Oppose the Undemocratic Womens Reservation Bill sign now

The 108th Constitutional Amendment Bill is yet another example of the growing gap between pious promises and actual results of government policies and legislation in India.

The Bill provides for reservation on rotation basis through a lottery system, which means that two-thirds of the incumbent members will be forcibly unseated in every general election and the remaining will remain in a limbo till the last moment. Such compulsory unseating violates the basic principal of democratic representation and jeopardises the possibility of effective planning to contest by nurturing a political constituency for both male and female candidates. As legislators will be denied the possibility of seeking re election from the same constituency, politics will become even less accountable than at present. Since a seat will be reserved once in 15 years, males who will be pushed out of their constituency are likely to field their own female relatives as proxy candidates as a stopgap arrangement and women will not get the chance to cultivate deep roots in their constituency. Women will be ghettoised and forced to fight elections only against other women. They will lack the legitimacy of being mainstream politicians. Moreover, this Bill is completely silent about women's representation in Rajya Sabha and Legislative Councils.

It is unfortunate that the UPA Government under pressure from the CPM did not take several more viable alternative proposals that have been mooted in the last few years for enhancing the representation of women in legislatures. The Alternative Bill proposed by Manushi CSDS and Loksatta has received the endorsement of the Election Commission and several political parties who are opposed to the recently tabled Bill.

We have proposed that a law be enacted amending The Representation of the People Act, 1951, to make it mandatory for every recognized political party to nominate women candidates for election in atleast one-third of the constituencies. In the event of any recognized party failing to nominate one-third women candidates, for the shortfall of every single woman candidate, two male candidates of the party shall lose the party symbol and affiliation and all the recognition-related advantages. (For details see issue No 116 at www.manushi-india.org )

This Bill has the following advantages: Firstly, parties will be free to field women candidates where they can offer a good fight rather than in pre-fixed lottery based constituencies, where they may or may not have viable women candidates. Thus there is flexibility and promotion of natural leadership. A woman candidate will be contesting both against female and/or male candidates of rival parties. The democratic choice of voters is not restricted to compulsorily electing only women candidates.

Unlike with the lottery system of reserved constituencies, in which women's presence is likely to get ossified at 33 percent since there would be resistance to letting women contest from non-reserved constituencies, this model allows for far greater flexibility in the number and proportion of women being elected to legislatures. If women are candidates for one-third of all seats contested by each party, theoretically they could even win the vast majority of seats - all on merit.

Another major advantage of our Alternative Bill is that it obviates the need for a quota within a quota. Since the onus of fielding women candidates will be each party, those who are concerned about increased representation of OBC, BC women can field as many BC/OBC women as they think appropriate. Given the prevailing electoral arithmetic, OBC, BC communities have a great numerical edge over so-called upper castes. That is how most of our state legislatures are heavily dominated by OBC/BC men even without a reserved quota for them. The same caste arithmetic will work in favour of women of these communities.

This Bill is likely to face endless delays and obstructions because it requires an amendment to the Constitution, which mandates a 2/3 vote in favour of the Bill in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Thereafter, it has to be ratified by at least half of the state legislatures. Given the overt and covert opposition to this Bill within all parties, including the Congress, the Bill will face endless hurdles and delays along the way. By contrast the Alternative Bill proposed by Manushi can be passed by a simply majority in the two Houses since all it requires is an amendment to the Representation of Peoples' Act.

We therefore request you to oppose this discriminatory and undemocratic bill by signing this petition to send a powerful message to the Indian Legislature.

About Manushi
Manushi has been active voice for women rights since 1979 and has been involved in numerous initiatives for achieving gender equality and for the welfare of women. More details about Manushi and its activities can be found on www.manushi-india.org

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Latest Signatures

  • 18 December 2015100. Tamilazhagan Mcgrath
    I support this petition
  • 28 November 201599. S Vn
    Divorce with any reason and had love before marriage and cheated my life as it is difficult
  • 28 November 201598. Vimal K
    The Petition is commendable and reflects my thoughts
  • 25 October 201597. Pavan K
    I support this petition
  • 13 October 201596. Pichika S
    I do oppose this bill, as it will create lot of social ,marital and legal problems.Now the days as come where we should stop thinking about reservation and quota's .
  • 06 June 201595. Milon Cline
    I support this petition
  • 16 May 201594. Virag Ellison
    This bill is thoroughly undemocratic, unconstitutional and does not deserve the light of the day. If old alpha male politicians are not giving up their power positions, then that is their problem, why should 110 million men suffer for that?
  • 11 May 201593. Rohan Frank
    I support this petition
  • 19 March 201592. Sachin K
    women should come
  • 11 March 201591. Karthik S
    I support this petition
  • 20 January 201590. Pardeep Gilbert
    Reserrvation is no solution for any kind matter. Reservation is a child of slavary mindset only.
  • 10 January 201589. Anand S
    I support this petition
  • 16 December 201488. Chadha Boyle
    I support this petition
  • 05 December 201487. Rajesh Estes
    I support this petition
  • 24 November 201486. Durga Prasadk
    I strongly oppose this bill because it is against talent,intelligence etc
  • 10 November 201485. Ahamed Carrillo
    I support this petition
  • 06 July 201484. Risal Singhw
    Oppose the undemocrate women reservation bill.
  • 18 April 201483. Anuradha P
    I support this petition
  • 26 March 201482. Gokulpr Norman
    Public representatives should be elected on the basis of caliber and responsibility, not gender or reservations.
  • 08 March 201481. Arun Collier
    This law is undemocratic and violates the equality principle. politicians are saying women are not getting the opportunities to contest election but if we check the last stats we can see 556 women contested the election out of 572 seats.it clearly resmbel
  • 27 December 201380. Akhil Boyer
    I support this petition
  • 27 September 201379. Venkatesh B
    The bill have no right values.
  • 19 August 201378. Vijay S
    WRB must be co.ndemned at the most
  • 12 August 201377. Arunsrinivaas Mcclain
    already educated men are loitering in streets due to unemployment problem due to reservation in jobs provided to ladies in all fields what is the need to give further reservation in parliament by womens reservation bill let the party select them whether m
  • 30 July 201376. Vijaykumar J
  • 17 March 201375. Sudha M
    This reservation is like a crutch for handicapped person. Does it mean women of India are handicapped? No we are not handicapped. This bill is a slap in the face to the very soul of woman hood. I am a woman and come from a impoverished family and like any
  • 04 February 201374. Anuradha D
    I support this petition

browse all the signatures

Lynne SchmidtBy:
Transport and infrastructureIn:
Petition target:
Indian Parliament


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