Verbal clashes in parliament panel meet on women’s bill

May 27th, 2008 - 8:02 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 27 (IANS) Political parties ranged for and against the contentious women’s reservation bill in parliament clashed Tuesday at the first meeting of the standing committee on 33 percent quota for women in legislative bodies. The meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice, which is expected to evolve a consensus on the legislation, began on a belligerent note with the Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Devendra Prasad Yadav asserting his party’s opposition to the bill.

Informed sources said Yadav wanted the bill “to be discussed in detail in the length and breadth of the country” to elicit as broad a public opinion as possible.

However, the Congress and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) MPs, who support the bill, alleged that the RJD MP was trying to “intimidate” them and thereby delay the passage of the bill. But the bill’s opponents said the benefits would not reach rural women if it was passed in the present form.

The Congress-led government introduced the bill in the Rajya Sabha last month amidst vehement protests from Samajwadi Party MPs.

Sources also said Congress MP Jayanti Natarajan pointed out that the bill, which has been pending for 12 years, had already been discussed by a joint parliamentary committee.

Nobody has difference over the reservation for women. The differences are over on how to go about it, many MPs who support the bill were heard saying.

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

Meanwhile, Jyotsna Chatterjee, director, joint women’s programme, a voluntary organisation, said all the women’s organisations will submit a joint memorandum on the proposed bill to the parliamentary panel before its second meeting.

The parliamentary standing committee will meet again on June 4.

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