The Telegraph
Friday , July 11 , 2014
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Panel push for women quota

Kohima, July 10: The National Commission for Women today asked the Nagaland government to implement 33 per cent reservation for women in urban municipal and town councils.

Chairperson of the commission, Mamta Sharma, who is in the state, is meeting Naga women activists to know about the grievances of women here.

Sharma today met secretary (social welfare) Bei-u Angami, additional chief secretary (justice and law) C.J. Ponraj, Nagaland State Commission for Women chairperson Temsula Ao and representatives of several Naga organisations.

She stressed the importance of a strong state commission for women in Nagaland so that it could exercise effective oversight over the government in terms of women’s rights. She also stressed on the importance of political presentation of women in the legislative Assembly and their role in the betterment of women’s rights.

Sharma also felt that the state must implement the Nagaland Municipal Act, which provides for 33 per cent of urban elected seats to be reserved for women, and said times have changed and women must be given an equal opportunity to participate in the decision-making process of elected governments at various levels, which would bring in true emancipation of women in the state.

She suggested that the state government should hold elections with 33 per cent reservations regardless of the outcome of the Supreme Court judgment on August 5, and added that Nagaland needs to internalise the process of emancipation of women without judicial intervention.

The state government has already passed a resolution in the Assembly for not granting 33 per cent reservation to women in the House. The municipal and town councils elections could not be conducted for the last four years because of strong opposition from various quarters against reservation for women.

The state Assembly as well as Naga organisations argued that such reservation and quota would infringe the Naga customary laws and tradition. But Naga women debunked such claims. The matter is still pending in the Supreme Court.

Women organisations, led by Naga Women Association (NMA), have organised protests but all have fell on deaf ears of the state government.

Naga women felt that reservation would ensure their significant presence, enabling them to act as an important pressure group. The presence of a critical mass of women would heighten the sense of responsibility among them, ensuring that their interests would be adequately represented.