The new Parliament building had innumerable women visitors on the day when Lok Sabha passed the Nari Shakti Bill with overwhelming majority during special session in New Delhi on Wednesday. (PTI)
NEW DELHI :
Lok Sabha passes Women’s Reservation Bill with 454-2 votes
THE Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed a bill granting reservation to women on one-third seats in Lok Sabha and State Assemblies with near unanimity amid demands from the Opposition to extend similar benefits to Other Backward Classes and immediate implementation of the measure before the elections next year.
After a spirited eight-hour debate in which 60 members participated, the Lok Sabha passed the Constitution (128th Amendment) Bill, with 454 members voting in favour and two against it.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present during the voting on the bill.
The bill was passed as per the provisions of Article 368 (2) of the Constitution relating to the passage of constitutional amendment bills which requires support of the majority of the total membership of the House and a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting.
A few amendments moved by the Government relating to the numbering of the Constitution amendment bill were also cleared by the House.
When the proposed legislation goes to Rajya Sabha for its consideration, it will be called the Constitution (106th Amendment) Bill, officials said.
The Bill proposes 33 per cent reservation for women in Lok Sabha and Assemblies of State and NCT of Delhi. Similar reservation will also be provided within the seats reserved for SC and ST. The Bill proposes that the reservation will continue for 15 years.
Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal kicked off the discussion on the Bill that seeks to bring in 33 per cent reservation for women in the Lower House and all Assemblies. Similar reservation will also be provided within the seats reserved for SC and ST. He stated that the Bill was an important step in women’s empowerment and “shows the way to the world”. The Bill proposes that the reservation will continue for 15 years. Seats reserved for women will be rotated after each delimitation.
The Law Minister told Lok Sabha that the provision for implementing 33 per cent reservation for women in the Lower House and State Assemblies after Census and delimitation was in line with the Constitution.
He was responding to a day-long debate on the constitutional amendment bill for women’s reservation during which many Opposition members questioned the need for Census and delimitation before implementing the quota for women as it will delay the process. Meghwal said if the Government agrees to provide reservation immediately, it will be against the provisions of the Constitution.
He said with the Opposition’s support, such a bill may get passed but then it will get stuck in courts. “You will then move PILs against it in Supreme Court,” he said.
“We will not allow the bill to get stuck in technical issues,” he said. He alleged that some people tried to give the bill a political colour. Hitting out at the Congress, he said the Modi Government has the policy, intent and leadership to push for the bill, which the opposition party lacked when it was in power.
Twenty-seven women members cutting across party lines participated in the debate on the bill, with BJP legislators coming out in support of it and the opposition members demanding its immediate implementation.