SRINAGAR: The Narendra Modi led government introduced the 128th Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2023, on Tuesday, aiming to institute 33 percent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and all state Legislative Assemblies, The Indian Express reported. This initiative encompasses reserving one-third of seats allocated for SC/STs and, as closely as possible, one-third of the overall seats in the general category.
The allocation of these seats will occur subsequent to the delimitation exercise following the initial Census conducted post the Bill’s enactment. It mandates women’s reservation for a 15-year period from the Act’s commencement, with the ability for Parliament to extend it further if necessary.
Rotation of the reserved seats for women will only take place following each subsequent delimitation exercise, as stipulated by Parliament through legislation in accordance with the Bill.
Union Minister of Law and Justice, Arjun Ram Meghwal, as per a report of The Indian Express introduced the Bill, which is scheduled for discussion in the House on Wednesday. He indicated that if approved, it would augment the count of women MPs in the Lok Sabha, raising it to 181 from the current 82, given the Lok Sabha’s present strength of 543.
The Bill proposes an amendment to Article 330 A, introducing clause (1) to reserve seats for women. Additionally, it suggests that one-third of the seats designated for SCs and STs in the Lok Sabha be reserved for women from these categories. It further advocates reserving approximately one-third of the total seats filled by direct election to the Lok Sabha for women.
In line with the same principle, the Bill also seeks to amend Article 332 A, mandating women’s reservation in Legislative Assemblies. Furthermore, it introduces modifications in the Article, setting aside one-third of SC/ST seats for women in this category, and aiming for 33 percent of all seats filled through direct election to be held by women, as closely as possible.
Meanwhile Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti called the Union cabinet’s decision to approve the Women’s Reservation Bill for discussion in parliament a great step.
”Having navigated the rough terrain of a predominantly male political landscape myself, I am happy to see that finally, the Women Reservation Bill will become a reality. Despite constituting half of the population, we are grossly underrepresented. It’s a great step,” Mufti wrote on X.
While speaking to reporters in Budgam, NC Vice President Omar Abdullah said that women should be represented adequately and that the party has been a strong advocate of women representation in panchayats and other such places.