March 1, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

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LOK SABHA PASSES BILLS FOR WOMEN’S QUOTA IN J&K AND PUDUCHERRY ASSEMBLIES

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TAG: GS 2: POLITY

THE CONTEXT: The Lok Sabha approved two bills on December 12 to extend the constitutional provisions granting 33% reservation for women in Parliament and State legislatures to the Union Territories of Puducherry and Jammu and Kashmir.

EXPLANATION:

  • The bills aim to implement the Constitution (106th Amendment) Act in these regions to ensure gender representation in legislative bodies.

Debate Context and Dominance of Article 370 Verdict

  • Despite the focus on the women’s reservation bills, the parliamentary discussion was largely influenced by the recent Supreme Court verdict regarding the abrogation of Article 370.
  • The debate’s trajectory was steered towards this verdict, drawing attention away from the core topic of the bills.

Content of the Bills

  • Minister of State for Home presented the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Second Amendment) Bill and the Government of Union Territories (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha.
  • The Bills aimed to modify the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, and the Government of Union Territories Act, 1963, respectively, to facilitate women’s reservations in the legislative assemblies of Jammu and Kashmir and Puducherry.

Parliamentary Debates and Perspectives

  • The importance of women’s representation has been emphasized.
  • However, linking the debate timing to the recent Supreme Court verdict on Article 370, echoing the disappointment of parties from Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The absence of MLAs in Jammu and Kashmir for the past six years has been highlighted, questioning the governance structure in the Union Territory.
  • Historical obligations and promises during Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India has been referenced, expressing concerns over the unresolved issues post the Article 370 abrogation.

Implementation and Future Steps

  • The implementation of the women’s reservation law faces delays as it awaits the next census (anticipated in late 2024) and subsequent delimitation exercises in 2026 to determine the specific constituencies reserved for women.
  • The women’s quota in the Lok Sabha and Assemblies will be in effect for 15 years, with provisions for Parliament to extend the benefit period subsequently.

Conclusion

  • Despite the bills’ passage aimed at enhancing gender representation in legislatures, the parliamentary debate was diverted towards the broader context of governance and unresolved issues following the abrogation of Article 370.
  • The bills are a step forward for gender inclusion in the political landscape of Jammu and Kashmir and Puducherry, although broader governance concerns dominated the discussion.

SOURCE: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ls-clears-bills-for-womens-quota-in-jk-puducherry-assemblies/article67631129.ece

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