New Delhi: The much-touted Bill to provide 33% quota to women for seats in Parliament and state assemblies is unlikely to be passed during the term of the present Lok Sabha which comes to an end in a few months.
This became clear with the Parliamentary Standing Committee getting the third extension to complete its task of scrutinising the Women’s Reservation Bill.
The Committee headed by senior Congress MP E M Sudarshana Natchiappan has been given the latest extension till the end of the next session of Parliament which is likely to commence sometime in February.
The Committee, to which the Bill was referred in May last year, got two extensions -- the last being till the end of the monsoon session of Parliament which went on till 23 December.
“Rajya Sabha Chairman has granted further extension to the Committee till the end of the next session of Parliament for presentation of report on the Bill,” the Rajya Sabha Secretariat said.
The passage of the Bill involves certain technicalities as it is a Constitution amendment Bill.
Besides the requirement of Parliament passing the Constitutional amendment Bill with two-third majority, the measure would have to go to state legislatures as at least 50% of the state legislatures are needed to ratify it.
Keen on securing a consensus on the Bill, Natchiappan said the Committee would visit some more states to hold wider consultations with political parties on the issue.
“The government wants to see that a consensus is arrived at so that the Bill is passed in Parliament and for that we are working,” Natchiappan said.
The Bill has remained stalled due to the insistence by some parties on a “quota within quota” and the Committee was hopeful of arriving at a consensus on the issue which has been eluding for over a decade.
To break the deadlock over the contentious Bill in its present form, which was opposed by the some parties like Samajwadi Party, the Committee has suggested that it should be left to the state legislatures to propose adequate representation in assembly and Lok Sabha for women and OBCs.
The reason behind the “compromise formula” was that state legislatures are better placed to decide the extent of representation in elected posts for women and OBCs.
Samajwadi Party, the ally of the ruling UPA coalition at the Centre, had made it clear that it was against any haste on the measure.
However, the main opposition BJP said it would support the Bill in its present form and asked the UPA government to clear it.
RJD, another key UPA ally, is also opposed to the Bill in its present form.