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Rajya Sabha Constitutes All Women Vice-Chairpersons' Panel Amid Debate On Women's Reservation Bill

Rajya Sabha Constitutes All Women Vice-Chairpersons' Panel Amid Debate On Women's Reservation Bill

The 'Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam' or the Women's Reservation Bill is set to clear Rajya Sabha today, after it was passed with near unanimity on Wednesday in the Lok Sabha. Once it secures the approval of both the Houses, the Bill will be forwarded to President Droupadi Murmu for her assent.

Special session of Parliament
Special session of Parliament Photo: PTI/Manvender Vashist Lav

As Rajya Sabha took up the Women's Reservation Bill for discussion on Thursday, Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar reconstituted the panel of Vice-Chairpersons comprising 13 women Rajya Sabha Members for the day.

The Constitution (128th Amendment) Bill granting reservation to women on one-third seats in Lok Sabha and state assemblies was passed in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday with 454 members voting in favour and two against it.

As the Lok Sabha resumed in the morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his gratitude to the MPs over the passage of the Bill in the Lower House on Wednesday. The Rajya Sabha has initiated discussions on the bill with expectations of its approval today. 

BJP president and MP JP Nadda said in the Rajya Sabha, "...We all know that the proceedings in this new Parliament began from Ganesh Utsav and yesterday in Lok Sabha, the Women's Reservation Bill - Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam - was passed without any obstacles. I am confident that it will be passed here unanimously without any obstacles."

This was the first time that the women's quota bill had been put to vote in Lok Sabha and it cleared past the required two-thirds majority, with only two leaders of the AIMIM including Asaduddin Owaisi opposing it while contending that the measure would provide reservation only to "savarna women", and exclude OBC and Muslim women who have little representation in Parliament. 

What next for Women's Reservation Bill?

The Rajya Sabha took up the Bill on Thursday, the fourth day of the special session of the parliament. Once it secures the approval of both the Houses, the Bill will be forwarded to President Droupadi Murmu for her assent. Once that process is completed, the Bill will become a law.

Almost 13 years ago, Rajya Sabha had passed a similar Bill but the legislation failed to pass through Lok Sabha due to strong opposition from SP and RJD over the lack of quota within quota for OBC women. The Rajya Sabha had then witnessed chaotic scenes with SP MPs Nandkishore Yadav and Kamal Akhtar climbing atop the table of Chairman Hamid Ansari, and Yadav uprooting a microphone.

While opposition parties put forward their demands of inclusion of OBC sub-quota within the Bill, they unanimously supported the legislation. Hence, the Bill is likely to clear Rajya Sabha test today. When the proposed legislation goes to Rajya Sabha for its consideration, it will be called the Constitution (106th Amendment) Bill, officials said.

However, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, during the debate, confirmed that the legislation will not be implemented before 2029. As per the clauses of the Bill, it will only come into effect after a delimitation exercise is conducted. Explaining the reasoning behind this, Shah said, "If 1/3rd of seats have to be reserved, who will decide on these seats? Those who are saying why aren’t you doing it? My question is who will do it? If we do it you will call it political reservation, if Wayanad becomes a reserved constituency or if Owaisi’s Hyderabad becomes reserved. This is why the delimitation commission which conducts quasi-judicial proceedings by visiting every constituency (does this exercise) in an open and transparent manner. The only reason behind the delimitation clause is efficiency, so no sides are taken."

 

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