Khurana and Others v. Union of India and Others

The Cine Costume Make-up Artists and Hair Dressers Association of Mumbai (Association) was registered as a trade union under the Trade Unions Act, 1926. The Association’s by-laws prohibited qualified women make-up artists from becoming members of the Association based solely on their sex. Ms. Charu Khurana, a women make-up artist whose application for membership to the Association was rejected, challenged this prohibition on the grounds that it violated several rights under the Indian Constitution, including her rights to equality, to employment, and to a livelihood. Noting that gender justice is integral to the Indian Constitution, the Supreme Court struck down the Association’s by-laws as violating Articles 14, 15 and 21. Although the Court acknowledged that fundamental rights in India are enforceable only against the State and its authorities and not against purely private individuals or organizations, it found at the same time that a clause in the by-laws of a trade union registered under the Trade Unions Act, 1926, which is accepted by the Registrar of Trade Unions—a State authority under the Trade Unions Act—cannot violate the Indian Constitution.



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