Speaking to this newspaper, Constitutional expert P D T Achary said it is unlikely that the bill will be implemented before 2029.
NEW DELHI: Marking a new beginning on the first day of the new Parliament House, the Narendra Modi government on Tuesday tabled the long-pending Women’s Reservation Bill in Lok Sabha to block 33% of seats for women in Parliament and legislative assemblies. However, according to Constitutional experts, the bill is unlikely to be implemented before 2029 as it can be done only after the completion of the delimitation exercise based on the first Census after the Bill becomes law. The discussion on the bill in Lok Sabha on Wednesday is likely to see heated exchanges as it is learnt that Congress leader Sonia Gandhi will lead the debate from the Opposition camp.
If the bill comes into force, the number of women MPs in Lok Sabha will go up to 181 from the current 82. It also proposes a one-third quota for women within the seats reserved for SC/STs. As per the bill introduced by Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, the quota rollout can happen only after the delimitation or redrawing of constituencies based on data from the first Census after the legislation is notified.
TNIE EDITORIAL | Women should not be proxies to win seats Speaking to this newspaper, Constitutional expert P D T Achary said it is unlikely that the bill will be implemented before 2029. “The seats will be reserved after the completion of the delimitation exercise based on the first Census after the bill is passed. All the existing constituencies have to be redrawn by the delimitation commission.
Then they have to identify the constituencies to be reserved for women. This is going to be a long-drawn process,” says Achary. Though the decadal Census was to be carried out in 2021, it was postponed because of Covid-19. The government has yet to announce a fresh date for the exercise. Achary points out that the constituencies will be redrawn only after the next Census, which is likely after 2026. OPINION | Equality gets a number: Half the sky, one-third ground According to the Constitution (84th Amendment) Act, there is a freeze on readjustment of constituencies till the first Census after 2026.
“After the 2024 elections, the new Lok Sabha will be in office and it cannot be tampered with till its term expires in 2029. So the delimitation will be completed only after 2029,” he said. Achary points out that the bill needs to be ratified by not less than 50% of the state assemblies. Before that, the bill needs to be passed by a special majority (a majority of the total number in the House plus a majority of two-thirds of the House present and voting) in both Houses, he says. (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)