Fair sex got an unfair deal in the 15th Lok Sabha on the issue of reservation in legislatures despite the three top posts being occupied by women.
The ambitious Women's Reservation Bill, which provides for 33% reservation for women in the lower house of Parliament and state assemblies for 15 years, failed to get the nod this time too though Sonia
Gandhi was the UPA Chairperson, Meira Kumar was the Speaker and Sushma Swaraj was the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha. The bill, which has been pending in the Lok Sabha since 2010, was listed in the last session of the Lok Sabha which concluded today.
Once the Lok Sabha is dissolved in the coming days, the Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill, popularly known as the Women's Reservation Bill, will lapse.
As per law, any bill pending in Lok Sabha lapses with the dissolution of the House. Bills pending in Rajya Sabha are put in the 'live register' and remain pending.The 18-year journey of the Women's Reservation Bill was marked by high drama and hit roadblocks in each of its outings in Parliament before the historic measure cleared the first legislative hurdle in March 2010 when the Rajya Sabha passed it amid high drama as marshals were used.
The battle for greater representation to women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies was routinely punctuated by frayed tempers and war of words which sometimes got physical, as different governments since 1996 tried to get the Women's Reservation Bill passed in Parliament without success. The Bill also lapsed each time the House was dissolved and was re-introduced by the government of the day.
The path-breaking Bill greenlighted by the Rajya Sabha to create legislative history was first introduced in the Lok Sabha by the Deve Gowda government on September 12, 1996.
Snatching of papers from presiding officers and ministers and scuffles became a familiar scene each time the Bill made its way to Parliament before it was aborted. Once, Union minister Renuka Chowdhury pushed a Samajwadi member away when he tried to snatch a copy of the Bill from her Ministerial colleague HR Bhardwaj in the UPA government's first term when it was being introduced.