Lawmakers in India Take Drastic Measures to Keep Women Out of Parliament

Speaker G.M.C. Balayogi was unable to introduce a bill requiring a third of the seats in the Indian Parliament to be filled by women after opposing lawmakers grabbed the proposed bill off his desk. At that point the speaker adjourned the parliament proceedings for the sixth and final time. Every time an attempt was made to introduce the bill the law makers who opposed it would run shouting to the front of the parliament and grab the bill, one time right out of the law ministers hands.

This protest was staged by the Rashtriya Janta Dal party and other small parties representing minorities and lower castes who demanded that the bill not be heard until it contained quotas for minorities as well as for women. The delay of the bill enraged women’s organizations who say that after the bill is brought to the floor for debate additional provisions for minorities can be considered. Women’s groups also felt that the disruptive members should have been ejected from parliament.


AP - June 1, 1998

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