Women’s Reservation Bill Deceptive, Betrayal of Electoral Promises: Women’s Rights Bodies 

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The reservation will be only applicable for 15 years, raising concerns about the long-term commitment to gender equality

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — While the ruling BJP is calling the introduction of the women’s reservation bill in Parliament a “historic move,” several women’s rights bodies have voiced their criticism, labelling the bill as deceptive and accusing the current dispensation of betraying the expectations of half the country’s population.

The Nari Shakti Vandana Act, also known as the Women’s Reservation Bill, is “hollow” and a fraudulent move brought to make electoral gain in the upcoming 2024 parliamentary elections, stated the All India Coordination- Progressive Organisation of Women (POW), Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan (PMS) and Istri Jagriti Manch (IJM) in a release issued to the press on Wednesday. 

The All India Coordination POW -PMS-IJM urged the Narendra Modi government to make amendments to the Bill by delinking it from census and delimitation, underlining that the two provisions were irrelevant. “The bill also does not guarantee immediate implementation, as it includes prerequisites such as conducting a census and completing the delimitation exercise. This delays any chance of implementation until 2027 or 2029, if at all,” underscored the statement.

It is to be noted that the census and completion of the delimitation exercise are prerequisites for the implantation of the Bill – a contention which is being criticised by several political parties and rights groups. It may take another five to eight years, observed several political experts. Notably, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also said that census and delimitation should not be made necessary for implementing the Bill.

The women’s rights groups have long demanded a 50% share in political decision-making, but the bill offers only a 33% reservation, underlined the statement.

The joint statement demanded the inclusion of a provision to ensure 50% reservation for women, with sub-quotas for OBCs, SCs, and STs. The women’s bodies also demanded the government to implement the Bill so that women can participate in the political decision-making process during the 2024 elections.  

The bill, which aims to reserve seats for women in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies but excludes its application in the Rajya Sabha and legislative councils, is viewed as a betrayal of the expectations of women’s rights advocates.

The women groups stated that the bill should be made applicable in the Rajya Sabha and legislative councils as well. 

The whole exercise shows the regressive mindset of the BJP, which seems to be rooted in the principles of the Manusmriti, said the All India Coordination POW -PMS-IJM. “This provision has been perceived more as dole or alms rather than an acknowledgement of women’s rights,” said the joint statement issued by the All India Coordination POW -PMS-IJM.

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Graphics courtesy: entertales.com

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