Women’s seat reservation lottery in India

India, the ‘world’s largest democracy’ proposes lottery-cum-rotation to encourage women’s representation: Rajya Sabha (upper house of India) passes Women’s Reservation Bill  Mar 9, 2010

 NEW DELHI: The controversial yet historic Women’s Reservation Bill, ensuring 33% reservation to women in Parliament and state legislative bodies, was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday after two days of high drama that saw suspension of seven members who violently disrupted proceedings.

 The bill seeks to reserve for women 181 of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha and 1,370 out of a total of 4,109 seats in the 28 State Assemblies. 

(It seems that the 1/3 of constituencies to be reserved for women will be decided by a (one-off?) lottery; after that the ‘reserved’ constituencies will be rotated.)

This sparked off a comment from Sharad Joshi, was the lone member of Rajya Sabha who voted against the woman’s reservation bill

“Let us have a close look at this lottery-cum-rotation contraption.

1. At the very first, if we draw the reserved constituencies we might face a situation where there is no particularly enthusiastic woman candidate in that particular area.

2. On the other hand, there might have been a male aspirant nursing that constituency for some time. This can cause unnecessary bitterness about the women’s movement and provide an opportunity for the established leaders to push the candidates of their family members who might not have shown any interest, till then, in political activities.

3. In the lottery computations system, a large proportion of voters may not get a chance to vote for any woman candidate at all in the whole lifetime.

4. Women who get elected to the legislative bodies may have very little interest left in nursing their constituency as they know that they will not have a second chance to contest from the same constituency.

5. Even the male candidates who get elected from the non-reserved constituencies would work under the full knowledge that the chances that they would get to contest from the same constituencies again are only 50-50.

Conclusion: The level of nursing of all the constituencies will go down.

6. Further, simple arithmetic will show that a legislature with women’s reservation bill will not have more than 33 percent experienced repeaters coming for a second term.

(from: http://sify.com/news/sharad-joshi-lone-dissenter-against-women-s-bill-news-national-kdjvucaejfj.html)

3 Responses

  1. The link managed to freeze up IE twice, but I managed to print the article using Firefox. (I just love well-designed websites.)

    This proposal brings to mind Andrew Rehfeld’s argument in THE CONCEPT OF CONSTITUENCY. Rehfeld argues that citizens should be randomly assigned for life to legislative constituencies. In this way, each constutiency will be a “mirror image” of the entire country, and thus there will be no sectional interests in the legislature opposing the national interest. But, Rehfeld concedes, one side effect of this proposal might be the creation of extreme homogeneity within the legislature. If racial minorities are unlikely to be elected except in racially homogeneous districts, then heterogeneity within districts comes at the costs of heterogeneity within the legislature. One possible solution Rehfeld floats (without endorsing it completely) would be the creation of districts in which the legislators elected must be women and/or members of particular racial groups.


  2. Women in Congress………………..

    Where are all the women in congress?
    Where are all the women in congress?
    Where are all the women in congress?
    Where are all the women in congress?





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