Women Reservation Bill Lok Sabha Passes Historic Bill, Yet Implementation Deferred until 2029
The Lok Sabha has achieved a historic milestone by approving the 128th Constitution Amendment Bill, commonly known as the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam. This transformative legislation aims to allocate one-third of the seats in the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies to women.
Simultaneously, Home Minister Amit Shah has disclosed that the essential census and delimitation processes, vital for the bill’s implementation, will take place after the 2024 elections. This momentous development unfolds as the Lok Sabha undertakes its first legislative act within the newly inaugurated Parliament building.
Voting and Overwhelming Majority
Given the nature of this constitutional amendment bill, it underwent a division vote. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla announced a resounding majority, with 454 members casting their votes in favor, while merely 2 opposed it. This triumphantly met the requirement for a special majority, which mandates the endorsement of two-thirds of present and voting members.
The bill introduces a groundbreaking provision for one-third reservation for women from three distinct member categories within the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies. These categories encompass General, Scheduled Caste, and Scheduled Tribes. However, the execution of this monumental reservation hinges upon the culmination of the census and delimitation exercise, effectively postponing its implementation until at least 2029.
Amit Shah’s Pledge
Amidst the deliberations on the bill, Home Minister Amit Shah sought to address concerns regarding the timeline for implementation. He extended assurance that the forthcoming government, following the general elections, will expeditiously conduct the requisite census and delimitation exercise, thereby paving the way for women’s reservation in both the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies. This intimation strongly suggests that women’s reservations may only materialize post-2029, factoring in the impending general elections next year.
The Fifth Endeavor
Amit Shah underscored the significance of this being the fifth attempt to enact a Women’s Reservation Bill. He recounted the prior futile endeavors, which included proposals by the HD Deve Gowda government in 1996, the administration under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and a 2008 Bill presented by the UPA. Regrettably, each of these endeavors foundered with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha at their respective times.
Support and Advocacy
Sonia Gandhi, Congress parliamentary party Chief, ardently expressed her party’s support for the Women’s Reservation Bill. She fervently called for the immediate execution of the quota system and ardently advocated for reservations for women from the SC, ST, and OBC categories, to be established subsequent to a caste-based census.
During her impassioned debate from the opposition, Sonia Gandhi underscored that any delay in the implementation of the reservation would constitute a “gross injustice” to Indian women. She emphatically emphasized that the vision of her late husband, Rajiv Gandhi, would remain only partially realized until the bill was successfully passed.
Rahul Gandhi, Congress leader, vehemently pushed for the prompt enactment of the legislation. He contended that the bill would remain “incomplete” without provisions for OBC quotas and zealously advocated for a caste-based census.
Eliminating Bias and Injustice
Participating in the debate, DMK leader Kanimozhi underscored that the Women’s Reservation Bill transcends mere reservations. She characterized it as an “act of removing bias and injustice.” She steadfastly asserted that women seek equitable respect and representation in the political sphere.
Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, TMC MP from West Bengal, raised concerns about the Modi government’s linkage of the implementation of the women’s reservation bill with the completion of the forthcoming population census and delimitation exercise. She deemed this a “sinister” maneuver, stirring controversy and apprehension.
The passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill within the Lok Sabha signifies a momentous stride towards achieving gender equality within Indian politics. However, the deferment of its implementation until at least 2029 due to the requisite census and delimitation processes has ignited a fervent debate about the timeline and fairness surrounding this monumental legislation.