DCW Chief Swati Maliwal on Tuesday wrote a letter to the Rajya Sabha Chairperson M. Venkaiah Naidu seeking reconstitution of the Parliamentary panel constituted for deliberating Child Marriage Amendment Bill, 2021.
Through her letter, DCW Chief expressed her concern upon the fact that only one women parliamentarian was included in the 31 member Parliamentary Standing Committee and sought its reconstitution with more than half women MPs.
Ms Maliwal also demanded that this panel be set up for deliberating the bill which aims at raising the marriageable age of girls from 18 to 21 must be chaired by a female as the matter was integral to the future of crores of women.
Moreover, she also drew attention to the failure of agencies in implementing existing laws against child marriage and emphasized upon wider consultation and assessment in the matter.
While expressing her concern over negligible women representation in the constituted Parliamentary committee, DCW Chief stated, “I am shocked to learn that the Parliamentary Standing Committee consists of only one woman parliamentarian against 30 male parliamentarians! It is disheartening to note that not only the Committee has negligible representation of women, it is also chaired by a man! How can a matter which has a direct impact on the life of crores of women and girls be decided by a group of men?”
She further wrote, “In any case, women form half of the population and yet, have abysmal representation in the Parliament. Clearly, it takes a lot of effort for a woman to reach the Parliament.”
“The present constitution of the Parliamentary Standing Committee indicates that once a woman reaches the Parliament, even then her struggle is not over, and her voice more often than not, is excluded from the deliberations in the Parliament especially on issues that affect the larger woman population of the country!,” she added.
Maliwal in her letter also drew attention towards systematic failure of agencies in implementing the existing laws against Child Marriage and said that the issue of raising the legal marriageable age of women in India is contentious and requires comprehensive assessment and deliberation backed by extensive research, both on the implementation of the existing provisions of law as well as the implications of the proposed amendments.
Maliwal said “I have written a letter to Rajya Sabha Chair for reconstituting the Parliamentary Standing Committee set up for examining the Child Marriage Amendment Bill, 2021 with more than half women MPs and a female chairperson. Its sad that the present committee has only one woman amongst 30 men! This is a sensitive matter and shall impact the lives of crores of women. Therefore, it must be decided through a comprehensive and consultative process led by women.”