Election Commission of India rejects Odisha govt’s proposal to give 5% reservation to third gender

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By Minati Singha

BHUBANESWAR: The Election Commission of India (ECI) rejected Odisha government’s suggestion to give 5% reservation to third gender in Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Assembly and municipal elections.

“Seats in Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies are reserved for scheduled caste and scheduled tribes only as per the provision of article 330 and 332 of the constitution of India. Under the existing law, there is no provision in the Constitution or in the Delimitation Act, 2002 to reserve seats for any category including third gender as requested by you,” said an official communique from the ECI to the Third Gender Surakshya Trust.

The T G Surakshya Trust had earlier submitted its demand before the Odisha government seeking 5% electoral reservation to third genders in different polls.

The ECI further added, as per the Delimitation Act, 2002 the seats in legislative assemblies of all states and union territories including Odisha and the seats in the House of People were accordingly reserved for scheduled caste and scheduled tribes by the then delimitation commission on the basis of census figures 2001 as ascertained by the RGI. Besides, there is no provision for reservation of seats in Rajya Sabha for any category. The subject matter of reservation in local bodies is under the jurisdiction of state election commission of the respective states, the ECI letter read.
The third gender community, however, is upset over the ECI’s letter and planning to move to court demanding reservation.
“It was the ECI that gave others or third gender status to the community in 2009. Now when the Supreme Court has already given us the minority status like the scheduled caste and scheduled tribes then why cannot we be given reservations in polls. We are planning to go to the court demanding our rights,” said Pratap Sahu, secretary of the T G Surakshya Trust.
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