9 Mar : The 14-year journey of the Women’s Reservation Bill was marked by high drama and hit roadblocks in each of its outings in Parliament before the historic measure cleared the first legislative hurdle on Tuesday.
Following is the chronology of developments related to Women’s Reservation Bill:
The issue of women’s representation in Parliament first raised in a report submitted to the Ministry of Education and Social Welfare by a Committee on Status of Women in India.
Highlighting the low number of women in political bodies, the report recommends that seats be reserved for women in panchayats and municipal bodies.
The 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments reserve one-third of seats for women in panchayats and municipal bodies.
September 12, 1996:
Women’s Reservation Bill first introduced in parliament by H D Deve Gowda’s government as 81st Constitution Amendment Bill. Soon after, Gowda’s government becomes a minority and 11th Lok Sabha dissolved.
The Bill is referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee chaired by CPI MP Geeta Mukherjee which presents its report to the Lok Sabha on December 9, 1996.
June 26, 1998:
The bill reintroduced by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in the 12th Lok Sabha as the 84th Constitution Amendment Bill.
This time too, the bill lapses as 12th Lok Sabha is dissolved prematurely with the Vajpayee government being reduced to a minority.
November 22, 1999:
The bill is once again introduced by the NDA government in the 13th Lok Sabha. But the government again fails to gather consensus on the issue.
The NDA government brought the bill to the Lok Sabha twice in 2002 and 2003 but could never get it passed even though the Congress and the Left, constituting a majority, had assured NDA of their support.
After coming to power, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government announces its intention to pass the bill as part of its commitments in the Common Minimum Programme (CMP).
May 6, 2008:
The Bill is introduced in Rajya Sabha and referred to the Standing Committee on Law and Justice.
December 17, 2009:
The Standing Committee presents its report and the bill is tabled in both Houses of Parliament amid protests by Samajwadi Party, JD (U) and RJD.
February 22, 2010:
In her address to Parliament, President Pratibha Patil says the government is committed to early passage of the bill.
February 25, 2010:
Union Cabinet approves Women’s Reservation Bill.
March 8, 2010:
Bill moved in Rajya Sabha, but voting on it deferred after unruly scenes and threats of withdrawal support to the UPA government by SP and RJD.
March 9, 2010:
Women’s Reservation Bill passed by Rajya Sabha with overwhelming majority.