NEW DELHI :
The draft law will be named “Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam”
The reservation will come into effect only after a delimitation exercise is undertaken and will continue for 15 years
MEETING a long-pending demand, the Government on Tuesday introduced a bill to provide 33 per cent reservation to women in Lok Sabha and State Assemblies.
However, its implementation may still take some time and is unlikely to be in force for the next Lok Sabha elections in 2024 as the reservation will come into effect only after a delimitation exercise is completed.
The bill has proposed that the reservation
will continue for a period of 15 years and there will be quota for SC/STs within the reserved seats for women.
Making it the first bill to be introduced in the new Parliament building, the draft law will be named “Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam”.
The Government said it will enable greater participation of women in policy-making at the State and national levels and help achieve the goal of making India a developed country by 2047.
The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023, was listed for introduction in the Lower House through a supplementary list of business.
The reservation of “as nearly as may be, one-third of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election” will come into effect after a delimitation exercise is undertaken and will continue for 15 years. Seats reserved for women will be rotated after each subsequent delimitation exercise, according to the bill.
Officials said, according to provisions of Article 368, the Constitution amendment bill will require ratification by at least 50 per cent of the States.
Their consent is needed as it affects their rights.
The then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had said in Lok Sabha in March 2010 that such bills will have to be ratified by half of the States.
By bringing the bill, which requires amendment to the Constitution, the Modi Government has revived the concept of women reservation in Lok Sabha and State Assemblies pending for 27 years for want of consensus among parties.
While several parties had supported the concept, the debate in Parliament may see Opposition questioning the pre-requisite of holding census and delimitation before the proposed law comes into force.
While the BJP described the bill as historic and a result of the visionary leadership of Modi, parties including the Congress dubbed it as an election “jumla”.
In Lok Sabha, Home Minister Amit Shah rejected claim of Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury that the 2008 brought by the Manmohan Singh Government was still live after being passed by Rajya Sabha in 2010.
PM urges MPs to pass the bill unanimously
PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said his Government is committed to ensuring that the ‘Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam’ aimed at expanding women’s participation in the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies becomes a law, as he urged MPs of both Houses of Parliament to pass the bill unanimously.
In the first speech in the first session in the new Parliament building, Modi said that the Women’s Reservation Bill was given approval in the Cabinet meeting on
Monday, and asserted that this will strengthen democracy.
“For many years, there have been several debates and controversies around women’s reservation. On women’s reservation, there have been many efforts earlier also in Parliament. In 1996, the first bill related to this was introduced.
During Atal Behari Vajpayee’s tenure, many times Women’s Reservation Bill was brought but numbers could not be mustered for it and the dream was left unfulfilled,” Modi said.
“Taking forward women-led development, the Government is presenting an important constitutional amendment bill. The aim of the bill is to expand the participation of women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. Through the ‘Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam’, our democracy will be strengthened,” Modi said.
“I congratulate our mothers, sisters and daughters for it. I assure them that we are committed to ensure that this bill becomes a law.
I request all members of both Houses, to pass this bill with unanimity,” he said. In Rajya Sabha, Modi urged members to unanimously approve the Women’s Reservation Bill - Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam - when it comes to the Upper House after being passed by Lok Sabha.
Speaking during the first sitting of Rajya Sabha in the new Parliament building, Modi said the bill will be taken up in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
“When the bill comes before you, I urge Rajya Sabha members to approve it unanimously,” Modi said.
It is ours: Sonia on
Women’s Quota Bill
THE Congress’ parliamentary party chief Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday said that the Women’s Reservation Bill “is ours”, amid speculation that the bill may be tabled in Parliament.
The Congress on Monday said it welcomed the reported move as the party has been raising the demand for long.
Asked about the bill when she was entering Parliament on Tuesday, Gandhi said, “It is ours, apna hai.”
In a post on ‘X’ a day back, Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said, “We welcome the reported decision of the Union Cabinet and await the details of the Bill.”
“This could have very well been discussed in the all-party meeting before the Special Session, and consensus could have been built instead of operating under a veil of secrecy,” he said.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said if the Government introduces the Women’s Reservation Bill on Tuesday, it will be a “victory for the Congress and its allies in the UPA Government”.