Bill for Women's Reservation (2000)
Alternative Bill proposed by LOK SATTA and other members
of the Forum for Democratic Reforms has altered the terms
of national debate on woman's empowerment. The attention
has now shifted from mechanical reservation of seats to
statuary party quotas for women, which is a far more practical,
democratic and elegant solution.
Bill introduced in parliament is extremely defective, and
will be counterproductive. Reservation of seats with rotation
by draw of lots will lead to rotation of nearly 90 % seats
in every election and reduce our democracy to a farce. It
will also lead to proxy candidates and natural leadership
will not develop.
SATTA studied the issue in depth and in collaboration with
Center for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Lokayan
and Manushi, a credible and practical model was developed.
Past evidence shows that the success rate of women candidates
in elections was higher than that of men. The voters clearly
do not discriminate against women candidates. Therefore
what is needed is not reservation, but forcing parties to
nominate sufficient number of women candidates. Such a Bill
was drafted providing for the necessary checks to ensure
adequate women's representation and equitable distribution.
This alternative Bill was circulated among parliamentarians,
political parties and media and received wide acceptance.
The Election Commission formally endorsed the Bill.
advocacy altered the terms of national debate on the subject,
and any future law on the subject will almost certainly
be based on the model developed by LOK SATTA and the Forum
for Democratic Reforms to enhance women's representation