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128th Women Reservation Bill Passed: Now What Next?

Utkarsh Classes Last Updated 25-09-2023
128th Women Reservation Bill Passed: Now What Next? Bill and Act 18 min read

Both Houses of Parliament have passed the Women's Reservation Bill 2023 [The Constitution (One Hundred Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023]. The Bill seeks to reserve one-third of the total seats for women in Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies. 


In 1993, the 73rd and 74th Amendments were passed, which added panchayats and municipalities to the Constitution. These amendments also reserved one-third of seats in these bodies for women.

  • The Constitution reserves seats in Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies for SCs and STs based on their population. Article 330 and Article 332 provides seats for SCs and STs in Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies respectively. 
  • The Constitution does not reserve seats for women in Lok Sabha or state legislative assemblies.
  • Bills amending the Constitution to reserve seats for women in Parliament and state legislative assemblies have been introduced in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2008. The first three Bills lapsed with the dissolution of their respective Lok Sabhas. 
  • The 2008 Bill was introduced and passed by the Rajya Sabha, but it also lapsed with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha. A Joint Committee of Parliament examined the 1996 Bill, while the 2008 Bill was examined by the Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice. Both Committees agreed with the proposal to reserve seats for women. Some of the recommendations given by the Committees include:
  1. Considering reservation for women belonging to other backward classes at an appropriate time.
  2. Providing reservation for 15 years and reviewing it after that.
  3. Working out the modalities to reserve seats for women in Rajya Sabha and state legislative councils.

Why is Bill needed?

15% of the total members of the 17th Lok Sabha are women, while in state legislative assemblies, women, on average, constitute 9% of the total members.  

In 2015, the Report on the Status of Women in India noted that the representation of women in state assemblies and Parliament continues to be dismal.   

It noted that decision-making positions in political parties have negligible presence of women. It recommended reserving at least 50% of seats for women in local bodies, state legislative assemblies, Parliament, ministerial levels, and all government decision-making bodies. The National Policy for the Empowerment of Women (2001) stated that reservation will be considered in higher legislative bodies.  

India is a signatory to the Convention, and discrimination in matters of representation of women in decision-making bodies has continued.

Key Features of Bill

Reservation: The Bill suggests reserving one-third of all seats in Lok Sabha, state legislative assemblies, and the Legislative Assembly of the National Capital Territory of Delhi for women. This reservation will also apply to the seats reserved for SCs and STs in Lok Sabha and state legislatures. 

Commencement of reservation: The reservation will be effective after the new census will be published. Based on the census, delimitation will be undertaken to reserve seats for women. The reservation will be provided for 15 years. However, it shall continue till such date as determined by the law made by Parliament. 

Rotation of seats: Seats reserved for women will be rotated after each delimitation, as determined by the law made by Parliament.   

Articles which will be amended

  • The Women's Reservation Bill aims to achieve gender equality by proposing amendments to the Constitutional provisions regarding the NCT of Delhi under Article 239AA. 
  • Additionally, the Bill introduces three new articles - Articles 330A, 332A, and 334A. Articles 330A and 332A aim to establish women's reservations in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies. 
  • However, Article 334A includes a sunset provision that gradually ends the affirmative action policy after 15 years.

Problem in Bill

Timeline for Implementation: The Bill merely reads that it shall come into effect "after the exercise of delimitation is undertaken for this purpose after the relevant figures for the first Census taken after commencement of the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-eighth Amendment) Act, 2023 has been published". It doesn't specify the cycle of elections from which women will get their due share.

Reservation in Rajya Sabha and State Councils: In line with the preceding governments, the current Bill does not provide women's reservation in the Rajya Sabha and state legislative councils. The Rajya Sabha currently has a lower representation of women than the Lok Sabha. Representation is an ideal that must be reflected in both the Lower and Upper Houses.


Process for Bill to Become an Act

Types: There Are Four Types Of Bills

Constitutional Amendment Bill: These bills were passed to change the Constitution of India.

Money Bil: These bills are related to money, like if the government were  to take loans, related to tax, etc.

Finance Bill: The finance bill is a mixture of money bills and additional topics.

Ordinary Bill: All the topics which do not fall in any bill come under ordinary bills.

Stages Of The Ordinary Bill To Become An Act:

First Reading: The process starts with introducing the Bill in either House of the Parliament (Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha). A bill can be introduced by the Minister or any private member of that House. When a Minister introduces a Bill, it is called a Government Bill; in the case of a Private member, it is known as a Private Member's Bill.

