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Home > India > News > PTI

Panel on Women's Bill meets on stormy note

May 27, 2008 17:40 IST

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The first meeting of the key Parliamentary committee on Women's Reservation Bill on Tuesday was a stormy affair with the supporters and opponents of the measure indulging in verbal duels over the contentious issue.

The meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice saw clashes between supporters and opponents of the Bill seeking to provide 33 per cent reservation for women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

Sources said members from the RJD and the SP were in the forefront against the measure in its present form while a few other leaders including Brinda Karat of CPI(M) and Jayanti Natarajan of Congress vociferously came out in its support.

Those favouring the Bill accused the opponents of raking up extraneous issues in order to delay the Bill which was pending for more than a decade.

The opponents argued that the benefits would not reach the rural women and there should be a comparative study vis-a-vis the panchayat raj institutions where the reservation existed.

The Committee headed by senior Congress MP E M Sudarsana Natchiappan has already written to five national parties and 42 regional parties to give their views on the Bill.

The Committee has decided to visit Chennai for three days from June 22, Kolkata for two days from June 25 and Mumbai for two days from June 27 to enable political parties to give their opinion on the issue.

The Committee would meet here on June 17 and 18 to hear the views of political parties in the northern region on the Bill.

The Committee has been asked to give its report within three months.

Earlier the Committee had no women member but only recently Brinda Karat of CPI(M), Najma Heptulla [Images] of BJP and Jayanti Natarajan of Congress were included.

With the nomination of the three women members, staunch supporters of the measure, the deliberations are expected to witness fireworks.

RJD has brought in its Parliamentary party leader Devendra Prasad Yadav - a known opponent of the Bill in its present form - in the key Committee.

Yadav had recently threatened that his party may snap ties with the UPA if its demand for sub-quota for OBCs and minorities in the legislation was not conceded.

The Bill, introduced in Rajya Sabha on the last day of the Budget session of Parliament, was referred to the Committee.

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