SC questions delay in Centre’s response on PIL for 33% women reservation in Parliament, Assemblies

SC questions delay in Centre’s response on PIL for 33% women reservation in Parliament, Assemblies. — IANS

New Delhi, Aug 11 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday questioned the Centre over delay in filing its reply on a PIL seeking re-introduction of the Women’s Reservation Bill, 2008 which contemplates reservation of 33 per cent seats in the Lok Sabha and all state Assemblies for women.

“You have not filed a reply. Why are you shying away?” a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and S.V.N Bhatti asked Additional Solicitor General K.M. Natraj, representing the Centre.

The bench said that the issue is “too important” and asked the ASG if the Centre intends to implement the one-third women quota.

In response, the ASG submitted that a writ of mandamus (order) cannot be issued by the top court to the Centre to table a particular legislation in the Parliament.

The court posted the matter for further hearing in the month of October, asking Centre to file its reply in the meantime.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had issued notice to the Centre on the plea moved by the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), saying that it is an important matter. The public interest litigation (PIL) plea pointed out that the bill was not passed despite promises, and its primary objectives have been publicly supported by the mainstream political parties including the present regime.

It submitted that it has been 25 years since the first Women’s Reservation Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in 1996, and the government has time and again provided frivolous reasons for the delay in passing of the Bill. It is submitted that the main reasons quoted by the respondent for not passing the Bill is the need for further consideration and consensus between political parties.

It said that the election manifestos of the political parties such as the BJP, the Congress, the AIADMK, the DMK, the Shiromani Akali Dal, the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the Biju Janata Dal, the Samajwadi Party, and the Nationalist Congress Party have included the promise of passing the Women’s Reservation Bill.

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