Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Reservation for women in legislatures is wrong

Women’s Reservation Bill is in news again. UPA Government wants to pass it. One third of seats in Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies are up for reservations for women.

Very few have opposed reservations for women in legislatures. Some want the reservation to be 20% instead of 33%. Some want reservation for women of backward classes in 33%. Some want it to be obligatory for political parties to give 33% or 40% tickets to women.

Women are free to contest 100% of seats. Sonia Gandhi, Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee and Jayalalitha head political parties. India has a woman president and a woman Lok Sabha speaker. In 1966 a woman became the prime minister of India.

Women form 50% of the population and so they should have reservations in legislatures is not a valid argument. In some fields percentage of women is more than men. Most of the primary schools teachers, telephone operators and receptionists are women. In some fields men are more than women. Drivers of trucks, taxis and autorickshaws are mostly men. In some fields percentage of men and women is same. Number of men and women TV newsreaders in almost equal.

The constitution of India guarantees equality. Reserving seats is against equality. Many people want to be seen politically correct and do not publicly oppose reservations. If women constitute around 10% of legislatures because many women have not voted for women candidates. Mostly votes are cast for political parties. Women do not vote for a woman just because she is a woman.

Political parties give tickets on the basis of winnability. The women who have chance of winning are given tickets. Some women contest as independents. Reserving seats means those who could not have made it are allowed to make it and those who could have made it are not allowed to make it.

Reservations once come into effect do not go away. They continue and expand. Reservations for SCs and STs were meant for 10 years. They got expanded to 60 years with no sign of ending. OBC reservations got added. There is a competition to be backward. Those who are backward want ST status.

Women’s Reservation Bill is presently for 15 years with rotating constituencies. If passed, it is unlikely that reservations will end after 15 years. Extensions can be expected.

Reservations for women in local bodies and city buses must come to an end. Income Tax exemption limit should be same for men and women. Reservations for SCs, STs and OBCs must come to an end. UPA Government must scrap the Women’s Reservation Bill. Otherwise those who are not part of UPA should oppose the bill.

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