After hearing a batch of pleas for 16 days, the Supreme Court had reserved its verdict on December 5.
National Conference (NC) president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, Farooq Abdullah, said on Wednesday that the passage of the women’s reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha marked a landmark achievement but the only aspect missing was the inclusion of OBC women in the quota ambit.
“I think it (Women’s Reservation Bill) is a wonderful Bill. For a long time, 15 years to be precise, we have been waiting for our women to get their rights. The only thing that I would say is missing (from the draft legislation) is the non-inclusion of OBC women (in the reservation ambit). The OBC women should also derive the benefits out of this Bill. All our women should be held at par and treated fairly. The country is as much theirs as it is for us men,” the NC leader said.
Meanwhile, other Opposition leaders, too, extended their support to the draft legislation that proposes 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and state assemblies. However, they also questioned the intent of the ruling BJP-led NDA to implement the Bill, citing the clause stating the law can only come into effect after a census and delimitation exercise.
Congress president and the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, said earlier that the Centre was trying to use the quota Bill to mine women votes in the Lok Sabha polls next year.
Also demanding that the law be implemented at the earliest, Kharge also called for certain “loopholes” and “drawbacks” to be addressed.
Earlier in the day, Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal introduced the Bill in the first sitting of Lok Sabha in the new Parliament building. The Bill was named “Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam”.
Introducing the bill in the Lower House, the Union minister said, “This Bill relates to women’s empowerment. By amending Article 239AA of the Constitution, 33 per cent of seats will be reserved for women in the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi. Article 330A reservations of seats for SC/ST in the House of People.”
Meghwal said once the ‘Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam’ clears the legislative test in both Houses, the number of seats for women in the Lok Sabha will increase to 181.
The draft Bill was taken up by the members for discussion and passage in the Lower House earlier on Wednesday.
The Bill will be taken up in the Rajya Sabha on September 21, government sources said.