1 in 30: Maliwal raises 'negligible women representation' in Parliamentary panel

"How can a matter which has a direct impact on the life of crores of women be decided by men?" asked the DCW chief, as the Committee has negligible representation of women and is chaired by a man

Swati Maliwal
Swati Maliwal


Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal on Tuesday wrote to Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu seeking reconstitution of the Parliamentary panel constituted for deliberating Child Marriage Amendment Bill, 2021 over negligible representation of the women in the panel.

"I am shocked to learn that the Parliamentary Standing Committee consists of only one woman parliamentarian against 30 male parliamentarians!" she said in her letter.

The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill seeks to raise the legal age of marriage from 18 to 21 for women. After being introduced in the Lok Sabha it was sent to the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports.

Maliwal said it is disheartening to note that not only the Committee has negligible representation of women, it is also chaired by a man. "How can a matter which has a direct impact on the life of crores of women and girls be decided by a group of men?" she asked.

Maliwal, in her letter, also drew attention towards alleged systematic failure of agencies in implementing the existing laws against child marriage and said that the issue of raising the legal marriageable age of women in India is contentious and requires comprehensive assessment and deliberation backed by extensive research, both on the implementation of the existing provisions of law as well as the implications of the proposed amendments.

Further, she wrote that the existing laws for prevention of child marriages have not been properly implemented till date in the country, and despite legal mandate, child marriages have not been abolished.

The DCW chief also pointed out that several women and child organisations and civil society members have raised concerns regarding various provisions of the Bill.

As per the Rajya Sabha website, the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Education, Women, Children, Youth, and Sports, headed by BJP's Rajya Sabha member Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, has its full complement of 31 members and Trinamool Congress member of the Upper house, Sushmita Dev is the only woman among them. Of the 31 members, 10 are from the Rajya Sabha and 21 from the Lok Sabha.

"Currently there is no vacancy to nominate new women MPs in the committee. But the committee Chairman has power to invite any one and we wish he will invite everyone for wider consultation on the proposed law," said a member, who did not want to be identified.

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