I’m God’s Chosen One, Says PM Modi On Women Quota Bill; Rollout Unlikely In 2024

New Delhi: Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal tabled ‘Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam’ in Lok Sabha of new Parliament building on Tuesday, reviving a bill, seeking to reserve 33 per cent of the seats for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies, stuck for 27 years for want of consensus among parties.

It was cleared by the Union Cabinet on Monday.

Addressing the MPs in the Central Hall, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that that God has chosen him to implement the women quota. “Discussion on Women’s Reservation Bill happened for a long time. During Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime, the Women’s Reservation Bill was introduced several times but there was not enough majority to pass the Bill, and because of this, this dream remained incomplete. Today, God has given me the opportunity to take this forward. Our government is bringing a new Bill today on Women’s participation in both Houses…,” he said.

However, it is unlikely to be implemented in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The legislation will come into effect after the next delimitation exercise, which might be conducted after the first census to be taken after 2026. The Census was meant to be held last in 2021, but was delayed because of COVID.

The 128th Amendment Bill 2023

>> 33% seats shall be reserved for women in Lok Sabha. “As nearly as may be, one-third (including the number of seats reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election to the House of the People shall be reserved for women.”

>> Within the quota, a third of the seats will be for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. “As nearly as may be, one-third of the total number of seats reserved under clause (2) of Article 330 shall be reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes’.”

>> In the state assemblies, one-third of the total number of seats will be reserved for women from SC/ST category. “Similar to the Lok Sabha and Delhi Assembly provisions, one-third of the total seats reserved under the applicable clause shall be reserved for women, including those from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.”

>> The bill extends its provisions to the Legislative Assembly of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. “One-third of the seats reserved for Scheduled Castes in the Delhi Assembly are also reserved for women…One-third of the total number of seats filled by direct election in the Delhi Assembly (including those reserved for women belonging to Scheduled Castes) are also reserved for women.”

>> The bill excludes reservations for women from the OBC category.

>> The quota can be implemented only after the first delimitation or redrawing of constituencies after the bill becomes law. “Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provision of this Part or Part VIII, the provisions of the Constitution relating to the reservation of seats for women in the House of the People, the Legislative Assembly of a State and the Legislative Assembly of the National Capital Territory of Delhi shall come into effect after an exercise of delimitation is undertaken for this purpose after the relevant figures for the first census taken after commencement of the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-eighth Amendment) Act, 2023 have been published and shall cease to have effect on the expiration of a period of fifteen years from such commencement.”

>> Rotation of seats reserved for women in Lok Sabha, state assemblies and Delhi assembly shall take effect after each subsequent delimitation exercise “as the Parliament by law may determine”.

>> No two women MPs will be allowed to contest one seat.

>> The quota won’t apply to Rajya Sabha or state Legislative Councils.

Notably, the bill was first introduced in 1996, and even cleared by the Rajya Sabha in March 2010, but lapsed after the Lok Sabha failed to pass it. The bill is similar to the one drafted in 2010 when the Manmohan Singh-led Congress government was in power. The quota for the Anglo-Indian community, however, had been dropped in the new version.


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