Indian Parliament to Use Gender-Neutral Terms After Female MP Complaint
14:44 GMT 21.09.2022 (Updated: 15:01 GMT 21.09.2022)
© AP Photo / Manish SwarupIndian Parliament House is seen early morning in New Delhi, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019
© AP Photo / Manish Swarup
Many rules of conduct in the Indian Parliament are governed by laws that were enacted by the British during colonial times and have been followed even after India gained independence in 1947.
Questions raised in the lower and upper houses of the Indian Parliament, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, respectively, will now be answered in gender-neutral terms after the legislative body approved the relevant amendments following a complaint from Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi.
Last month, Chaturvedi wrote a letter to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi requesting that the word "sir" not be used while raising questions in the parliament.
"Answers provided for the questions raised in the parliament, the phrase 'No, Sir' is often used in cases where the answer is in negative. As a woman parliamentarian, it is concerning to observe the institutional gender mainstreaming by the temple of democracy - parliament itself," she said in her letter.
On Wednesday, Joshi shared the response she received.
"All proceedings of the House (including replies to parliamentary questions) are addressed to the chairperson... However, ministries will be informed to furnish gender-neutral replies... from the next session of Rajya Sabha onwards," the reply said.
Chaturvedi called the development a "small step" that would make a "big difference".
Meanwhile, the move received mixed reactions on social media, with some users posting clap emojis appreciating the Indian parliament's decision while others slammed the lawmaker for what they described as "wasting" her time on such issues.
"Let's celebrate adding a Zero guys, at least it's greater than negatives we are used to," one user posted on Twitter.
"You should certainly be given Rahul Gandhi Pappu award for lifetime achievements and Penguin Award for haram khorness (dishonesty)," another claimed.