New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the Women’s Reservation Bill 2023, after decades of delay. The bill reserves one-third of the seats in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies for women. It also reserves one-third of the seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for women.
The bill, which requires ratification by at least half of the states before it can become law, is a historic step towards gender equality in Indian politics. However, it is unlikely to be implemented before 2029, due to the need for a delimitation exercise.
The bill states that the reservation for women will come into effect after an exercise of delimitation is undertaken for this purpose after the relevant figures for the first census taken after the commencement of the Constitution (128th Amendment) Act 2023 have been published.
The last census was due in 2021 but has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The government has said that the next delimitation exercise may be conducted after the first census to be taken after the year 2026.
This means that the reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies is unlikely to be implemented before 2029.
Despite the delay, the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill is a significant milestone for gender equality in India. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of women’s rights activists who have fought for decades to make this day possible.