Chennai: Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on Monday
said all political parties and government should arrive at a
consensus and take a decision on the long-pending Women`s
"The opinions are at present divided. And I have to be
neutral. All parties should arrive at a consensus and take a
decision," she told reporters here on the sidelines of the
convocation at SRM University.
The Bill, to reserve 33 per cent of seats in Parliament
and assemblies for women, has been hanging fire for a long
time due to sharp differences among political parties.
To a question allowing Union Fertilisers Minister M K
Azagri to speak in Tamil in Parliament, she said there were 16
interpreters in Lok Shaba for different languages, including
Tamil. "As per the Constitution, the Parliament proceedings
should be conducted only in English and Hindi," she said,
adding Alagiri should meet her to sort out the issue.
"I told him (Azagiri) to come and meet me. If he meets me
we will find solution," she said.
Azhagiri, son of Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and a
first-time MP representing Madurai, has already said he would
meet the Speaker on his next trip to Delhi.
On MPs` absentism, she said there was improvement now. "I
had been telling the members to come and attend and not to
absent themselves especially when they have questions. I find
a little improvement now. In any case I think you would find
some more improvement in the 15th Lok Sabha," she said.
Kumar said Parliament proceedings were being run
comparatively smoother than earlier. "If time is lost,
honourable members will sit late for many hours."
Asked whether MPs would be `forced` to attend
Parliament, she said "There is a different between a student
and MPs, who are elected by 10-12 lakh people. They have
tremendous pressure. They are responsible people because
people have elected them. People will not elect
She said she would use her powers to persuade more MPs
to attend the parliament regularly.
Earlier, in her convocation address, Kumar said no
nation could progress if half of its women population is not
provided with adequate opportunities to participate in the
"You have to guard against social evils like gender
discrimination, dowry system, domestic violence and female
foeticide," she said.
Kumar asked the youngsters to be able to motivate
others by inculcating in them the need to overcome centuries
old prejudices which have no room or relevance in today`s
"You must have an inclusive approach to life. Today
the ground reality is that there is a social chasm on the
basis of the caste, creed class, gender, geography and
She advised the graduates to use the knowledge and
expertise they gained for the well being of the common man.
In all 4,519 students from 86 disciplines were awarded
undergraduate, post graduate and diploma certificates, at the
convocation. Nine students received their doctorates.
Prashantha Battacharya of B.Tech Computer science was
awarded the Corporation Bank’s Gold Medal for the best
University Chancellor T R Pachamuthu presided over the
convocation and Vice-chancellor P Sathyanarayanan presented
the annual report of the University.