No headway on Women’s Reservation Bill

No headway on Women’s Reservation Bill
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First Published: Thu, Mar 05 2009. 01 39 PM IST
Updated: Thu, Mar 05 2009. 01 39 PM IST
New Delhi: It is curtains for the much-talked about Women’s Reservation Bill, at least for the time being.
While the 14th Lok Sabha has just concluded its last session, the Parliamentary Standing Committee examining the Women’s Reservation Bill has now got one more extension to complete its task.
The Committee headed by senior Congress MP E M Sudarshana Natchiappan has been given the latest extension till the constitution of the 15th Lok Sabha after the general elections.
The Constitution amendment Bill seeking to provide 33% quota to women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies has been hanging fire for over a decade due to lack of unanimity.
Natchiappan said that the tenure of the Committee was also coming to an end and it would be reconstituted by the new Lok Sabha.
“We have prepared a list of whatever work we have done with regard to collection of evidences and given it to the chairman,” he said, adding the new committee has to carry forward the task.
Natchiappan said that there were only two options before the committee — whether to pass the Bill as it is or increase the number of seats by one-third.
“The committee is alive and looking into the inputs which it is still receiving,“ Natchiappan said, adding the committee needed to have some more consultations with North Eastern states and women’s organisations.
The Bill has remained stalled due to the insistence by some parties on a “quota within quota” and the committee hoped for a consensus on the issue which has been eluding for over a decade.
Samajwadi Party had made it clear that it was against any haste on the measure. RJD, a key UPA ally, also opposed to the Bill in its present form.
However, the main opposition BJP said it would support the Bill in its present form.
Its advocates say the Bill is essential for active political participation of women, while its opponents argue that the quota as envisaged in the measure would only help women of elite groups gain political power, aggravating the plight of poor and deprived sections.
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First Published: Thu, Mar 05 2009. 01 39 PM IST