Govt Set to Introduce Bills for Women's Reservation in J&K, Puducherry: Details Inside
Govt Set to Introduce Bills for Women's Reservation in J&K, Puducherry: Details Inside

New Delhi: In a strategic move during the ongoing winter session of Parliament, the government is gearing up to introduce two distinct bills aimed at ensuring a 33 percent reservation for women in the legislative assemblies of Jammu and Kashmir and the Union Territory of Puducherry. These forthcoming bills, an extension of the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam ratified by the Parliament in September, mark a significant step towards gender parity and political representation.

The Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, which initially provided for the reservation of one-third of seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women, is set to be expanded to include Jammu and Kashmir and Puducherry. However, the previous bill's effectiveness in these regions was hindered due to the absence of references to Articles 239A and 239, governing the administrative framework of Jammu and Kashmir and Puducherry.

Puducherry, housing 30 assembly constituencies, and the restructured Jammu and Kashmir assembly, now comprising a total of 114 seats post the delimitation process, including 24 seats earmarked for regions under Pakistan's control, will witness the implementation of this reservation policy.

Alongside the introduction of these groundbreaking bills, the government plans to pass two crucial legislations—the J&K Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill 2023 and the Government of Union Territories (Amendment) Bill 2023—during the ongoing session. These bills are designed to explicitly incorporate provisions for women's reservation in the aforementioned Union Territories. In particular, the proposed law seeks to extend the allocation of 33 percent of seats in the 90-seat Jammu and Kashmir Assembly to women.

The anticipated timeframe for these proposed bills' introduction is within the current winter session of Parliament, scheduled to conclude on December 22, 2023. If passed, the law is expected to be enforced from 2029, with approximately 29 to 30 seats in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly being reserved exclusively for women. Home Minister Amit Shah is anticipated to present these bills in Parliament.

Crucially, the 33 percent reservation threshold will encompass provisions for women from Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST). Currently, the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly reserves seven seats for SCs and nine for STs.

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