  • The member in charge of the Bill will ask for leave to introduce the Bill in the House. If the leave is granted, the Bill is introduced. This is known as the first reading of the Bill. If the leave to introduce the Bill is opposed, the Speaker may allow the Member-in-charge and the member who opposed the Bill to give an explanatory statement regarding their views on that Bill.

Publication In Gazette: The Bill will be published in the Official Gazettes after the introduction of the Bill. A bill can also be published without introduction, with the permission of the Speaker. In such a case, the leave to introduce the Bill in the House is not asked. The Bill is straightway introduced.

Reference Of The Bill To The Standing Committee: After the Bill's publication, the House's presiding officer may refer the Bill to the standing committee to make a report of the Bill. The period to make the report is 3 months. The standing committee can also take the expert or public opinion on that Bill.

Second Reading: The Bill will be discussed clause-by-clause in the House in the second reading. The changes will be made in the Bill through discussions. If the Bill needs some changes, the changes will be made in this process, and the modifications will be made.

Third Reading: This is the last stage of One House. Bill is considered passed by the House if the majority of members present and voting accept it. If the Bill is passed, it will be sent to the other House, and that House will follow the same process.

  • Now, if the second House makes any changes in that Bill, the Bill will return to the first House again and have to pass on those changes if the majority of members present and voting accept it and be sent back to the second House for consideration.
  • If both the houses pass the Bill, the Bill will go to the President for his assent.
  • If the President gives his assent by signature, that Bill will become an Act.
  • In other cases, if there is any conflict between the Houses to pass the Bill, the President can call both Houses for a joint session. 
  • Joint session is presided over by the Lok Sabha Speaker. 
  • In this, both the House try to pass that Bill by majority by solving the problems in the Bill.

Constitutional Amendment Bills

  1. Parliament passes the first type through a simple majority. 
  2. The second type requires a special majority as prescribed in Article 368(2) of the Constitution. 
  3. As mentioned earlier, the third type necessitates a special majority and needs ratification by at least half of the State Legislatures. Bills regarding women's reservations fall under this third category.

Article 368 stipulates that amendments seeking to make changes to 

  • article 54, article 55, article 73, article 162, or article 241, 
  • or to Chapter IV of Part V, Chapter V of Part VI, or Chapter I of Part XI, 
  • or to any of the Lists in the Seventh Schedule, 
  • or to the representation of States in Parliament, 
  • or to the provisions of this article 368 must be provided for.

Bills containing provisions seeking to amend the Constitution or having the effect of amending the Constitution for the following purposes are passed by both Houses of Parliament by a Simple Majority, i.e., by a majority of votes of the Members present and voting:

(a) The Constitution allows for states' admission, formation, and alteration, including their areas, boundaries, and names (Articles 2, 3, and 4).

(b) Article 169 deals with the establishment or removal of Legislative Councils in the States.; 

(c) Creation of a Legislature or a Council of Ministers for the Union territory of Puducherry article 239A);

(d) There are specific provisions regarding Delhi outlined in Article 239AA.;

(e) Extend Part IX provisions to Scheduled and tribal areas (Articles 244 and 243M).

(f) Extension of provisions of Part IX-A to Scheduled Areas and tribal areas referred to in Article 244 (article 243ZC);

(g) Article 244A allows for forming a self-governing state in Assam comprising certain tribal areas with a local Legislature or Council of Ministers or both.

(h) Creation of all-India judicial service (article 312); 

(i) administration and control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes (Fifth schedule); and

(j) administration of Tribal Areas in the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram (Sixth Schedule).

  • These Bills are not deemed as Constitution Amendment Bills under article 368 of the Constitution and, therefore, these are not called by the title ‘Constitution Amendment Bills’.

Houses of Parliament on the Bill as Article 368 of the Constitution requires each House to pass the Bill by the prescribed special majority—assent to Constitution Amendment Bills. 

These Bills are not deemed as Constitution Amendment Bills under article 368 of the Constitution and, therefore, these are not called by the title ‘Constitution Amendment Bills’.

  • Constitution Amendment Bills are passed by Parliament by the prescribed special majority and, where necessary, ratified by the requisite number of States. 

Assent of President: Legislatures are presented to the President under Article 368 of the Constitution, under which the President is bound to give assent to such Bills.

Joint Sitting: In case of any disagreement between the two Houses of Parliament on a Constitution Amendment Bill, there cannot be a joint sitting.




Answer: 128th

Answer: To reserve one-third of the total seats for women in Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies.

Answer: Constitutional Amendment Bill, Money Bill,, Finance Bill, and ordinary Bill

Answer: Administration of Tribal Areas in the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram (Sixth Schedule).

Answer: Speaker of the Lok Sabha
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