Women′s Reservation Bill presented to Indian upper house | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 08.03.2010
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Women's Reservation Bill presented to Indian upper house

India's government presented the Women's Reservation Bill to the upper house of parliament on Monday, 14 years after it was first proposed.

Parliament House in New Delhi

Parliament House in New Delhi

If the Women's Reservation Bill ever becomes law, it will reserve one-third of seats for women in the national parliament and in state assemblies.

But protests on Monday prevented the voting on the landmark bill from taking place in the upper house. Some MPs even seized a copy of the document from the Federal Law Minister Veerappa Moily and tore it apart.

Opponents fear monopoly by upper-caste women

Opponents, who mainly belong to regional parties such as the Samajwadi Party in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh and the Rashtriya Janata Dal in the state of Bihar, argue the bill would lead to a monopoly by upper-caste women.

They have demanded that a portion of women's quota be set aside for minorities such as Muslim women and those from economically and socially-deprived sections of society such as Dalits and Other Backward Classes (OBC).

The house will reconvene on Tuesday to discuss the bill, which will then go to the decision-making lower house. If it is passed into law, India will be the first country to set aside so many seats for women legislators.

Editor: Anne Thomas

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