ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Delimitation and Reservation

The Bihar Caste-based Survey and the constitutional amendment guaranteeing reservation for women in Parliament bring the question of delimitation to the fore once again. In the absence of immediate delimitation, these two events show that the under-represented communities and sections of society will only continue to remain unrepresented.

Reservation for women in the legislatures became a reality with the passage of the Constitution (106th Amendment) Act, 2023 which mandates that one-third of the seats in the union and state legislatures shall be reserved for women across the country. Unlike previous versions of the bill, which provided for “vertical reservation” for women as a separate category, the 106th amendment grants “horizontal reservation” requiring one-third of the seats already reserved for Scheduled Castes (Scs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) to be reserved for women as well.

However, this reservation will take effect after the next delimitation exercise. A delimitation exercise can only be carried out after the first census undertaken post 2026, and if the previous delimitation exercise is any indicator, it will be a multi-year procedure (Verma 2006). With uncertainty over when the next census will take place (Singh 2023), there is no clear date by which the Constitution (106th Amendment) Act will actually effect change in the representation of women. Women’s reservations in legislatures will therefore be contingent on two events—the first census after 2026 and a delimitation exercise following that census (Naqvi 2023).

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Updated On : 28th Oct, 2023
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