Process of Law Making

25-03-2023

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Prelims: Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System

Mains: Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges and Issues Arising out of these.

 

What is the law-making function of the Parliament?

  • The Parliament of India, comprising the President, the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the Lok Sabha (House of the People), is the supreme legislative body of the country. One of the main functions of the Parliament is to make laws for the country's governance.
  • The law-making process in the Parliament begins with the introduction of a bill and ends with the assent of the President. The Parliament also has the power to amend or repeal any existing law, as well as to delegate its law-making powers to other bodies such as state legislatures or local authorities.

 

What are the different types of bills that can be introduced in parliament?

Several bills can be introduced in the Indian Parliament:

  • Ordinary bills: These are bills that relate to any matter other than financial or constitutional matters. 
    • They can be introduced in the Rajya Sabha or the Lok Sabha, and they follow a prescribed process to become law. (Articles: 107, 108, and 111)
  • Financial bills: These are bills that relate to the imposition, abolition, alteration, or regulation of taxes, the borrowing of money, or the appropriation of money from the Consolidated Fund of India. 
    • They can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha, and they follow a prescribed process to become law. (Article: 117)
  • Constitutional amendment bills: These are bills that seek to alter the provisions of the Constitution of India
    • They must be passed by a special majority in both houses of the Parliament and the legislatures of at least half of the states. (Article: 368)
  • Money bills: These are bills that contain only provisions dealing with all or any of the matters specified in the definition of a financial bill. 
    • They can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha and must be passed by it. 
    • The Rajya Sabha can only make recommendations on a money bill, and the Lok Sabha is not bound to accept any of these recommendations. (Articles: 109 and 110).

Private members' bills

Government bills

  • These are bills introduced by members of Parliament who are not ministers. 
  • These are bills introduced by ministers on behalf of the government.
  • They can be introduced in either the Rajya Sabha or the Lok Sabha.
  • They can be introduced in either the Rajya Sabha or the Lok Sabha.
  • They have a lower chance of being passed than government bills.
  • They have a higher chance of being passed than private members' bills.

Table: Classification of Bills (based on the individual who introduces)

 

What are the stages that an ordinary Bill has to pass through in Parliament to become a law?

Here is a summary of the stages that an ordinary bill has to pass through in the Indian Parliament to become law:

 

Stages

Description

Introduction

A bill is introduced in either the Rajya Sabha or the Lok Sabha.

Reference to a standing/select committee

The bill is referred to a standing committee or a select committee for detailed examination and report.

Consideration and report by the committee

The committee considers the bill and submits a report to the house.

Discussion and voting in the house

The bill is placed before the house for discussion and voting. If passed, it is sent to the other house.

Consideration and voting in the other house

The bill is considered and voted upon in the other house. If 

passed, it is sent back to the original house.

Resolution of differences

If there are differences between the two houses, a joint committee is constituted to resolve the differences.

Assent of the President

If the bill is passed by both houses, it is sent to the President for his/her assent. If given, the bill becomes an Act of Parliament.

Table: Stages of a bill in the Parliament

 

What is joint sitting, and what are the conditions that call for joint sitting?

A joint sitting of Parliament in India is a session of both houses of Parliament (the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha) sitting together as a single body. 

As per Article 108 of the Constitution, a Joint session of Parliament can be summoned in the following situation:

  • When a bill has been passed by one house of Parliament (either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha) but has been rejected or not returned by the other house within a specified time period. In this case, a joint sitting may be called to resolve the deadlock and allow the bill to be passed.
  • When a bill has been passed by both houses of Parliament, but the President has returned it to Parliament for reconsideration. In this case, a joint sitting may be called to reconsider the bill and pass it again, if necessary.

Some of the provisions in joint sitting are:

  • Joint sittings are chaired by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
  • The rules of procedure for a joint sitting are the same as those for the Lok Sabha.
  • Quorum for joint sitting is one-tenth of the total members of both houses.
  • Joint sittings are typically called only as a last resort when other methods of resolving differences between the two houses of Parliament have failed. 
  • They are meant to ensure that important legislation can be passed and that the will of the majority is respected.

 

Bills so far passed in joint sitting

Since 1950, the provision regarding the joint sitting of the two Houses has been invoked only thrice. The bills passed at joint sittings are

 

Previous Year Questions

Mains

 

Q) The Indian Constitution has provisions for holding a joint session of the two houses of the Parliament. Enumerate the occasions when this would normally happen and also the occasions when it cannot, with reasons thereof. (2017)

 

Prelims

 

Q) With reference to the Parliament of India, consider the following statements: (2017)

  1. A private member’s bill is a bill presented by a Member of Parliament who is not elected but only nominated by the President of India.
  2. Recently, a private member’s bill has been passed in the Parliament of India for the first time in its history

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2 

 

Q) Which of the following statements is/are correct? (2016)

  1. A Bill pending in the Lok Sabha lapses on its prorogation.
  2. A Bill pending in the Rajya Sabha, which has not been passed by the Lok Sabha, shall not lapse on dissolution of the Lok Sabha.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Q) When a bill is referred to a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament, it has to be passed by (2015)

(a) a simple majority of members present and voting

(b) three-fourths majority of members present and voting

(c) two-thirds majority of the Houses

(d) absolute majority of the Houses

 

 

Q) A deadlock between the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha calls for a joint sitting of the Parliament during the passage of (2012)

  1. Ordinary Legislation
  2. Money Bill
  3. Constitution Amendment Bill

Select the correct answer using codes the given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

Q) What are the circumstances under which a Joint Sitting of the Parliament cannot be summoned?

There are two circumstances when a joint sitting cannot be summoned:

  • Money Bill: Rajya Sabha can give suggestions to Lok Sabha with regard to money bills, which it is not required to accept. 
  • Constitution Amendment Bill: In case of disagreement between both houses, there is no provision to summon a joint session of parliament.

 

Q) How is a Money Bill different from a financial bill?

While all Money Bills are Financial Bills, all Financial Bills are not Money Bills. For example, the Finance Bill, which only contains provisions related to tax proposals, would be a Money Bill.  However, a Bill that contains some provisions related to taxation or expenditure but also covers other matters would be considered a Financial Bill.