The landmark but controversial legislation which seeks to provide 33 per cent reservation to women in Lok Sabha and the state Legislative Assemblies for 15 years is unlikely to be introduced in Parliament in the immediate future by the incumbent NDA government.
Union Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda informed the Rajya Sabha on Friday that consensus across the parties is required over the Bill. However, the Union minister assured that the BJP-led NDA government is committed towards the bill and it has been the “endeavour” of the government to provide for reservation of one-third seats for women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
“The issue involved needs careful consideration on the basis of consensus among all political parties before a bill for amendment in the Constitution is brought before Parliament,” Sadanand Gowda said in a written reply before the Upper House.
The Union Law minister was replying to a question on whether the Central government has taken steps to provide for 33 per cent reservation to women in the lower house as well as state assemblies.
A similar legislation was brought in by the previous Congress-led UPA government but it got lapsed following the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha in May 2014. As per the constitutional provisions, any bill pending in Lok Sabha lapses with the dissolution of the House. Bills introduced in Rajya Sabha and pending there are put on the ‘live register’ and remain pending.
The 18-year-journey of the Women’s Reservation Bill was marked by high drama and roadblocks in each outing in Parliament before the historic measure cleared the first legislative hurdle in March 2010, when Rajya Sabha passed it during a sitting which saw marshals being used.
(With inputs from the PTI)