File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Eight Amendment) Bill, 2023

The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023 is a significant piece of legislation aimed at increasing women's representation in the Indian Parliament and state legislatures. On September 19, 2023, the Minister of Law and Justice, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, introduced the Bill in Lok Sabha, and it was passed by both Houses of Parliament within three days with overwhelming support from all parties.

The Bill seeks to modify the Constitution to reserve, as nearly as feasible, one-third of all seats in Lok Sabha, state legislative assemblies, and the National Capital Territory of Delhi Legislative Assembly for women. The Bill also allows for a proportionate number of seats to be reserved for women from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The Bill will come into force from the next general elections after its ratification by at least half of the states.

The quota of women reservation bill has been a source of contention since the tenure of Former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1996.

The Bill could not have been passed since the then-Government lacked a majority.
  • The First Women Reservation Bill was tabled in Parliament in 1996.
  • From 1998-2003, the government introduced the Bill four times but failed each time.
  • 2009: The law is tabled by the government amid objections.
  • 2010: The Bill is approved by the Union Cabinet and RS.
  • The Bill was planned to be submitted in LS in 2014.
Need for the Bill: There are 82 female Members of Parliament in LS (15.2%) and 31 female Members of Parliament in RS (13%).
  • While the figure has risen dramatically since the first Lok Sabha (5%), it remains significantly lower than in many other countries.
  • Rwanda (61%), Cuba (53%), and Nicaragua (52%), according to recent UN Women data, are the top three countries in terms of female representation. In terms of female representation, Bangladesh (21%) and Pakistan (20%) are both ahead of India.

This legislation is notable since it was the first measure tabled for discussion in the new Parliament building, highlighting the government's commitment to gender justice.

Consider the opinions of India's founding mothers on women's reservation in this context. The Constituent Assembly featured 15 women representatives: Ammu Swaminathan, Annie Mascarene, Begum Aizaz Rasul, Dakshayani Velayudan, G Durgabai, Hansa Mehta, Kamla Chaudhri, Leela Ray, Malati Chowdhury, Purnima Banerji, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Renuka Ray, Sarojini Naidu, Sucheta Kripalani, and Vijayalakshmi Pandit. These names, which were sometimes overlooked in talks about the Constitution's drafting, were critical in expressing various views in an assembly dominated by men.

Ten women actively participated in debates, pushing for "merit" rather than special treatment. Specifically, Hansa Mehta stressed the significance of Indian women seeking justice in the social, economic, and political realms, rather than seat reservations or distinct electorates.

"For generations, the average woman in this country has suffered from injustices heaped upon her by laws, conventions, and practices of people who have fallen from the heights of that civilization of which we are all so proud...Today, thousands of women are denied their basic human rights. They are confined behind the purdah, within the four walls of their homes, unable to walk freely.

Renuka Ray, on the other hand, was against women's reservations, citing the example of Vijayalakshmi Pandit, whom she considered had earned her seat in the Constituent Assembly and as an ambassador through merit.

The Bill is a significant step towards empowering women and assuring them equitable political participation. It is intended to have a good impact on the country's social and economic development, as well as the country's governance and democracy. The Bill satisfies a long-standing desire of numerous women's groups and civil society organizations, which have been lobbying for women's legislative seats since the 1990s. The Bill also illustrates the government's commitment to implementing the National Policy for Women's Empowerment (2001), which indicates that reservation will be considered in higher legislative bodies.

Various national and international politicians, activists, and scholars have lauded the Bill as a historic triumph for women's rights and democracy in India. The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, referred to it as a "Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam" (legislation to honour women's power) and thanked all MPs from all parties for their support. On September 23, 2023, the Bill was signed into law by India's President, Shri Ram Nath Kovind. Mr. Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, welcomed India on the passage of the Bill, calling it a "milestone for gender equality and democratic representation."

Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, lauded India for setting an example for other nations and stated that the Bill would "transform the lives of millions of women and girls."

The Bill is the culmination of years of struggle and debate in legislatures over the topic of women's reservation. Since 1996, many Bills modifying the Constitution to reserve seats for women in Parliament and state legislatures have been introduced, but none have been passed due to a lack of consensus among diverse political parties and groups. The Rajya Sabha passed The Constitution (One Hundred and Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2008, in 2008, but it lapsed with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha.

The main points of contention among various stakeholders were:
  1. Whether women from Other Backward Classes (OBCs) should be given reservation
  2. Whether the reservation should be extended to Rajya Sabha and state legislative councils
  3. Whether the reservation should be rotational or permanent
  4. Whether the reservation should be implemented through a constitutional amendment or ordinary legislation

The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023 addresses some of these difficulties by reserving seats for women belonging to SCs and STs in proportion to their numbers while leaving the topic of reservation for OBC women to be addressed later. The Bill further states that reservations will only apply to the Lok Sabha, state legislative assemblies, and the Legislative Assembly of Delhi, omitting the Rajya Sabha and state legislative councils. The Bill also specifies that reservations would be made by rotation at each general election from among constituencies assigned by lot by such body as may be stipulated by law. The Bill also clarifies that reservation will be given for a period of 15 years from its commencement and will be reviewed thereafter.

The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023, is an important step towards gender equality in Indian politics and society. The Bill is intended to encourage more women to enter public life and contribute to nation-building. It is also hoped that the Bill would open the way for other changes and measures to address the issues that women experience in numerous areas of their lives.

  • Women's Reservation Bill in Lok Sabha' available at: (Last modified on 20 September 2023)
  • Women's Reservation Bill' available at: (Last modified on 23 September 2023)
  • The 128th Constitutional Amendment Bill 2023: 33% reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and all state Legislative Assemblies' available at: (Last modified on: 20 September 2023)
  • Women's Reservation Bill 2023 [The Constitution (One Hundred Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023]' available at: (Last modified on 02 November 2023)
  • From history to the road ahead: Top 10 reads on the women's reservation Bill' available at (Last modified on 22 September 2023)

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly