Tuesday, July 14, 1998 Published at 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
World: South Asia
Indian parliament refuses women quotas
The bill triggered uproar in the Indian parliament
The parliament's speaker said that the introduction of the bill would be indefinitely postponed because consensus had so far not been possible.
Male opponents of the bill, who say it would benefit only middle-class city women, continually disrupted proceedings, forcing several adjournments.
They demand quotas within the women's allocation for low-caste Hindu and Muslim women.
The Indian Government has said it is willing to consider quotas for low-caste Hindu women.
PM attacks behaviour
The Indian prime minister described the opposition's reaction to the bill as "disgraceful".
Speaking after the session, the president of the independent Women's Political Watch, Veena Nayyar, said a minority of men were afraid of losing their parliamentary seats to women.
"They want to just stay glued to their chairs," she said. "They just don't want to share decision-making power with women."
'A potentially explosive issue'
But the BBC correspondent in Delhi says that expanding this principle to include other groups at the more deprived end of the social spectrum as well as Muslims would break new legislative ground and open the potentially explosive issue of caste yet again.
In the late-1980s there was widespread violence as controversial proposals to broaden low-caste quotas in education and government service were implemented by the government of the day.
The 'battle of the sexes' continues
In 1996 the bill was rejected by the parliament in an uproar, with some male politicians arguing that women should stay at home where they belonged.
The media had described the debate as the "battle of the sexes."