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Women’s Reservation Bill 2023

Women’s Reservation Bill

Women’s Reservation Bill 2023, also known as the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, has been approved by both Lok Sabha (LS) and Rajya Sabha (RS). This bill ensures that one-third of the seats in Lok Sabha, State legislative assemblies, and the Delhi assembly are reserved for women.

What is the Women’s Reservation Bill?

  • The Constitution (One Hundred and Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2008 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.
  • The bill proposes sub-reservation for SCs, STs and Anglo-Indians within the 33% quota. These 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.


    People have been talking about the women’s reservation bill since the time of Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1996. However, because the government at that time didn’t have enough support, the bill couldn’t be passed.

    Earlier Attempts at Reserving Seats for Women:

    • 1996: First Women Reservation Bill was introduced in the Parliament.
    • 1998 – 2003: Government tabled the Bill on 4 occasions but failed.
    • 2009: Government tables the bill amid protests.
    • 2010: The Union Cabinet passes the Bill and RS passes it.
    • 2014: The Bill was expected to be tabled in LS.


    • In the Lok Sabha, there are 82 women Members of Parliament, making up 15.2%, and in the Rajya Sabha, there are 31 women, constituting 13%.
    • Although these numbers have risen since the first Lok Sabha where it was only 5%, they are still lower compared to many other countries.
    • According to recent data from UN Women, Rwanda leads with 61% women representation, followed by Cuba with 53%, and Nicaragua with 52%. Even Bangladesh (21%) and Pakistan (20%) have higher female representation than India.

    Key Features of the Bill

    Reservation for Women in Lower House: The Bill suggests adding Article 330A to the constitution, inspired by Article 330, which reserves seats for SCs/STs in the Lok Sabha. It proposes rotating reserved seats for women among different constituencies in states or Union Territories. For seats reserved for SCs/STs, the Bill aims to allocate one-third of these seats to women on a rotational basis.

    Reservation for Women in State Legislative Assemblies: The Bill introduces Article 332A, ensuring the reservation of seats for women in every state Legislative Assembly. It mandates that one-third of the seats reserved for SCs and STs should be specifically allocated for women. Additionally, one-third of the total seats filled through direct elections to Legislative Assemblies will be reserved for women.

    Reservation for Women in NCT of Delhi (New Clause in 239AA): Article 239AA grants special status to Delhi as the national capital concerning administrative and legislative functions. The Bill amends Article 239AA(2)(b), specifying that laws framed by parliament shall apply to the National Capital Territory of Delhi.

    Commencement of Reservation (New Article – 334A): Reservation becomes effective after the census following the Bill’s commencement is published. Delimitation will then occur based on the census to reserve seats for women. The reservation will be in place for 15 years but can continue as determined by a law made by Parliament.

    Rotation of Seats: Seats reserved for women will be rotated after each delimitation, as decided by a law made by Parliament.

    Arguments Against the Bill

    • The Bill states that it will be enforced after a delimitation exercise, which occurs after the first Census following the Bill’s commencement. However, it doesn’t mention the election cycle from which women will start receiving their fair share.
    • Unfortunately, the current Bill doesn’t ensure reservations for women in the Rajya Sabha and State Legislative Councils. Interestingly, the Rajya Sabha currently has fewer women representatives compared to the Lok Sabha.
    • Representation is a crucial ideal that should be upheld in both the Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament. The Bill needs to address this to ensure balanced gender representation.

    Read Also: Gender Parity In Indian Army

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