Union Cabinet meeting clears Women's Reservation Bill

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet, which met on Monday evening after the first sitting of the five-day special session of Parliament, cleared the Women’s Reservation Bill for presentation, Minister of State Prahlad Singh Patel said.

The bill, which would ensure women reservation of 33 per cent of seats in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies, will be presented in the Parliament on September 20 (Wednesday), as per reports.

“Only the Modi government had the moral courage to fulfil the demand for women’s reservation which was proved by the approval of the cabinet. Congratulations Narendra Modi ji and congratulations to the Modi government,” the minister said on X.

There was speculation that the Cabinet, which met for 90 minutes, would clear proposals like the reservation for women, one nation, one election, and even a change in the country’s name.

The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was attended by Union ministers including Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Piyush Goyal, Pralhad Joshi, S Jaishankar, Nirmala Sitharaman, Dharmendra Pradhan, Nitin Gadkari and Arjun Ram Meghwal.

Earlier in the day, while addressing the media ahead of the session, PM Modi had said that this Parliament session may be of short duration but is big on occasion, and is of “historic decisions”.

In his remarks in Lok Sabha on the discussion on 75 years of Parliament, he asserted that the contribution of women parliamentarians has been on the rise over the years.

Cutting across political lines, leaders have demanded the introduction of the women’s reservation bill, which guarantees a 33 per cent quota in Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

Congress welcomes move

The Congress said it welcomes the reported move as the party has been raising the demand for long.

“We welcome the reported decision of the Union Cabinet and await the details of the Bill,” Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh posted on X.

“This could have very well been discussed in the all-party meeting before the Special Session, and consensus could have been built instead of operating under a veil of secrecy,” the Congress leader said.

He also shared a detailed post he made on Sunday to underline how the Congress has been supporting the move.

“The Congress Working Committee has demanded that the Women’s Reservation Bill must be passed during the Special Session of Parliament,” he said quoting the CWC resolution that was passed at its meeting in Hyderabad this weekend.

Ramesh had on September 17 said former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi first introduced the Constitution Amendment Bills for one-third reservation in panchayats and nagarpalikas in May 1989. It passed in Lok Sabha but failed in Rajya Sabha in September 1989, he noted.

He also said then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao reintroduced Constitution Amendment Bills for one-third reservation for women in panchayats and nagarpalikas in April 1993. Both Bills passed and became law.

“Now there are more than 15 lakh elected women representatives in panchayats and nagarpalikas. This comes to about 40 percent.

“As PM, Dr Manmohan Singh brought Constitution Amendment Bill for one-third reservation for women in Parliament and state legislatures. Bill passed on March 9, 2010 in the Rajya Sabha. But it was not taken up in Lok Sabha,” Ramesh claimed.

He said Bills introduced/passed in Rajya Sabha do not lapse and the Women’s Reservation Bill is still very much active.

“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 get passed by the Lok Sabha as well,” he said.

(With PTI inputs)