Lok Sabha passes historic Women’s Reservation Bill
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Lok Sabha passes historic Women’s Reservation Bill

September 21, 2023

454 members vote in favour; only two MPs oppose ‘Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam’

New Delhi: Twenty-seven years after the Women’s Reservation Bill was first introduced in Parliament, the Lok Sabha on Sept. 20, 2023 passed a Bill with near unanimity to amend the Constitution and provide one-third reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies. The Bill will now be taken by the Rajya Sabha for passage on Sept. 21 (today) and might require approval from half of the States.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to X (formerly, Twitter) to thank the Lok Sabha members — “Delighted at the passage of The Constitution (128th Amendment) Bill, 2023 in the Lok Sabha with such phenomenal support. I thank MPs across Party lines who voted in support of this Bill. The ‘Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam’ is a historic legislation.”

With 454 members of LS supporting The Constitution (128th Amendment) Bill, 2023, the constitutional requirement of “two-third majority of the members present and voting” was easily met. Only two members, All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen’s Asaduddin Owaisi and Syed Imtiyaz Jaleel, had opposed the Bill. The voting process, during which PM Modi was present, took nearly two hours as members voted manually, using paper slips. It 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 LS.

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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.

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