Summary: The ruling party in
India has rejected a bill which would introduce full representation
(proportional representation), as well as reserve seats in
Parliament for certain minority groups.
Religious quotas dangerous
July 25, 2003
New Delhi: The Government today
rejected in the Lok Sabha introduction of list system based on
proportional representation of candidates to elected bodies saying
the process could usher in "instability" hurting the country's
democratic set up.
"Such a system would bring in a gap between
constituencies on one hand and government on the other and give
eminence to political parties," Law minister Arun Jaitley said
intervening in a debate on a Private Member's Constitution Amendment
Bill moved by Muslim League member G M Banatwala.
as "dangerous" any move to provide reservation of seats on religious
The system of proportional representation, Jaitley said,
would create further bifurcation of the polity as large number of
political parties could be propped up under such an electoral
"This will lead to a great amount of instability which
could hurt governance. I express inability of the government to
support the proposed measure," the Law Minister said.
On the issue
of reservation of seats based on religious denomination, Jaitley
said this kind of system could affect the composite character of
"Healthy discussions in elected bodies may cease to exist
if reservation on religious lines is accepted," the minister added.
Banatwala, after his reply supporting the list system as also
reservation for minorities, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and
other backward classes, withdrew the Bill. Certain remarks by the
Muslim League member drew strong protests from BJP benches