Women Reservation Bill: Plea Before SC Seeks 33% Reservation for Women in Parliament, State Legislatures

Women Reservation Law Insider

Tanisha Rana

Published on: September 11, 2022 at 20:46 IST

A petition to reintroduce the Women’s Reservation Bill, which would grant women 33 percent of the seats in the parliament and state legislatures, has been received by the Supreme Court.

The Central government must receive a copy of the plea after a bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice JK Maheshwari ruled that it is relevant.

Additionally, the bench has scheduled a hearing for the matter for the week beginning September 26.

A 33% seat reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and all State Legislative Assemblies was proposed by the Women’s Reservation Bill, also known as the One Hundred and Eighth Amendment Bill, in 2008.

The draught measure called for the rotational reservation of seats for women to be decided by lot, such that a seat would only be reserved once every three general elections.

Furthermore, it stated that 15 years from the start of the amending Act, the female seat reservation would be abolished.

The Constitution (One Hundred and Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2008 was introduced in the Lower House more than 25 years ago, in the year 1996. It was approved by the Rajya Sabha in 2010 and expired in 2014 with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha.

The National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) petitioned the Apex Court through attorney Prashant Bhushan, alleging that the respondent had failed to bring the necessary legislation before the Lok Sabha.

The plea submitted that, “It is submitted that the Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2010 and has been crystallized so as to its aims and objectives to a large extent. In view thereof it is submitted that non introduction of such an important and beneficial Bill, on which there is a virtual consensus of all major political parties, is arbitrary.”

According to the petition, the lack of representation of women in parliament directly affects the priorities and presumptions of laws and policies, and increasing the participation of women in the decision-making process will improve government.

The patriarchal mentality that has led to the subjugation of women and the denial of their equal rights is also discussed in the petition.

According to the law, the transformation can only come about if women are given access to leadership roles through practical means like increasing the number of women in parliament.

The argument also discusses the pledge that the BJP government made in its manifestos for 2014 and 2019.

The petitions states that, “However, despite repeated promises no action has been forthcoming in regard with the passing of the Women’s Reservation Bill even though the BJP has a majority in the Lok Sabha. The Bill has been supported on record by the Congress party which is the main Opposition party.”

According to the petition, before a bill to amend the Constitution is tabled in Parliament, a serious analysis-based agreement across all political parties is required. This statement was made by Minister of Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju during a question-and-answer session.

The argument continues that numerous parties, including the BJP, pledged to enact the women’s reservation bill during elections, including the INC, AIADMK, DMK, Shiromani Akali Dal, CPI(M), Biju Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party, and NCP.

Despite the strong hold of several parties, nothing has been started.

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