The Women’s Reservation Bill, which was pending for 27 years, was introduced in the new Lok Sabha of the new Parliament House on Tuesday (September 19) and discussion on it started from Wednesday. After the introduction of the bill, many questions are being raised as to how the seats reserved for women will be identified and if the bill is passed then when will it be implemented. Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien said that we will have to wait till 2034 for the implementation of the bill because it is not possible before that. This means that we may have to wait for 11 more years for the bill to be implemented.
In 1996, former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda had introduced the Women’s Reservation Bill for the first time, but the initiative of reservation for women in elections was taken by the Rajiv Gandhi government. In 1987, reservation of one-third seats for women in Panchayati Raj and municipalities was suggested in the Rajiv Gandhi government and it was approved in the Narasimha Rao government.
Women’s Reservation Bill was introduced for the first time in the Deve Gowda government.
On September 12, 1996, the then Prime Minister H.D. For the first time in Deve Gowda’s government, an amendment bill (81st amendment) was introduced proposing reservation of one-third seats for women in the Lok Sabha and legislative assemblies. The bill got a lot of support from the MPs in the Lok Sabha, but many OBC MPs also opposed it and raised the demand for changes in it. After this the bill was sent to the selection committee, headed by former CPI leader Geeta Mukherjee. The bill was introduced again on December 9, 1996, but could not be passed.
There was no consensus on the bill even in the Gujral government.
In April 1997, Deve Gowda resigned and Inder Kumar Gujral became Prime Minister. All party meetings were held twice during the Gujral government, but to no avail and when the bill was introduced on May 16, 1997, OBC MPs again opposed it. On August 13, 1997, former PM Gujral himself admitted in the House that every party had different opinions regarding the bill. Thus the bill could not be passed that year also.
Despite the efforts of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the bill could not be passed.
On July 12, 1998, Mamata Banerjee and Sumitra Mahajan in the Atal Bihar Vajpayee government demanded re-introduction of the Women’s Reservation Bill. The bill was also introduced on July 20, but it could not be passed due to high voltage drama. Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal were against the bill. The RJD leader also took a copy of the bill from the Law Minister’s hand and tore it, which was defended by Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Prasad Yadav. Along with OBC reservation, demand for quota for Muslim women was also raised during that time. In 1999, after Jayalalitha withdrew support to the Vajpayee government, a trust vote was taken and the government lost by one vote and the bill was again put on hold. On December 23, 1999, Atal Bihar Vajpayee again introduced the bill and once again the opposition opposed it. On March 7, 2003, the Vajpayee government once again tried to reach a consensus on the bill but did not succeed and the NDA was out of power in 2004.
Passed in Rajya Sabha in 2004
In 2004, the UPA government came and the bill came into discussion again. On August 22, 2005, Sonia Gandhi held a meeting with UPA constituents and the Left to try to reach a consensus on the Women’s Reservation Bill. Two days later, former PM Manmohan Singh held a meeting with NDA and other parties and discussed the bill. On May 6, 2008, the UPA government introduced the bill in the Rajya Sabha for the first time and on May 8, it was sent to the Standing Committee. The Standing Committee submitted its report on 17 December and the Manmohan Singh government approved the bill on 25 February 2010. After this, on March 9, the bill was again introduced in the Rajya Sabha and passed. However, it could not be introduced in the Lok Sabha.
Nari Shakti Vandan Act Bill introduced on September 19
Since the NDA government came to power in 2014, Congress has been continuously demanding the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha. After the announcement of the special session, in the Congress Parliamentary Party meeting, the party proposed the reservation bill and also discussed passing it in the Lok Sabha. On September 19, on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the bill in the new Parliament and Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal introduced the bill. However, this time it was introduced in the name of Nari Shakti Vandan Act Bill. Discussion on the bill has started from Wednesday. However, this time there was no uproar like before.
Will the Women’s Reservation Bill be implemented in 2034?
Now there is also talk that even if the bill is passed, it will not be implemented in the 2024 elections. To implement the bill, it is necessary to complete the delimitation work, which will start in 2026. Now, only after the 2021 census will be held, the delimitation of Lok Sabha seats will be done and the seats reserved for women can be identified. In such a situation, it is possible that the implementation of the bill will have to wait till the 2029 Lok Sabha elections or the 2034 elections.
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