The women’s reservation bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. All the 214 members present in the Upper House voted in favour of it.
The Lok Sabha had passed the bill on Wednesday, when 452 MPs voted in its favour and two legislators opposed it. The bill will now go to President Droupadi Murmu and will become a law after she gives her assent.
The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023, reserves one-third of the seats in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies for women. The provision will also be applicable as a sub-quota within the seats already reserved for the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe categories. However, there is no such provision for the Other Backward Classes.
The reservation for women in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies will be effective only after a census is conducted, followed by a delimitation exercise or the redrawing of boundaries to the constituencies. A Census was slated to be conducted in 2021, but has been delayed three times since then.
The bill was introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday at the beginning of a special session of Parliament.
“A defining moment in our nation’s democratic journey,” the prime minister said after its passage on Thursday night. “Congratulations to 140 crore Indians. I thank all the Rajya Sabha MPs who voted for the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam. Such unanimous support is indeed gladdening.”
At an event organised by the Bharatiya Janata Party in Delhi on Friday, Modi asserted that his government worked to empower women and said the political parties that used to tear copies of the bill earlier had to support it now, reported PTI.
While Opposition parties have supported the bill, they have sought a reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes within the 33% quota. They have also demanded the immediate implementation of the bill.
On Friday, the Congress said that delimitation and census were “poor excuses” for postponing the implementation of the bill.
“The whole effort was to use women’s reservation for the electoral benefit of a tired and lethargic prime minister without actually implementing it,” Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh alleged.