New Delhi: The 128th Constitutional Amendment Bill, which could have a major impact on the country’s politics, received Parliament’s approval on Thursday, providing for 33 per cent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. After nearly 10 hours of discussion, the Rajya Sabha unanimously approved the ‘Constitution (128th Amendment) Bill, 2023’. All 214 members present voted in favor of the bill and not a single vote was cast against it. This bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday. However, two of the 456 MPs present in the Lok Sabha voted against it.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in Parliament when the bill was passed. With the passage of this bill, the special session of the Rajya Sabha was adjourned indefinitely a day before its scheduled schedule. The special session began on September 18 and was scheduled to end on September 22.
Read- After Women’s Reservation Bill passed in Rajya Sabha, women MPs thanked PM Modi, also clicked their photos.
How will it be implemented?
The 128th Constitution Amendment Bill, referred to as the ‘Nari Shakti Bandan Act’, will now require the approval of a majority of state legislatures. It will be implemented after delimitation for re-delineation of parliamentary and assembly constituencies on the basis of census. The government said the demarcation process would begin next year.
Overcoming partisan sentiments, members supported the bill in the upper house, while many members questioned the time frame for its implementation. Union Law and Justice Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal said no one should have any doubts about its implementation as ‘with Modi it is possible’. The bill was passed after several amendments were rejected, including providing reservation to women from Other Backward Classes (OBC) in the one-third quota.
Reservation for women in Lok Sabha and State Assemblies will apply to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe categories. Questioning the ‘sudden love’ of Congress and other parties for OBCs, Meghwal said their demands reflect their political obligations. He said that the Congress had not fulfilled Baba Saheb Bhimrao Ambedkar’s desire to set up a Commission on Backward Classes.
Only 15% of women MPs in Parliament
Women make up nearly half of the country’s 950 million registered voters, but women MPs make up only 15 percent of parliament and 10 percent of state assemblies. Responding to the debate in the Upper House, the Law Minister said that the work of census is not easy as it collects data on various social and economic parameters.
He assured the House that the government is committed to implementing the Women’s Reservation Bill and there is no need to create any alarm. The 33 per cent reservation for women in the Upper House of Parliament and State Legislative Councils will not apply. Supporting the bill, Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge sought information about the timeline for implementation of the proposed law and also demanded reservation for OBCs.
Also Read- Women’s Reservation Bill: 33% seats in Lok Sabha and Assembly, quota among SC/ST seats, women’s reservation will take years to implement
He asked the government to bring an amendment to this effect in the next session and assured the support of the Congress party. He also said that the government should have implemented the bill immediately as it did in a few hours in the case of demonetisation and passed the three farm laws. Kharge said the Congress party is supporting the bill, but the law should not be another ‘jumla’ promising two crore jobs every year and ‘depositing Rs 15 lakh in every citizen’s bank account’.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that the women’s protection bill will be known as the ‘Nari Shakti Bandan Act’ if it becomes law. Currently, the bill provides for women’s reservation for 15 years and Parliament will have the right to extend it. At the end of the discussion, Prime Minister Modi termed the bill as a re-invigoration of the country’s women power and said that through it women will come forward in leadership to contribute to nation building.
He “heartily congratulated and thanked” all members for supporting the bill. He said that this feeling created will create confidence among the people of the country. He said, all parties including all MPs have a huge role to play. Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked the MPs for supporting the bill. He said, ‘This feeling created will create new confidence among the people of the country and all parliamentarians and political parties have played an important role in this.’
Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar said, ‘A milestone in the country’s journey towards women empowerment! After extensive deliberations involving members of all political parties, the Rajya Sabha unanimously passed the Nari Shakti Bandan Bill.’
The Prime Minister later posed for a photo with women MPs, many of whom distributed sweets to celebrate the passing of the bill. Many women members appreciated PM Modi’s decisive leadership in passing the bill. In a post on social media
Prime Minister Modi said, ‘a defining moment in our country’s democratic journey! Congratulations to 140 crore Indians. He further said, ‘With the passage of the Nari Shakti Bandan Bill in Parliament, we are ushering in an era of strong representation and empowerment for the women of India. This is not just a bill, it is a tribute to the countless women who have built our nation. India has been enriched by his vitality and contribution.
Prime Minister Modi said, ‘While celebrating today, we are reminded of the strength, courage and indomitable spirit of all women in our country. This historic step is a commitment to ensure that their voices are heard more effectively.