The Bombay High Court has struck down a discriminatory state policy that prevented ‘married daughters’ from seeking transfer of a retail licence previously held by a deceased family member. A division bench, of Justices AS Oka and AS Chandurkar, said that the explanation provided by the state government for continuing with the policy had no logic and that the rule was against certain articles of the Constitution.
A woman had moved the court after her retail licence to run a kerosene supply shop was cancelled by the government following a complaint by her brother. The married woman, had applied in 2007 for transfer of a licence owned by her deceased mother. The request initially was granted and the permit was transferred in her name. However, her brother challenged the decision, saying that she was not eligible for the licence as she was married. Officials withdrew the permit in 2009.
The judges observed that the policy was against Article 14 (equality before law), Article 15 (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth) and Article 19(1)(g) (practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business) of the Constitution.