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Women’s Reservation Bill

Women’s Reservation Bill
Highlights

After Congress president Sonia Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, urging him to get the Women-'s Reservation Bill passed in...

After Congress president Sonia Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, urging him to get the Women's Reservation Bill passed in the Lok Sabha, the government may now take the Bill out of cold storage. The Bill seeks to reserve one-third of seats in the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies for women, reports Firstpost.com.The Rajya Sabha had passed the Bill on 9 March, 2010.

The Bill is unique in the way it has polarised opinions as despite getting public support from all major national parties, including the BJP, Congress and the Left. However, it has drawn fierce opposition from some regional outfits and MPs from backward classes. Women's Reservation Bill [The Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill, 2008] commonly known as the Women's Reservation Bill was introduced by the UPA-I government in May 2008, says PRS Legislative Research.

Commonly known as the Women's Reservation Bill, it seeks to reserve one-third of all seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies. Introduced by the UPA-I government in May 2008, it also provides that one third of the total number of seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes shall be reserved for women of those groups. Reserved seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in the state or union territory. Reservation of seats for women shall cease to exist 15 years after the commencement of this Amendment Act.

There are divergent views on the reservation policy. Proponents stress the necessity of affirmative action to improve the condition of women. Some recent studies on panchayats have shown the positive effect of reservation on empowerment of women and on allocation of resources. Opponents argue that it would perpetuate the unequal status of women since they would not be perceived to be competing on merit.

They also contend that this policy diverts attention from the larger issues of electoral reform such as criminalisation of politics and inner party democracy. Reservation of seats in Parliament restricts choice of voters to women candidates. Therefore, some experts have suggested alternate methods such as reservation in political parties and dual member constituencies. Rotation of reserved constituencies in every election may reduce the incentive for an MP to work for his constituency as he may be ineligible to seek re-election from that constituency, according to http://www.prsindia.org.

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