By Anuradha Gandhi and Rachita Thakur
The Women Reservation Bill, the Constitution (One Hundred and Sixth Amendment) Act, 2023 (hereinafter referred to as the “Amendment”), has received the President’s assent on September 29, 2023 after successfully sailing through both the Houses of Parliament during the Special Session. The Bill, now the Act seeking to reserve 33% seats of Lok Sabha and state Assemblies was unanimously passed by Rajya Sabha on September 21, 2023.
The ‘Nari Shakti Vandam Adhiniyam’, The Women’s Reservation Bill (hereinafter referred to as the “Act”) becomes the first bill to be passed by both Houses in the new Parliament building has marked the history by securing 214 votes in favour and none against in the Rajya Sabha.
Women’s Reservation Bill- What does the Act Proposes?
The Act proposes amendment in one provision of the Constitution, that is, Article 239AA (special Provisions with respect to Delhi) and seeks to insert three new Articles 330A, 332A, and 334A.
While articles 330A and 332A seek to introduce 33 percent reservation in Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies respectively, the article 334A states that the said reservation shall cease to exist 15 years after the commencement of the provisions of the Amendment Act.
An attempt to introduce a bill to reserve seats for women was made in the year 2008 when the Amendment Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha, however, the same lapsed after the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha (2009-14). One of the key difference between the earlier presented bill and the Act is that Act is proposed to be enforced after the exercise delimitation is undertaken for the purpose of census after the enactment of the Bill.1
Therefore, the provisions of the Act can only come into force by 2029 since the same has to be implemented after delimitation of constituencies that will only be conducted after the next census, that is, 2026.