3rd August 2006

The Hon. Prime Minister
Government of India
New Delhi 110 001

Dear Shri Manmohan Singhji

Women from different parts of the country have assembled here at Delhi and are sitting on a dharna at Parliament Street to demand the immediate passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill. They include Ministers, MLAs, Presidents of Zilla Parishads/District Panchayats, Sarpanches and Grampanchayat members, eminent intellectuals, economists, social scientists, historians, teachers, professionals such as lawyers, doctors, journalists, artistes, etc, all of whom have gathered to demand that the voice of women be strengthened in Parliament by increasing their representation through reserving one third seats for them.

We would like to point out that the Common Minimum Program adopted by the UPA government in May 2004 categorically states that “The UPA government will take the lead to introduce legislation for one-third reservations for women in vidhan sabhas and in the Lok Sabha.” Despite this clear assurance, the government has failed to introduce the Bill in every session of Parliament held in the last two years. We are shocked that the Bill finds no mention in the business listed in the current session.

We would like to remind you that it is more than 10 years since the Bill was first introduced in Parliament, and sent to a Joint Select Committee, which gave its recommendations, on the basis of which a final draft has been prepared. All major political parties have clearly stated that they support the Bill, and yet it is being delayed in the name of an illusory consensus. It is unfortunate that several proposals that either dilute the focus of the Bill or are diversionary and impractical are being discussed outside Parliament.

On behalf of all women in the country, we demand that the UPA government should:

  1. Immediately introduce the Women’s Reservation Bill in its present form
  2. Openly discuss any suggestions and amendments in Parliament
  3. Put the Bill to Vote and
  4. Enable Passage of the Bill



Yours sincerely,

Ms. Brinda Karat, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha

Ms. Sathi Devi, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha

Ms. C.S. SujathaMember of Parliament, Lok Sabha


Subhashini Ali

All India Democratic Women’s Association

Manorama Bawa,

All India Women’s Conference

Mary John,

Centre for Women’s Development Studies

Mohini Giri

Guild of Service

Azra Abedi

Muslim Women’s Forum

Vimal Thorat

National Federation of Dalit Women

Jyotsana Chatterji

Joint Women’s Programme

Annie Raja

National Federation of Indian Women

Mary Khemchand

Young Women’s Association of India

Kalindi Deshpande
Kiran Moghe
Anwara Meerza
Sumitra Chopra
Asha Lata
Mariam Dhawale

All India Democratic Women’s Association