VOLUME:- 4  ISSUE NO:- 4   , OCTOBER 25, 2023


Authored by:- Jiya Prakash

2nd year Student at Army Institute of Law, Mohali


Recently, both the houses of Parliament have passed Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, popularly known as the Women Reservation Bill, 2023 by the way of 106th Constitutional Amendment. It has been a long due motion in the parliament since 1996 and has faced many hurdles till date. The act aims to provide better representation of women in Indian Polity considering their inadequate representation in the current political scenario.


The representation of women in the Indian politics has been significantly low. There are currently 82 women MPs in the Lok Sabha i.e. 15.2% of the total strength and 31 women MPs in the Rajya Sabha that constitutes 13% of the total strength. Although the representation has been better from the first Lok Sabha sitting that had mere 5% women members.

The discussion on reservation for women in the parliament was first tabled in 1996, almost 27 years ago. The government of Late Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee had first put this idea forward. In fact the bill managed to get passed in the Rajya Sabha in 2010 under the UPA government but couldn’t qualify to become an act due lack of consensus. Since then it has been tabled on several occasions, but failed to achieve the assent of majority until recently.

According to the report published by United Nations Women Data, the top three countries in the list Rwanda, Cuba, Nicaragua have 61%, 53% and 52% women representations in their countries respectively. Even countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan who are comparatively underdeveloped than India are far ahead in giving representation to their women and have 21% and 20% women representations respectively.

Objective of the Bill

The bill aims on providing women 33% reservation in the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and State legislative assembly to improve and uplift their status in Indian Politics. It also takes steps to ensure reservation to women in the national capital territory of Delhi. 

Key Features 

  • The legislation provides for insertion of Article 330A to the constitution, which derives its power from Article 330 which further provides for reservation of Seats for SCs and STs in the Lok sabha.
  • It seeks to provide one-third of the seats to be reserved for women on rotational basis after each delimitation exercise as determined by the parliament according to the law.
  • It contests to provide horizontal reservation for SCs and STs under women quota.
  • For the purpose of State legislative assembly the bill introduces Article 332A in the constitution which mandate reservation of seats in every state legislative assembly.
  • The bill has a sunset clause to be reviewed after 15 years of its implementation.

Arguments against the Bill

  • Critics are of the view that there are several discrepancies in the bill, which may hamper its implementation. 
  • The bill does not provide reservation to women in the Rajya Sabha. The representation must be reflected ideally in both the Houses of Parliament.
  • A horizontal reservation has been given to the SCs and STs But, the same has not been considered for OBCs of the society.
  • The bill declares that it will be implemented after a census and delimitation is conducted, which is predicted to not happen before 2026. It has been contended that a census and delimitation must be exercised as soon as possible for its immediate implementation.
  • It also doesn’t specify the election cycle from which the provisions will be implemented. This lands us all again in uncertainty. 


The bill has come a long way since its proposal in 1996. Many governments over the past 27 years have made an effort onto introducing a legislation that provides reservation to women in Political domain but failed to achieve that goal. The implementation is still postponed to an unforeseen future. A PIL has been filed by the opposition side in the apex court to give instructions to the government to accelerate the process of implementation. Anymore delay in bringing the act into effect would be a gross injustice to Indian women. This can only happen if appropriate measures are taken by the government to conduct the long pending census and exercise of delimitation.

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