aggrieved Dara Sreesailam, a lawyer herself regarding non-inclusion of women as ministers in Cabinet till date. She was of the view that not permitting women into the cabinet as Ministers is suppressing the Constitutional Rights of the SC/ST/BC/Women which ultimately leads to gender discrimination in the cabinet itself. She was also of the view that mere non-existence of the word ‘women’ in Articles 74, 75 and 164 of the Indian Constitution does not mean that women should be prohibited from the Council of Ministers. It is the very primary responsibility of the Prime Minister and Chief Minister of State to allow women in the Cabinet so as to maintain the social justice and avoid discrimination based on
any ground whether caste or gender.
The observation made by the court in the recent case is as follows:
“There is no as such provision in Article 164 of the Indian Constitution except those which are relating to some of the States enumerated therein, which provides compulsion to include a particular community in the Council of Ministers. The bench further explained that the Article 164 has been made in such a way that no person shall be deprived merely on the basis of his gender, religion, caste or community. Also, it is the authority of the Chief Minister to make choice and advice the Governor as to who shall be appointed as minister in the Council of Ministers.
The dismissed PIL had sought some reliefs from the Court, they were:
- The act of Chief Minister for non-reference of women MLAs name to appoint them as ministers is illegal, arbitrary, unconstitutional and violative of Articles 14,15,16 & 21 of the Indian Constitution.
- Asking to direct the CM to refer the name of any woman MLA for appointment as a Minister.
- Pass an order regarding new definition of ‘Women’ in Articles 74, 75 and 164 of the Indian Constitution.
- Asking to pass an order as a reference of MLAs name to Governor is not the discretionary power of the Chief Minister. It is the constitutional obligation to give an opportunity to women MLAs in his cabinet to avoid gender discrimination.
- Asking to pass an order that shall also apply to Articles 74, 75 and 164 of the constitution of India.
- That Chief Minister shall follow the policy adopted by the previous Prime Ministers and Chief Ministers while appointing the ministers to their cabinet.
- An order stating that permitting only male members to the cabinet suppress the rights of women/SC/ST/BC.
- Asking for an order stating that the appointment of Reddy Community MLAs is unconstitutional, unethical and against the public policy.
- An order stating that the elected public representatives have failed to understand the importance of Articles 330 and 332 of the Indian Constitution.
Hence, after going through the reliefs sought by the female lawyer and as per the provisions of the Indian Constitution, the court dismissed the PIL stating that there is no such constitutional compulsion to include people from a particular community in the cabinet of Ministers. It is the sole discretion of the Chief Minister to make his choice and advice the governor as to who shall be appointed in his Council of Ministers.
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