Bills to Expand Women’s Quota in J&K and Puducherry Assembly Approved by Parliament

Women's Quota in J&K and Puducherry Assembly

Amid objections from opposition MPs over the December 13 Parliament security breach, the Rajya Sabha passed the Government of Union Territories (Amendment) Bill 2023 and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Second Amendment) Bill, 2023 on Monday.

Junior Home Minister Nityanand Rai presented the draft laws for review and urged prompt adoption, citing the bills’ importance for the “respect and dignity of women.”

The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 is intended to be amended by the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Second Amendment) Bill, 2023. It proposes measures to reserve seats for women in the Union Territory’s legislature.

Women from scheduled castes or tribes will be allotted one-third of the seats under Section 14. In addition, women will be allocated one-third of all seats in the assembly, including those designated for them based on these categories. Following the next census, these reservations will become operative when the constituency boundaries are changed.

Similar to this, women will be granted one-third of the elected seats in the Puducherry assembly according to the Government of Union Territories (Amendment) Bill, 2023. The Lok Sabha passed both of the proposals last week.

After a lengthy discussion, MPs Sasmit Patra of the Biju Janata Dal, Kavita Patidar of the Bharatiya Janata Party, and Vijaysai Reddy of the YSR Congress stated their support for the legislation. Reddy supported giving women from the other backward classes access to reservations.

Notably, Rajya Sabha chairman Jagdeep Dhankar did not take into consideration proposed modifications made by MPs, including V Shivdasan and John Brittas of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), because they were not seated.

Rai moved the legislation forward for a voice vote, and they were passed. Nonetheless, the opposition benches persisted in demanding that the prime minister address the House.

Then Dhankar spoke to the House, saying, “We find ourselves unable to help mothers, sisters, grandmothers—half of humanity. They need our help.” History will hold us in low regard.

“I have immense respect for you, but this is an insult to the House,” he remarked, turning to Congressman Mallikarjun Kharge, the leader of the opposition. I’m really hurting. This is in opposition to democratic ideals and principles.

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