December 07, 2001




        In consonance with its commitment to empower the women and as agreed to in principle by most of the political parties in the meeting of leaders of parties or groups in Parliament on December 22, 1999 chaired by the Prime Minister, the Government introduced on December 23, 1999 the Constitution (Eighty-fifth Amendment) Bill, 1999, seeking to provide that as nearly as one-third of the seats shall be reserved for women in theHouse of the People and Legislative Assemblies of States. The Bill was listed for consideration and passing in that House on December 21, 2000 and December 22, 2000 during Winter Session but could not come up for consideration and passing in the Budget and Monsoon Sessions of Parliament this year. The notice of consideration and passing of the Bill in the Lok Sabha has also been given for the current Winter Session, 2001.

        The issue of women’s reservation was also informally raised in the all parties meeting on electoral reforms convened by the Government on September 13, 2001 but no concrete discussion could take place. Thus, it may be seen that the Government has all along made sincere efforts to debate and discuss the Bill in the Houses of Parliament and to evolve consensus among all the political parties. Now, it is for Parliament to take decision on the pending Bill.

        This information was given by the Union Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs, Shri Arun Jaitley in a written reply to a question from Shri Sushil Kumar Shinde and Smt. Renuka Chowdhury in the Lok Sabha yesterday.