My article was published in Free Press Journals' Sunday "Weekend" Suppliment's Front Page on 14th March 2010. I thank Ketan Tanna from the Free Press Journal to extend an invitation to write on Womens Reservation Bill.
Arguing In favor for the bill was Ms. Kalpana Sharma an Independent Columnist. While, I had the privilege of representing the SIF Side of the Story. (Click on the picture for larger image)
The contents in the Article
By Jinesh Zaveri:
Give me a single instance where a woman was refused constitutionally to contest the Indian election just because of her gender. But the Women’s Reservation Bill (WRB) will stop an Indian Male to contest Elections in 33% of the seats just because he is a man. Discrimination at the onset, man now a Class 2 Citizen.
Unlike Indira Gandhi, Sonia, Pratibhatai, Shusma, etc, Women will no longer Command Respect, WRB makes women Demand Respect thus losing grace by obstructing capable males in contesting Free and Fair elections. Reservation Fractures the Preamble of equality in Constitution and spirit of freedom. With netas advocating for hike in 33% and Dalit women reservation category, the equation gets more sluggish.
If a special category denies rights to some section, equality ceases. India
already has a special caste reservation that narrows the Open Category in contesting; WRB would only make it shallower. As a result Elections in India
would no longer be ‘a bit’ free and fair.
WRB may be Ideal in books but some ignored anticipated scenarios are foreseen as complicated in execution. It brings about Unconstitutional Dictatorship in democracy. Bahus Sonias and Manekas of the nation will enjoy uninterrupted contesting in their constituency - term after term. But sons, Rahuls and Varuns of the nation may face the denial in their peak to contest due to rotating reservation in a constituency. An all women battle on rotating reservation will prevent a male from contesting 3 elections consecutively in a row from the same seat unlike their Lady Counterparts.
Winning lady in reservation round will make it difficult for the stepped out male of her party in next elections and with weak anti-incumbency factor, the goodwill and hardwork of male in opposition would be wiped out to be re-elected in next round. Women would be free to contest from anywhere, against men too. But men would be denied to contest if it’s an all women reserved constituency.
What are we trying to achieve with WRB? Word ‘women’ has become synonymous with wife while mothers-sisters of husband are forgotten. In this so called male dominated society, Husbands are denied the basic right of recording an FIR against wife (hence no statistics). Every year close to 1lakh males and approx 33000 Mothers-Sisters of Husband get arrested by the daughters in law sans investigation in a 498a complaint with 2% conviction rate (Source:NCRB/CSR). Stats used by women organizations of harassment over wives are proven to include 98% of acquittal cases. As a result every year with mothers and sisters legally harassed by daughters-in-law, there stands a great risk of abuse of power and denial of justice to the real women and common citizen.
WRB empowers women in House but not in homes. The dependency of wife on husband’s money and protection of husband’s mother-sisters from false arrest by Daughters-in-Law remain real unresolved empowerment issues. Yet, the biggest losers would be “we the people” who may be denied a good progressive leader just because he is a Male.
(Jinesh Zaveri is a Blogger Activist, Associated with the Indian Family Foundation, Mumbai.)