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19th September 2023 (9 Topics)

Women’s Reservation Bill gets approval

Context

The Union Cabinet in its first sitting of the special session of Parliament passed Women’s Reservation Bill.

Background

  • The Bill was introduced by United Front government for the first time introduced the 81st Constitution Amendment Bill in Lok Sabha for reservation of women in the Parliament in
  • Later on the Bill was again introduced as the Constitution (One Hundred and Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2008.
  • But it was never passed by both the houses of the Parliament till now.
  • The Bill was awaited for 27 years.

Highlights of the Bill:

  • It aims to reserve 33 per cent seats for women in Parliament and legislative Assemblies.
  • The Bill will be rolled out only after the delimitation process is over, most probably in 2029.
  • Key points:
    • As per the Bill, it seeks to reserve one-third of all seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies.
    • The allocation of reserved seats shall be determined by such authority as prescribed by Parliament.
    • One third of the total number of seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes shall be reserved for women of those groups in the Lok Sabha and the legislative assemblies.
    • Reserved seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in the state or union territory.
    • Reservation of seats for women shall cease to exist 15 years after the commencement of this Amendment Act.

Arguments against the Bill:

  • Reservation of seats in Parliament restricts choice of voters to women candidates. Therefore, some experts have suggested alternate methods such as reservation in political parties and dual member constituencies.
  • Rotation of reserved constituencies in every election may reduce the incentive for an MP to work for his constituency as he may be ineligible to seek re-election from that constituency.
  • The report examining the 1996 women’s reservation Bill recommended that reservation be provided for women of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) once the Constitution was amended to allow for reservation for OBCs.
  • It also recommended that reservation be extended to the Rajya Sabha and the Legislative Councils. Neither of these recommendations has been incorporated in the Bill.

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