In a historic turn of events, the Women’s Reservation Bill, in the works for over 26 years, has received approval from the Union Cabinet. The momentous decision reportedly came during a special parliament session convened on Monday, 19 September 2023, at 6:30 pm.
During the session, no official announcement was made, but word quickly spread that the Union Cabinet had given its nod to the bill. Union Minister Prahlad Singh Patel, at 10:38 pm, took to social media platform X (formerly Twitter) to credit the Modi government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for this “historic” move. However, he later deleted his post without providing an explanation.
The Women’s Reservation Bill, officially known as the Constitution (One Hundred and Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2008, was initially introduced in the Rajya Sabha by the Manmohan Singh government and was passed by the upper house in 2010. However, due to fierce opposition from certain political parties within the United Progressive Alliance, the Bill never made it to the Lok Sabha. Even during the Modi government’s tenure, despite its substantial majority in the lower house and the anticipated support of the Congress and other major opposition parties, the Bill remained unaddressed.
It is worth noting that the opposition, particularly the Congress party, had been advocating for the passage of this bill for nearly a decade. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted on 17 September, “The Congress party has, for the past nine years, been demanding that the Women’s Reservation Bill, already passed by the Rajya Sabha, should now be passed by the Lok Sabha as well.”
This development marks a significant step toward providing 33% reservation for women in Parliament, a long-awaited achievement in Indian politics.