The Narendra Modi Government reportedly approved the long-pending Women's Reservation Bill, which had been stuck for 27 years, just hours after the old Parliament building's curtains closed to mark its relocation to new premises. This bill aims to reserve 33% of seats for women in Parliament and legislative assemblies. In an unexpected development, sources indicate that the Union Cabinet convened an impromptu meeting on Monday evening and reportedly gave its approval to this groundbreaking legislation. However, it is worth noting that the implementation of this legislation is unlikely to occur during the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Instead, it is expected to be enacted after the completion of the delimitation process, which is likely to take place around 2029, as per sources.
As the new parliamentary session continues in its fresh surroundings after relocating to the new building on Tuesday 19 September, 2023, the principal opposition party, Congress, has expressed its support for the move. It is anticipated that the Bill will be introduced during this ongoing special session.
Back on March 9, 2010, the Rajya Sabha took a significant step by passing a bill to amend the Constitution, aiming to introduce reservations for women. Initially, the bill proposed reserving seats for women across all legislative bodies. Nevertheless, following recommendations from the Standing Committee, the government opted to narrow down the scope of reservation to the Lok Sabha at the central level and legislative assemblies in states and union territories. This suggestion was duly accepted and integrated into the Bill. After receiving approval from the Rajya Sabha, the Bill introduced a new clause, 330A, which stated, "Seats shall be reserved for women in the House of the People." Unfortunately, since the Lok Sabha did not pass the Bill, it ultimately lapsed, requiring a fresh legislative effort.
This past Sunday, different political parties called upon the Government to initiate the legislative proceedings within the new Parliament building by prioritizing the passage of the Women's Reservation bill. Sources reveal that certain regional parties have also pressed for the inclusion of quotas for backward classes and scheduled castes as part of the broader reservation for women. It's worth noting that this particular issue has been a significant hurdle in the previous attempts to pass the Bill.