The introduction of the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023, popularly referred to as the Women’s Reservation Bill. We know that the 73rd and 74th Amendments passed in 1993, which introduced panchayats and municipalities in the Constitution, reserved one-third of seats for women in these bodies. The Constitution also provides for reservation of seats in Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in proportion to their number in the population. However the Constitution does not provide for reservation of seats for women in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies.
Meanwhile, the Women’s Reservation Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha as the first bill in the new Parliament House. The Bill reserves, as nearly as may be, one-third of all seats for women in Lok Sabha, state legislative assemblies, and the Legislative Assembly of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. This will also apply to the seats reserved for SCs and STs in Lok Sabha and states legislatures. The reservation will be effective after the census conducted after the commencement of this Bill has been published. Based on the census, delimitation will be undertaken to reserve seats for women. The reservation will be provided for a period of 15 years. However, it shall continue till such date as determined by a law made by Parliament.
A plan has been taken to make Bharat a developed country by 2047. In that case, Bhartiya women will play one of the main roles. If we look back to ancient Bharat, when Bharat occupied the seat of Vishwa guru, the position of women in the society was very high. A mantra from the Taittiriya Upanishad has to be quoted when talking about the place of women in traditional society. It is said there,” Matri Devo Bhava / Pitri Devo Bhava,Acharya devo bhava / Atithi devo bhava”
It should be noted that the mother is mentioned here first. The infinite power of women who can achieve all the impossible things if they want to, is also beautifully depicted here. It is said in Manusmriti, “Yatra Naryastu Pujyante. Ramante Tatra Devata’. A country that respects women, a country where women are worshiped is loved by God. Again the scriptures say,” Yaa Devi Sarva-Bhuteshu Matri-Ruupenna Samsthitaa”. That is, in our bharatiya society, where women are worshiped as gods. We believe that primal power Mahamaya resides in Kumari.
Swami Vivekananda mentions six main reasons for Bharat’s subjugation by foreigners for so long, despite everything it has. He said to the people of Bharat, “O India ! Forget not that the ideal of thy womanhood is Sita, Savitri, Damayanti.”
If we look at the pages of history, we can see what a shining example Bharatiya women once set in running the administration. Chandragupta Maurya did not alone rule the vast empire which he built before the birth of Christ. His wife Kumar Devi also took part in thr governance of this kingdom. Six women of the Bhaumakara dynasty of ancient Orissa ascended the throne and ruled the kingdom with great efficiency. Prominent warriors among these heroic women were Prithviraj’s wife Sanjukta, Samar Singh’s wife Karma Devi of Chittor, Mebar Rana Ratan Singh’s wife Padmini and many other Rajput women. Again Queen Durgavati of Madhya Pradesh, Queen Chennamma of Vijayanagar Empire managed their kingdoms with great skill. I still remember the bravery shown by Rani of Jhansi Laxmibai against the British rulers.
As Dr B R Ambedkar said, “The only way of measuring the development and progress of a community in a country would be only the progress and growth of women in that community which is actually the real progress of the country.”
Incidentally, this conservation bill called ‘Nari Shakti Bandhan Adhiniyam’ has stated that the role of women is very important to achieve the goal of making India a developed country by 2047. As India today aims to once again occupy the seat of Vishwaguru, there is a need for more women empowerment following Swamiji’s words. Reservation of seats for women in parliament empowers the women in society and encourages women to participate in political and parliament issues .Women have equal rights to enter parliament as men and a sense of equality is maintained by creating such reservations for women .
We see that most of the injustices and offences are in association with women. Most of the cases have old women as victims. Hence if women enter into these matters they can be managed easily. Reservation of seats for women can change the social structure of our country. When women come into power in parliament then problems of women can be viewed easily and measures can be taken for betterment of women in our country. Therefore, it can be expected that if women enter parliamentary affairs, it will be much easier to deal with these evils of the society.
If we look at the statistics, we can see that the highest proportion of women representatives elected to the Lok Sabha so far was in the 2019 elections, but it was only 15 percent of the total member. Again, the highest proportion of women representatives in the Rajya Sabha was in 2014 which was close to 12 percent of the total member. According to the Press Information Bureau data filed on December 31, 2021, women represent less than 10 percent in most state assemblies. For example, in states like Assam, Telangana, Karnataka, Arunachal Pradesh, the number of women legislators is only 5 percent or less. In this situation, if this bill becomes effective, the number of seats for women will be 33 per cent. This change is very necessary to bring India to the seat of Vishwa guru in today’s 21st century.
“Globally, women currently occupy only 26.7 per centcof parliamentary seats and 35.5 per cent of local government positions,” Ms Ferguson said. “This quota reserving 33 per cent seats for women will leapfrog India into one of 64 countries around the world who have reserved seats for women in their national Parliaments. Typically, achieving a critical mass of 30 per cent representation by women in Parliament is known to yield positive outcomes for women’s empowerment. However, we hope that implementing such reservations will ultimately lead to achieving 50 per cent representation of women in Parliaments across the globe.”
Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam wrote in his poem ‘Nari’,
“Bisse ja kichu mohan sristi chiro-kolankor
Ordhek tar koriyache nari, ordhek tar nor.”
In order to build a new developed Bharat, participation of women in all fields and sectors is needed, and more women are needed at the administrative level and in the representatives of parliament and assembly. Reservation for women representatives in parliament and assembly to build a truly prosperous Bharat. We hope that it will play a significant role.