The joint parliamentary committee report examining the 1996 women’s reservation bill had recommended that quota be provided for OBC women once the Constitution was amended to allow for reservation for OBCs. It also recommended that reservation be extended to the Rajya Sabha and the Legislative Councils. Neither of these recommendations were incorporated in the 2010 bill or the latest one. The Constitution does not provide for reservation for OBCs in Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
The parliamentary standing committee on law and justice, led by Jayanthi Natarajan, in its report on the Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill, 2008, presented in Parliament in December 2009, had said, “The question of reservation within reservation for OBC women and some minorities generated great discussion in the committee, with one section of opinion strongly of the view that such OBC reservation within reservation should be provided. The committee was of the view that this matter should be considered by the government and action on this taken at the appropriate time.”
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The report noted that the Geeta Mukherjee-led committee, which looked into the 1996 bill, had recommended that the government may consider extending the benefit of reservation to OBCs also “at the appropriate time so that women belonging to OBC will also get the benefit of reservation”. However, the committee also said, “Such reservation of seats has not been provided for in the bill for women belonging to OBCs because there is no reservation for them at present under the Constitution as it exists for SCs and STs.”
The report recorded the views of different political parties on the issue. RJD said, “In case of providing reservation to women, there must be a quota for OBC, minorities, including Muslims, Christians and others, and Dalits (SCs/STs) within it. There must be a quota within quota for these sections of women proportionate to their population in the country.”
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On the other hand, NCP said it didn’t find any such need, while BJP said that while it supported the women’s reservation bill, it “firmly rejected the demand of quota within quota”.
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