SC Rejects Fast-Tracking Women's Reservation Bill Pre-2024 Elections

On November 3, the Supreme Court expressed its concerns regarding the immediate enforcement of the women's reservation in the Lok Sabha, the upper houses of state legislatures, and the Delhi legislative assembly before the 2024 general elections.

Nikita Gupta
New Update
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The Supreme Court of India made a significant legal development on November 3 by expressing its reservations about immediately implementing the women's reservation in the Lok Sabha, the upper houses of state legislatures, and the Delhi legislative assembly before the 2024 general elections. Although President Droupadi Murmu signed it into law in September, its implementation is still pending, which is dependent on a delimitation exercise following the next census.


The Contention: : Court's Observations

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by Congress leader Jaya Thakur. Thakur argued that a constitutional amendment, once passed with overwhelming support in a special session, should not be withheld. While a census is required before introducing a backward class quota, Thakur contended that such an exercise is unnecessary for reserving seats for  women in the state and union legislatures.

Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the petitioner, raised a compelling question during the hearing: "What has the census got to do with the women's reservation bill?" He further added that the clause deferring the implementation of the constitutional amendment should be struck down.

However, the bench expressed reluctance to strike down the clause, with Justice Khanna stating, "It will be very difficult for us to do that. We'll be virtually legislating then." The judge also noted, "This is a very good step. This has already been examined in a matter."

Singh pointed out a pending matter, referring to a 2021 plea by the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) seeking the reintroduction of the women's reservation bill, which lapsed after the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2010.

About The Bill


On September 21, the bill aiming at reserving one-third of the seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women received approval from the parliament, with unanimous support in the Rajya Sabha.

In contrast to the Lok Sabha, where only two out of the 456 MPs present voted against the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, all 214 lawmakers present in the Rajya Sabha voted in favor of it.

The 128th Constitution Amendment Bill will now need to be ratified by a majority of state assemblies. Its implementation will occur after a delimitation exercise, which involves redrawing parliamentary and assembly constituencies based on a census scheduled for next year.

The bill was passed after several proposed amendments were rejected, including those related to providing reservations for the Other Backward Classes (OBC) within the 33 percent quota. The reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies will be both horizontal and vertical, extending to the SC-ST categories. It's worth noting that the 33 percent reservation for women will not apply to the Upper House of Parliament and state legislative councils.


The stance of the Supreme Court on women's reservation in Parliament indicates the importance of maintaining a delicate balance between practicality and compliance with constitutional norms. The nation is watching as this significant issue unfolds, standing on the brink of change.

Suggested Reading: Why Women's Reservation Bill Is A Step Towards Empowering Bhartiya Nari?

Women Reservation Bill