New Delhi: Gender justice is an important commitment of the government, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said in Lok Sabha on Thursday while noting that bringing a bill on women’s reservation needs careful consideration based on consensus among all political parties.
He was responding to a question on whether the government has taken any step to hold consultation with major political parties and other stakeholders on the Women’s Reservation Bill to build consensus.
In a written reply, Rijiju said that in the past, three bills were introduced in Parliament on the subject and those lapsed due to “one reason or the other”.
“Gender justice is an important commitment of the government. The issue involved needs careful consideration on the basis of consensus among all political parties before a bill for amendment in the Constitution is brought before Parliament,” he said.
To a query in the same question on whether it is a practice for the government to hold consultations for all legislative drafts to build consensus before introducing them in Parliament, he said as per the pre-legislative consultation policy document, all the draft legislations are to be published or placed in the public domain in such manner as specified by the department or ministry concerned for pre-legislation consultation.
“However, an exception has been carved out in the document that if the department or ministry concerned is of the view that it is not feasible or desirable to hold pre-legislative consultation, it may record the reasons in the note for the Cabinet,” he noted.
During a pre-session all-party meet last month, several parties had demanded that the women’s reservation bill be taken up in the Winter Session of Parliament. The TMC, YSR Congress and the DMK were among the parties that had suggested that the bill be brought for discussion in the Winter Session.
The 15th Lok Sabha could not pass the bill and the Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill, which was pending in the Lower House since 2010, lapsed following its dissolution in 2014. The bill was passed by Rajya Sabha and sent to Lok Sabha.
The bill, brought by the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, had sought to provide for 33 per cent reservation for women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies for 15 years.
Any bill pending in Lok Sabha lapses with the dissolution of the House. Bills introduced and pending in Rajya Sabha are put in the ‘live register’ and can be taken up subsequently.
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