Both Houses convened in the new Parliament for the first time on Tuesday and members from the Centre and Opposition soon engaged in trading barbs over the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam or Women’s Reservation Bill, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Union law minister Arjun Ram Meghwal.
The Bill guarantees a third, or 33%, of seats for women representatives in the lower House of the Parliament and state assemblies. The reservation will be exercise for 15 years, starting from the commencement of the Act. The Parliament can extend it further.
It is reported that after becoming an Act, the proposed reservations will be implemented once the delimitation process and decadal census is completed.
Sonia Gandhi to lead the debate
Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi will be the lead speaker of the party for the debate on the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam or women’s reservation bill in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
What does the Constitution (128th Amendment) Bill, 2023, seek to introduce?
The Constitution (128th Amendment) Bill, 2023 seeks to introduce three new articles and one new clause.
The new 239AA clause states that one-third of seats reserved for scheduled caste (SC) shall be reserved for women, one-third of total number of seats will be filled by direct elections shall be reserved for women and seats shall be reserved for women in the Delhi legislative assembly.
Under the new Article – 330A, reservation for women in Lok Sabha – 1/3rd of seats reserved for SCs and STs shall be reserved for women, 1/3rd of total seats to be filled by direct elections to the Lok Sabha shall be reserved for women.
As per the new article 332A, the reserved seats for women in every state Legislative Assembly, 1/3rd of seats reserved for SCs and STs shall be reserved for women, 1/3rd of total seats to be filled by direct elections to the LA shall be reserved for women.
334A, a new article says that reservation shall come into effect after the delimitation is undertaken after the relevant figures for the first census have been published. The rotation of seats for women shall take effect after each subsequent exercise of delimitation.
Opposition-Centre traded barbs over the new Bill
Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for more inclusion of women in policy-making and said that September 19 is going to be ‘immortal’ owing to the introduction of the women’s reservation bill.
However, the Opposition including Congress said the Bill was a ‘jumla’ by the BJP government and added that it is a ‘huge betrayal’ of Indian women. To this, the BJP responded that Congress was never serious about providing reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
“Sadly, the opposition is unable to digest this. And, what is more shameful is that except tokenism, the Congress has never been serious about women’s reservation,” Union minister Amit Shah said.
Kharge’s ‘weaker women’ remark sparked protest
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge evoked strong protest after he said most political parties do not give tickets to women from weaker sections. He further launched attack at PM Modi alleging that the federal structure has ‘weakened’ under his government.
“All political parties have this habit that they give tickets to weaker women. I know how parties select women of scheduled caste, backward classes…Tickets are given to such women of weaker sections that they should not open their mouth… It is so in all parties of the country and that is why women are lagging behind. You do not allow them to speak and don’t allow their rights,” Kharge said during his speech.
Union finance minster Nirmala Sitharaman gave a sharp reaction to Kharge’s statement and said the Oppostion cannot insult people like that.
“Who is Droupadi Murmu? Opposition leader cannot insult people like this, cannot draw a differentiation between women… We are asking for reservation for all women,” the Union minister said.