‘No personal interest’: Delhi HC refuses to entertain plea for urgent implementation of women’s reservation law

- December 15, 2023
| By : Patriot Bureau |

The petitioner's counsel argued that she represented the interests of "entire womanhood." Granting permission to withdraw the plea, Justice Prasad provided the liberty to file a PIL following the applicable rules

The Delhi High Court on Friday declined to entertain a plea by a lawyer urging the urgent and time-bound enforcement of the women’s reservation law, aiming for a 33 percent quota for women in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Justice Subramonium Prasad, noting the absence of “personal interest” on the petitioner’s part, advised her to file a public interest litigation (PIL) instead. The judge questioned, “What is your personal interest in it? Prayer is purely in public interest.”

The petitioner’s counsel argued that she represented the interests of “entire womanhood.” Granting permission to withdraw the plea, Justice Prasad provided the liberty to file a PIL following the applicable rules.

The government’s legal representative informed the court that the implementation of the law was already under consideration by the Supreme Court.

Officially named Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, the bill proposed reserving one-third of Lok Sabha and state assembly seats for women. After receiving presidential assent on September 29, the bill became law. However, its immediate implementation was deferred, pending a new census and subsequent delimitation to allocate seats for women.

In her petition, Yogamaya MG emphasized the critical role of effective law implementation in enhancing women’s representation in Indian politics. She expressed concern that delays in application could compromise democratic principles.

The petition stated, “Despite the unanimous passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill, 2023, there has been a significant delay in its implementation. The lack of tangible progress or a clear road-map for implementation raises concerns about the sincerity of the authorities in giving effect to this vital legislative measure.”

On September 21, the Women’s Reservation Bill received unanimous approval in the Rajya Sabha, aiming to reserve one-third of seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women. Congress leader Jaya Thakur has filed a petition in the Supreme Court, seeking immediate implementation of the 128th Constitution (Amendment) Bill, also known as the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, before the upcoming general election.

The 128th Constitution (Amendment) Bill awaits approval from the majority of state assemblies and is slated for implementation after a delimitation exercise based on a census scheduled for the next year. Notably, the 33 percent reservation for women does not extend to the Upper House of Parliament and state legislative councils.

(With PTI inputs)