LS majority clears women quota Bill

The Asian Age.  | Shashi Bhushan

India, All India

Shah hints Bill would be a reality after 2029

Parliamentarians raise their hands in support of the Women's Reservation Bill during the special session of the Parliament, in New Delhi, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. (PTI Photo)

HYDERABAD: The Lok Sabha has passed a Constitutional Amendment Bill, titled ‘Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam’, to reserve one-third of seats in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies for women. The Bill received overwhelming support, with 454 members voting in favour and only two against.

During the debate on the Bill, Union home minister Amit Shah addressed concerns and emphasised that any shortcomings could be rectified later. He stated that the Census and delimitation exercise would be conducted promptly after elections by the next government, making women's reservation in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies a reality. Shah hinted that this would likely happen after 2029.

He highlighted that this Bill's passage would mark the beginning of a new era and noted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of women-led development presented at the recent G20 Summit. Shah affirmed the government's commitment to women's security, respect, and equal participation.

Union law minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, in response to concerns about the need for Census and Delimitation before implementing the quota, emphasised that this provision was in line with the Constitution. He explained that immediate implementation would go against constitutional provisions and risk legal challenges.

Meghwal criticised the Congress for lacking the policy, intent, and leadership to push for this Bill during its tenure.

Throughout the debate, 27 women Members from various parties spoke in favour of the Women's Reservation Bill, with strong support from both BJP and Opposition legislators. Congress leader Sonia Gandhi emphasised that any delay in implementing the reservation would be an injustice to Indian women.

Other members, including NCP's Supriya Sule, called for immediate implementation, while Union minister Smriti Irani questioned the Opposition's demand for immediate implementation, pointing out the need to follow the constitutional process.

Minister of state for commerce and industry Anupriya Patel expressed confidence that Prime Minister Modi would take steps to protect the interests of women from backward classes, highlighting their unique challenges and marginalisation.

The Constitutional Amendment Bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha, provides for 33 per cent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies, with implementation following the completion of the Delimitation exercise.