The Women’s Reservation Bill successfully cleared its first legislative hurdle in the Lok Sabha with an overwhelming majority of 454 votes in favor and only 2 against. However, Asaduddin Owaisi, a Member of Parliament from the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), who voted against the bill along with his party colleague Imtiaz Jaleel, explained their opposition by stating that the bill does not include a sub-quota for Muslim and Other Backward Classes (OBC) women.
In an interview with ANI after the bill’s passage in the Lok Sabha, Owaisi said, “We voted against it to make it clear to the country that there are two members of Parliament who are advocating for the inclusion of OBC and Muslim women in the reservation framework.”
Owaisi further elaborated on his decision to vote against the motion for the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill, emphasizing, “OBCs constitute more than 50% of the country’s population. The purpose of this bill is to provide representation to women who are underrepresented in Parliament and other legislative bodies. So why is the government denying reservation to women from a community that makes up over 50% of our population?”
Regarding the alleged lack of reservation for Muslim women, Owaisi pointed out, “Muslim women make up 7% of the national population, yet their representation in our legislative bodies, including Parliament, is only 0.7%.”
Earlier, on Wednesday, the Lok Sabha passed the draft women’s reservation legislation, which mandates a 33% reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023, was approved after Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal responded to the motion.
The Bill was passed through a division, with 454 members voting in favor and two against during the motion for its passage presented by Meghwal.
Speaker Om Birla officially announced the successful passage of the Bill.
The ‘Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam’ is the first bill to be passed by the Lok Sabha since its move to the new Parliament building on Tuesday.