All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi Tuesday said that his party would oppose the Women’s Reservation Bill introduced by the Union government in the Parliament due to its lack of provisions for a sub-quota for Other Backward Classes (OBC) women and Muslim women.
“You are making this law for representation of people who do not have representation. All 17 Lok Sabha elections in India, have elected 8992 MPs, out of which Muslims are only 520. Within that 520, there are barely a handful of Muslim women,” Owaisi said to reporters.
He went on to say: “Who are you giving representation to? The major flaw in this Bill is the absence of a quota for Muslim and OBC women. That’s why we are against it.”
The Union government Tuesday introduced the 128th Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2023, to bring in 33% reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and all state Legislative Assemblies. This will include reserving one-third of the seats kept for SC/STs, and “as nearly as possible”, one-third of the total seats in the general category.
The law may come into force only by 2029.
According to the Bill, the seats will be reserved after the completion of the delimitation exercise based on the first Census conducted after the passage of the Bill.
The next Census is likely in 2027. The Census was meant to be held last in 2021, but was delayed because of COVID.
The Bill does not include reservation for OBCs (Other Backward Classes), as such a provision does not exist for the legislature. This was the demand over which parties like the Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and AIMIM opposed the women’s quota Bill for decades.