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The Women's Reservation Bill that has been passed by both Houses of Parliament. It highlights the...

The Women's Reservation Bill that has been passed by both Houses of Parliament. It highlights the conditions attached to the implementation of the legislation, including the conduct of a census and delimitation of constituencies.

  • The Women's Reservation Bill has been passed by both Houses of Parliament.

  • The implementation of the legislation is conditional upon conducting a census and delimitation of constituencies.

  • Home Minister Amit Shah justified these conditions to avoid legal challenges.

  • Women are under-represented in Parliament and State legislative bodies.

  • Only 15% of Lok Sabha seats and 12% of Rajya Sabha seats are represented by women.

  • India ranks 141 out of 185 in the Global Gender Gap Report.

  • Article 81 (2) (a) of the Constitution states that the number of seats in the Lok Sabha should be based on the population of the State.

  • Article 170 also takes population as the basis for designing constituencies in State legislative Assemblies.

  • Delimitation in India has been kept on hold since 1976 but is expected to be carried out after the Census in 2026.

  • Scholar Nilakantan R.S. predicts that this delimitation will cause a divide in political power and resources between the north and south of India.

  • South Indian states have reduced their population through scientific means, while north Indian states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have failed to do so.

  • The proposed delimitation has raised concerns in South Indian states, as it could either prolong the process or give undue advantages to certain states in the north.

  • The fusion of women's reservation with delimitation is seen as an error by Parliament.

  • Articles 330 and 332 of the Constitution deal with reservation for SC/ST in Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly of States respectively

  • These articles mention the relationship between reservation and population of SC/ST groups, which is irrelevant for women's quota

  • Women's share in total population is almost 50%

  • There cannot be a drastic variation in women's population from one constituency to another

  • Census to understand women's population for reservation is unwarranted

  • Women's Reservation Bill is qualitatively different from delimitation exercise

  • Reservation for women in local bodies was not contingent on delimitation exercise

  • Parliament has lost sight of these aspects

  • Issue of how far a constitutional Amendment can be done by way of contingent legislation

  • Certainty is regarded as one of the hallmarks of modern constitutions

  • Supreme Court hinted in Hamdard Dawakhana vs Union of India (1959) that conditional legislations may depend on the executive or legislature of the future day.

  • Parliament has combined the demand for women's reservation with the uncertainty of a future delimitation process, which is seen as a populist move or a constitutional blunder.

  • The secrecy maintained on the subject until the special session began is undemocratic and prevents the scrutiny of the legislation's flaws.

  • The future of the women's quota in the legislature is uncertain, and one can only have a pessimistic view based on intelligence and an optimistic view based on will.

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