New Delhi, Sep 20: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the Women's Reservation Bill which provides for a 33 percent quota in Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women.
The historic bill called Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam was passed with near consensus after division of votes. As many as 454 members in the People's House voted in its favour while two members opposed it.
The Constitution (128th Amendment) Bill, 2023 (Women’s reservation bill) is the first legislation passed by the Lok Sabha in the ongoing special session of the Parliament. It is also the first legislation cleared in the new Parliament building.
Quota for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies has been a long-pending demand. In the past, attempts were made to introduce reservation for women four times, but without success. The last such attempt was made during the UPA-II government in 2010 when Rajya Sabha passed the women’s reservation bill but it could not be taken up for voting in the Lok Sabha.
"In order to enable greater participation of women as public representative in policy making at state and national level, it is decided to introduce a fresh legislation for Constitutional amendment to provide for, as nearly as may be, one-third of total seats in the House of the People (Lok Sabha), the legislative assembly of every state and the Legislative Assembly of the National Capital Territory of Delhi to be reserved for women," according to the statement of objects and reasons of the Constitution (128th Amendment) Bill, 2023.
Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal had on Tuesday moved the bill for consideration and passage in Lok Sabha.
Replying to the discussion on the bill, the Minister on Wednesday said he will not allow the bill to get stuck in technicalities.
Amid apprehensions that implementation of the bill will take more than five years or even more, Home Minister Amit Shah clarified that it will be implemented soon after the Census across India and the delimitation process for the constituencies post the general elections scheduled early next year.
He stated that quota for women will mark the beginning of a new era.
Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson Sonia Gandhi initiated the discussion on the bill on the part of the opposition. She backed the Bill but pitched for providing quotas to women from SC, ST and OBC communities by holding a caste census.
Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also demanded a caste census and immediate implementation of the quota for women.
The women's reservation bill will be taken up by the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. (UNI)