The reservation had been made part of Indian constitution by the framers of our constitution to improve the conditions of the underprivileged section, depressed class and minority. It is on the premises, women groups are demanding for the reservation of 33% of the seat for women in the parliament.
According to them, they are not asking for grace and charity. Their contribution to the cause of nation building exceeds that of men. An international labour organization study shows that while women represent 50% of the world adult population and a third of the official labour force, they perform nearly two-thirds of all working hours, receive a tenth of world income and own less than 1% of world property. Therefore, reservation of women is note a bounty but only an honest recognition of their contribution to social development.
Till date, no consensus has been reached on this bill. There are many reasons for the delay in consensus. Some political parties want proper representation of different castes in the bill; some others are totally against the whole idea of reservation because they feel that will decrease dominance of men in the Indian politics.
According to the opponents of the bill, this bill will not help the cause of the women because it is based on the notion that only women can improve the condition of women. It will authorize the undemocratic principle that only members of one group can help other in that group. They suggest that instead of pressurising for the bill, women activists should put pressure on political parties to nominate more female candidates. This will be easier to accomplish than the passage of women’s reservation bill. Moreover, it will not require us to sacrifice of no more reservation for one particular interest group and we will not have to surpass the principle of democracy to accommodate one lot of very local activists.
Women groups feel even if the political parties agree to go one third of their seat to female candidate, there is no guarantee that the same number will be elected. As it is freely admitted by all parties that because of the in-built prejudice against women, male candidates will have an unfair advantage in election. This aspect is freely admitted by left parties. Thus, parties will tend to allow women candidates to fight elections from their weak constituencies.
So both the supporters and opponents of the bill have crossed their swords. In between there are some groups who are very confused. They don’t know which way they should go. They are trying to divide the bill on religion and caste basis.
It is a great irony that in every constituency 50% of the voters are women still don’t have 33% representation in the parliament. At the same time there is no guarantee that 33% reservation will bring any dramatic change in the plight of women. And there is nothing in our history that proves that the women leaders would be great champions of feminism. India has had many women leaders, the most prominent among them was Indira Gandhi. She did not do anything special for women which her predecessor Nehru did not do. However, if women reservation bill is passed it will give birth to new ideas in politics. All over the world India would be taken as the ideal for championing women’s rights. It would bring the lost glory which Indian women did enjoy in the past, when women were at the par with men.