New Delhi, May 6 : A day after the Union Cabinet approved the tabling of the Women's Reservation Bill in Parliament, Law Minister H R Bhardwaj presented it even as Samajwadi Party (SP) members protested against the move.
The Bill, which seeks to earmark 33 per cent of seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies, has been cleared by the Union Cabinet at a time when the Congress-led coalition is entering the last year of its five-year term.
Left parties have been pressurising the United Progressive Alliance Government to go ahead with the introduction of the Bill, despite divisions within the ruling alliance.
The bill has been pending for 15 years, as a sizable political section is demanding a quota for women belonging to backward, minority and scheduled castes also.
The proposed legislation to reserve 33.3 percent seats in Parliament and state legislatures for women was drafted first by the HD Deve Gowda-led United Front government. The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on September 12, 1996. Though it has been introduced in Parliament several times since then, the Bill could not be passed because of lack of political consensus.