|Commonly known as the Women’s Reservation Bill, it seeks to reserve one-third of all seats for women in the LokSabha and the state legislative assemblies.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. Similar Bills have been introduced thrice before in the late 90’s but lapsed with the dissolution of their respective LokSabhas.
Highlights of the Bill
- The Constitution (One Hundred and Eighth Amendment) Bill seeks to reserve one-third of all seats for women in the LokSabha and the state legislative assemblies. The allocation of reserved seats shall be determined by such authority as prescribed by Parliament.
- One third of the total number of seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes shall be reserved for women of those groups in the LokSabha and the legislative assemblies.
- 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.
· 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.
· New talents will sprout among women representatives.
· . The percentage of representation for women is around 11%, much below the averages all across the world including parts of Sub-Saharan Africa so we need reservation
- 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.
- The report examining the 1996 women’s reservation Bill recommended that reservation be provided for women of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) once the Constitution was amended to allow for reservation for OBCs. It also recommended that reservation be extended to the RajyaSabha and the Legislative Councils. Neither of these recommendations has been incorporated in the Bill.
- The entry of more women may deprive the Houses of experienced legislators.
- women already have reservation at most places, why do they need it specifically at parliament
- In the LokSabha, out of a total of 543 seats, 122 are already reserved for the scheduled castes and tribes (SC/STs). Now a further 181 will be reserved for women, leaving only 282 seats open for the general category. Same is the case in the state assemblies, where out of the 4,109 seats, 1,167 are reserved for SC/STs and 1,370 for women, leaving 2,942 for the general category
- Since the ratio of reservation is 1:2, thus in the course of three election terms, in each seat in LokSabha and each seat in assemblies, there would be two free terms and one reserved term. Thus in a fifteen year term, each seat will get reserved for women only once as in India elections are held every five years.
- Reservation system would directly affect the Indian democratic recipe as instead of promoting equality, it is representing that women are weaker and need to be supported. This may further provoke for the demand of reservation on further caste creed factors which would be an unhealthy practice in the free India.
- Gender hatred could be encouraged.
- Political parties may have to locate women candidates irrespective of the candidate’s vision mismatch with that of the party’s.
- Powerful male members might be tempted to ‘reserve’ seats for women relatives (and thereby for themselves).
- Only elite women might stand to gain from the passing of this Bill Further discriminating against the under – represented and the marginalized.
- · The number 33 % is totally arbitrary and no justification has been provided. Even in advanced democracies like US and UK, where most women are already empowered, the number of women in legislature is less than 20%.
- This bill suggests a rotation system which would be determined by draw of lots, in such a manner that a seat would be reserved only once in a block of three general elections. This is a serious flaw, insofar as it mechanically provides for entry of women members to fill one-third of vacancies in LokSabha and VidhanSabhas. This subverts the democratic process which is all about free choice vis-à-vis a mechanical action/ process..
- The concept of reservation is an insult to women and their capability. It is an admission on her part of her inferiority. It gives the impression that women are incapable of competing with men and hence need protection and a support structure to enter public offices of parliament and state legislatures. In India, women have always been side-by-side with men in council as well as in battles.
- Reservation is indispensable – The bill does not recognize the fact that there have been many women who made it to high public offices and there have been many women Chief Ministers and a Prime Minister. Right now, we have a Woman Speaker. They all assumed office through their own efforts and without any reservation. The bill is based on the false assumption that women need reservation to enter high public offices.