May 26, 2024
Home » CONSTITUTIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE NARI SHAKTI VANDAN ADHINIYAM, 2023
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This article has been written by Astitva Kumar Rao, second year of the BALLB (HONS.) at Dr. B. R. Ambedkar National Law University, Sonipat, in Haryana.

Introduction

ANALYSING THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK AND CONSTITUTIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE NARI SHAKTI VANDAN ADHINIYAM, 2023: A JURISPRUDENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

Gender equality, empowerment, and legislative initiatives are extremely important intersections in law and constitutional discourse. In the constantly changing field of legal changes and with the potential to alter social conventions and redefine the parameters of gender justice, the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, 2023 stands out as a critical turning point in India’s progress towards female emancipation and equality. This legislation, which was passed to celebrate and elevate the accomplishments made by women to society, is subject to several jurisprudential analyses and has significant constitutional ramifications is a symbol of the country’s dedication to advancing women’s rights and elevating their voices.

The Women Reservation Bill, 2023, also known as Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, was approved by both houses of Parliament as the 106th Constitutional Amendment. Since 1996, there have been numerous obstacles in the way of this long-overdue move in the parliament. Given the underrepresentation of women in Indian politics at the moment, the legislation attempts to improve their status in the political system.

The literal translation of the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, 2023 is the “Women Power Tribute Act,” signifying a committed recognition of the indispensable role that women play in all areas of life. Even with its admirable intentions, this law needs to have its legal structure and subtle constitutional provisions thoroughly examined. Complying with the fundamental rights stated in the Indian Constitution is one of the main issues that are being examined closely. It is assessed using the preamble as a benchmark, which emphasises justice, equality, and fraternity. To guarantee that women’s rights are protected without compromising, legal scholars examine whether the law’s provisions are in harmony with the constitutional mandate.

The purpose of the law is to enhance and elevate the standing of women in Indian politics by granting them a 33% reservation in the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, and State legislative assemblies.

To what extent does the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, 2023 supplement the laws that are now in place to promote women’s empowerment and fight gender discrimination?

Advantages –

  1. Affirmative action: By including women in politics, the Act seeks to empower them. The Act will guarantee that women have fair representation in the country’s political system. According to the Global Gender Index India occupies 127th place out of 146 countries in the 2023 report. Under the Political Empowerment category women represent 15.1% of parliamentarians.
  2. Effective model in the Panchayats: Positive results from the Panchayat reservation system now in place indicate that the national level should follow the same path.
  3. Gender Sensitivity: The idea that concerns about women are more relatable and perceptive to women is held by women. The resolution of issues of women will benefit from their involvement in the legislative process.

Although it is praiseworthy to recognise and commemorate the achievements of women, concerns have been raised about how well the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, 2023’s procedures will be able to turn this intention into real advantages for women from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. Realising the goals outlined in the legislation may present difficulties, therefore legal analysis explores the methods for implementation and enforcement.

Issues –

  1. Diversion from larger electoral reforms and Disincentive for sitting MPs: The reserve might draw focus away from more significant electoral reforms like inner-party democracy and the criminalization of politics. Because incumbent MPs risk losing their opportunity to seek for reelection in their area, the rotation of reserved seats in every election may reduce their motivation to represent their constituents.
  2. Concern about a free and fair election and limiting voter’s choice: There is a concern that male candidates who must run for two-thirds of the seats may suffer from the reservation for women. The allocation of seats in parliament to women limits voters’ options to female candidates, whom they may or may not find appealing.
  3. Women’s unequal status: It is believed that this will continue to exist because women won’t be seen as being elected based on merit.
  4. Bill Enforcement: There are questions regarding how the reservation will be applied during the actual election. The 2024 Lok Sabha elections must occur before the reservation may be put into effect. It cannot be put into effect till India has finished drawing its borders. The Act does not include any provisions for the Legislative Councils or the Rajya Sabha.

Furthermore, the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, 2023, is being discussed from a jurisprudential perspective that goes beyond legal frameworks to include paradigms from culture and society. What social beliefs about the roles and contributions of women are influenced by this legislation? Is it a reflection of the status quo or does it act as a catalyst for more significant social change?

These issues highlight the multidisciplinary character of legal analysis, which takes into account both the sociocultural implications and the text of the law.

Since it was first proposed in 1996, the measure has undergone significant change. Over the previous 27 years, numerous governments have attempted to introduce laws that would grant women a reservation in the political sphere, but they have been unsuccessful in doing so. The execution is still scheduled for some unspecified later time. The opposition has petitioned the Supreme Court in a PIL, requesting that the government expedite the implementation process. Further postponement of the act’s implementation will be a heinous injustice to Indian women. This is only possible if the government takes the proper steps to carry out the long-overdue delimitation and census.

This law, which seeks to honour and empower women, raises important concerns about whether or not it adheres to constitutional values, especially those about gender equality, fundamental rights, and the rule of law. It shows a noble attempt to recognise women’s contributions to society, but it is important to evaluate how well it addresses structural problems and advances real equality. A careful balance between special provisions and the non-discrimination principles inherent in the Constitution is required for the constitutional validity of its provisions, particularly regarding affirmative action and gender-sensitive policies. To ensure that Adhiniyam’s goals are successfully achieved, it is also necessary to have strong implementation and enforcement methods. The demarcation of legislative boundaries and the preservation of constitutional protections will be significantly influenced by judicial interpretation and precedents.

Essentially, the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, 2023 highlights the continuous conversation on gender equality and justice in the judicial system. In addition to facilitating a greater comprehension of its ramifications, jurisprudential consideration of it catalyzes the development of a society that is more inclusive and equal. To guarantee that legislative actions preserve constitutional values and forward the cause of gender empowerment, ongoing interaction and discourse are essential as the legal landscape changes. Such legislative initiatives are significant turning points in India’s journey towards a more just and equitable society, as they direct the country’s progress in the direction of gender justice and women’s empowerment.

REFERENCES –

  1. [Women’s Reservation Bill] Government introduces ‘Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam’ in Lok Sabha, SCC Blog (Sept. 19, 2023), https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2023/09/19/nari-shakti-vandan-bill-introduced-in-lok-sabha-legal-news/. (Last visited April. 11, 2024)
  2. Harsh Mishra, Interrogating the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam Bill 2023 in Empowering Women, (Jan. 3, 2024), https://www.slideshare.net/PallaviDevi1/interrogating-the-nari-shakti-vandan-adhiniyam-bill-2023-in-empowering-women. (Last visited April. 12, 2024)
  3. https://newindiasamachar.pib.gov.in/WriteReadData/Magazine//2023/Oct/M202310161.pdf. (Last visited April. 12, 2024)
  4. RS Debates, (Nov. 17, 2023), https://cms.rajyasabha.nic.in/UploadedFiles/Debates/OfficialDebatesDatewise/Floor/261/2192023/21092023.pdf. (Last visited April. 13, 2024)
  5. https://eparlib.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/2495221/1/JPI_June_2023_Issue.pdf. (Last visited April. 13, 2024)

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