In a momentous development during the Special Session’s relocation to the new Parliament House, the government presented a significant proposal in the Lok Sabha. This proposal aims to allocate one-third of the seats in the Lower House and the Assemblies for women, marking a historic step towards women’s reservation.
- Gender Issues Related to Women
- Women’s Issues
- Government Policies & Interventions
Highlighting the status of women’s political participation in India, discuss the challenges associated with the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill. (15 marks, 250 words).
About the Bill:
- The cornerstone of this Bill centers on reserving 33 percent of seats in both the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies for female candidates. This reservation will encompass constituencies of all types, including general, Scheduled Caste, and Scheduled Tribe constituencies.
- To ensure a diverse representation of women hailing from various backgrounds, the Bill introduces a rotational system. This system will periodically change the allocated seats for women in sync with each electoral cycle, progressively promoting broader representation over time.
- Within the overarching 33 percent reservation, specific allocations will be designated for women belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. This provision aims to simultaneously address the complex issues of gender and caste-based discrimination.
Necessity of the Bill:
- The Prime Minister informed the House that although over 7,500 public representatives have served in both Houses, the count of female representatives is only around 600, a remarkably low figure.
- The presence of women in the Indian political system has been alarmingly inadequate, and the seat reservation aims to rectify this imbalance.
- This essential and long-awaited legislation aims to address the persistent problem of women’s underrepresentation in legislative bodies and promote their active involvement in shaping the nation with their visionary and powerful voices.
Status of the Bill:
- It’s essential to note that this legislation isn’t an ordinary piece of law; it’s a constitutional amendment. As a result, it requires a special majority in both Houses of Parliament, meaning it needs approval by two-thirds of the members present and voting. Additionally, it must receive ratification from at least 50 percent of State legislatures before it can become law. Political parties will also be obligated to provide equal opportunities to women when distributing electoral tickets, thereby reducing biases in the selection process.
- The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Eighth) Amendment Bill of 2023 will only come into effect following the 2026 delimitation exercise, which will utilize data from the Census to be conducted after the Bill’s passage this year. Consequently, the reservation in the Lok Sabha can only be put into action during the Lok Sabha election in 2029 and not in 2024.
With an increased presence of women in legislative bodies, the Women’s Reservation Bill is set to have a significant impact on the government’s policy-making process. This could lead to the development of more inclusive and gender-aware laws and policies by empowering women in key political leadership positions. Once this Bill is enacted, it has the capacity to usher in a more inclusive and representative democracy. After a wait of twenty-seven years and thirteen years since its passage by the Rajya Sabha, the Women Reservation Bill is finally on its way to becoming law.