Women’s Reservation Bill in new Parliament House on 1st day

Women’s Reservation Bill in new Parliament House on 1st day

The Modi Government created history on the first day of Parliament sitting in its new building on Tuesday, taking a decisive step towards women-led development by introducing the Constitution (128th Amendment) Bill, 2023 in the Lok Sabha to reserve one-third seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies.

Coming after several unsuccessful attempts for women’s reservation in legislature, the Bill is likely to get Parliamentary approval as the main Opposition Party, the Congress Party, has been demanding the Government to bring such a Bill.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, making his first speech in the Lok Sabha of the new building, said several previous governments tried to get the law passed but failed. Perhaps God had chosen him to perform an auspicious responsibility once again, this time for empowering women and to enable them to devote their energy in the service of the nation, he said.


Mr Modi appealed in both Houses of Parliament that the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam to enable women to play a greater role in policy formulations be passed unanimously.

He said the first Bill to give reservation to women in the legislature was introduced in 1996. Attempts were made during the Government of late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee but unfortunately sufficient support could not be ensured.

Mr Modi said his Cabinet approved the Bill at a meeting on Monday. Whether in sports or Space, start-ups or self-help groups, the world has seen the capacity of Indian women in various fields. The recent G20 under India’s Presidency had appreciated the concept of women-led development, he said.

The Prime Minister quoted late former President Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan as saying Parliament is not just a legislative body but a deliberative body also. In his first speech in the new Rajya Sabha chamber, Mr Modi said that it is always a pleasure to hear quality debates in the Rajya Sabha and urged members to vote unanimously in favour of the Women’s Reservation Bill.

Introducing the Bill in the Lok Sabha, Law and Justice Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal said the reservation provisions would be applicable initially for a period of 15 years and they can be extended by Parliament. After the law is enforced, the current strength of 82 woman-members in the 543-member Lok Sabha would go up to 181.

Responding to Congress members’ view that the law was “already” passed in the Rajya Sabha in 2010 under Dr Manmohan Singh’s Government, Mr Meghwal said the Bill after passage in the Rajya Sabha was reported to the Lok Sabha, but could not be passed, and therefore lapsed after the dissolution of the Lok Sabha in 2014.

Mr Meghwal said the Prime Minister had taken several steps for the empowerment of women. The women’s reservation in the legislature would contribute significantly to the achievement of the goal of developed India by 2047.

The passing of a Bill to amend the Constitution requires the support of a majority of the total membership of the House and a majority of not less than two-thirds of the Members present and voting, in each House of Parliament. When Mr Meghwal sought permission to introduce the Bill, there was no opposition.

Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said “we want the Bill passed.” He said Congress Prime Ministers P V Narasimha Rao and Dr Singh tried to get the law enacted. Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge was assured by the Government that he should not harbour fears that suitable women candidates would not be given tickets.

Explaining the objective of the Bill, its Statement of Objects and Reasons said “While women participate substantially in panchayati raj institutions and municipal bodies, their representation in the State legislatures as well as in Parliament is still limited. Providing for higher representation of women at State and national level has also been a long pending demand.”

It said: “There have been several efforts to introduce women’s reservation in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies. The last such attempt was made in 2010, when the Rajya Sabha had passed a Bill for women’s reservation, but the same could not be passed in the Lok Sabha.” The women’s reservation law will apply to the Legislative Assembly of the National Capital Territory of Delhi also.