What all will the Women’s Reservation Bill change once it is a law?

Sushim Mukul
Sushim MukulSep 19, 2023 | 10:49

What all will the Women’s Reservation Bill change once it is a law?

The commencement of parliamentary proceedings in the New Parliament Building today may potentially involve the presentation of the Women's Reservation Bill. Photo: DailyO

After a busy Monday (September 18) in Lyuten's Delhi, marked by the last functioning day of the old Parliament building and the late cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several reports emerged regarding the introduction of a bill reserving 33% of the seats in Lok Sabha and legislative assemblies for women.

Shortly after the cabinet meeting, the Minister of State for Food Processing Industries, Prahlad Singh Patel took to X (formerly Twitter) to congratulate PM Modi and his government for clearing the bill for its introduction in the Lok Sabha in the coming days. But, after a while, he deleted the tweet.


While this development is a cause for celebration, there's more to the story as the bill hasn't been tabled formally yet in this session.

As per India Today TV, the Union Cabinet approved the proposed bill that has been awaiting the approval of the Lower House since it was first introduced 27 years back, in 1996, under the Union Front Government before it fell. The bill was again introduced in 2008 during the Congress-led UPA  government and was passed in the Rajya Sabha (2010), but not in the Lok Sabha.

Understanding the bill

  • The Constitution (One Hundred and Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2008, as well as the Geeta Mukherjee Joint Committee and the Jayanti Natarajan Committee, form the basis of the details of this historic proposal. However, the exact contents of the bill will become clear after it is formally introduced.
  • Its core provisions include the reservation of one-third of all seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women. Currently, women occupy less than 15 per cent of Lok Sabha seats, and the figure is even lower in state assemblies.
  • However, it should be noted that the bill doesn't seek to alter the composition of the Rajya Sabha and the legislative councils in the states.
  • These reserved, one-third seats may rotate among different constituencies within a state or Union territory, meaning the same set of constituencies won't be reserved in consecutive Lok Sabha/Vidhan Sabha terms.
  • Additionally, the bill stipulated that one-third of the seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes must also be reserved for women from those groups.
  • Notably, this reservation system would cease to exist 15 years after its implementation, according to the last bill introduced.

While the bill's approval is a crucial step, its implementation may not take place until after the delimitation process (the process of geographical demarcation of constituencies), which is expected around 2029.

However, a few reports suggest that the changes could come into effect before the next General Elections.


  • The supposed proposal was received well across the party lines, including the principal opposition Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party and a few others.
  • Congress leader Jairam Ramesh took to X (Formerly Twitter) and credited Rajiv Gandhi with bringing the reservation for women bill for the first time (local bodies) and expressed his dissatisfaction, saying, "This could have very well been discussed in the all-party meeting before the Special Session, and consensus could have been built instead of operating under a veil of secrecy."
  • Former Congress Chief, Sonia Gandhi too owned the bill this morning (September 19) saying, "Apna hai (it's ours)."
  • While several parties, including the Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal and Biju Janata Dal, have pushed for its passage, four parties, namely, Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD), Janta Dal United (JDU), Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) have opposed the bill and voiced to include the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and other minorities into its purview.
Last updated: September 19, 2023 | 10:59
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