WOMEN’S RESERVATION BILL (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     19th September 2023        
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Context: Recently, the Women's Reservation Bill (WRB) was approved by the Union Cabinet in a pivotal meeting chaired by the Prime Minister of India.

Women's Reservation Bill: History

  • May 1989: Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi introduced the Constitution Amendment Bill, proposing one-third reservation for women in rural and urban local bodies.
  • 1992-1993: Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao reintroduces Constitution Amendment Bills 72 and 73, reserving one-third (33%) of seats and chairperson posts for women in local bodies.
  • September 12, 1996: Deve Gowda-led United Front government introduces the 81st Constitution Amendment Bill in Lok Sabha.
  • 1998-2003: Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government attempts to pass the Women's Reservation Bill multiple times without success.
  • 2004: During Manmohan Singh-led UPA government-1, the Women's Reservation Bill is included in the Common Minimum Programme.

Women's Reservation Bill (WRB)

  • The Constitution 108th Amendment Bill, 2008: This bill seeks to reserve 33 percent of seats in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies for women.
  • According to the bill, one-third of the total number of seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes will be reserved for women from those groups. 

o These reserved seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in the state or union territory.

  • Duration: The bill says that the reservation of seats for women shall cease to exist 15 years after the commencement of the amendment act.