Don’t women in rural parts need quota, asks HC | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Don’t women in rural parts need quota, asks HC

Don’t women in rural Maharashtra require more constitutional protection than urban women, asked the Bombay high court while reserving verdict on a petition challenging the state government’s policy to increase seats reserved for women in civic bodies from 33% to 50%.

mumbai Updated: Nov 30, 2011 01:08 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Don’t women in rural Maharashtra require more constitutional protection than urban women, asked the Bombay high court while reserving verdict on a petition challenging the state government’s policy to increase seats reserved for women in civic bodies from 33% to 50%.

The division bench of justice PB Majmudar and justice Mridula Bhatkar questioned Navroj Seeravai, counsel for petitioner Kapoorchand Gupta, after he argued that there was no basis for increasing quota for women.

The senior counsel submitted the provision was enforced without taking into consideration that fact situations in rural, semi-urban and urban areas of the state are different, and so need to be treated differently.

“Women in Mumbai are enlightened,” justice Majmudar said. “You could have considered increasing seats reserved for women for some municipalities,” the judge told assistant government pleader Uma Padsule-Desai, who was representing the state government.

The state government had amended section 5(a) of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act of 1888 and from April 2011, increased the seats reserved for women in civic bodies across Maharashtra, from 33% to 50%.

Gupta has challenged the amendment contending the decision was arbitrary.

Gupta claimed that the policy has left very few seats available for the general public in the open category. “No study or survey was undertaken before taking this decision,” said Seervai.

He pointed out that now only 77 of the total 227 seats in the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation will be available for the open category, which includes everybody, including women.

Padsule-Desai said that the decision was taken to maintain the “tempo” following overwhelming response that the 33% reservation policy for women received from citizens. “Women have demonstrated leadership qualities by participating in electoral politics, which has brought about a positive social change,” the government pleader added.

The court is likely to deliver verdict on Wednesday.