Picture Courtesy: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/parliament-live-updates-5265508/
This article was written by Maahi Mayuri, a student of New Law College, BharatiVidyapeeth Deemed University, Pune.
Both the Houses of Parliament undergo the same legislative process. Every bill has to pass through the same stages in each House. When a bill is duly enacted, it becomes legislation.
Two kinds of Bills which are ordinary and money bills are introduced in the Parliament (also known as government bills and private members’ bills respectively). Though both are governed by the same general procedure and pass through the same stages in the House, they differ in various respects
The bills introduced in the Parliament can also be classified into four categories:
- Ordinary hills, which are concerned with any matter other than financial subjects.
- Money hills, which are concerned with the financial matters like taxation, public expenditure, etc.
- Financial hills, which are also concerned with financial matters (but are different from money bills). ‘
- Constitution amendment bills, which are concerned with the amendment of the provisions of the Constitution.
The Constitution has laid down separate procedures for the enactment of all the four types of bills. The procedures with regard to ordinary bills, money bills and financial bills are explained here
5 stages are required to be passed by a bill before it becomes a legislation:
- First Reading
An ordinary bill can be introduced in either House of Parliament.
Such a bill can be introduced either by a minister or by any other member. The member who wants to introduce the bill has to ask for the leave of the House. When the House grant leave to introduce the bill, the mover of the bill introduces it by reading its title and objectives. No discussion on the bill takes place at this stage. Later, the bill is published in the Gazette of India. If a bill is published in the Gazette before its introduction, leave of the House to introduce the bill is not necessary. The introduction of the bill and its publication in thr Gazette constitute the first reading of the bill.
- Second Reading
During this stage, the bill receives not only the general but also the detailed scrutiny and assumes its final shape. Hence, it forms the most important stage in the enactment of a bill. In fact, this stage involves three more sub-stages, namely, stage of general discussion, committee stage and consideration stage.
- Stage of General Discussion:
The printed copies of the bill are distributed to all the members. Details are not discussed, but the principles and provisions are.
At this stage, the House can take any one of the following four actions:
(i) It may take the bill into consideration immediately or on some other fixed date;
(ii) It may refer the bill to a select committee of the House;
(iii) It may refer the bill to a joint committee of the two Houses; and
(iv) It may circulate the bill to elicit public opinion.
A Select Committee consists of members of the House where the bill has originated and a joint committee consists of members of both the Houses of Parliament.
The usual practice is to refer the bill to a select committee of the ‘House. This committee examines the bill thoroughly and in detail, clause by clause. It can also amend its provisions, but without altering the principles underlying it. After completing the scrutiny and discussion, the committee reports the bill back to the House.
The House, after receiving the bill from the select committee, considers the provisions of the bill clause by clause. Each clause is discussed and vote upon separately. The members can also move amendments and if accepted, they become part of the bill. ‘
- Third Reading
At this stage, the debate is confined to the acceptance or rejection: of the bill as a whole and no amendments areallowed, as the general principles underlying the bill have already been scrutinised during the stage of second reading. If themajority of the members present and voting accept the bill, the bill is regarded as passed by the House. Thereafter, the bill is authenticatedbythe presiding officer of the House and transmitted to the second House for consideration and approval. A bill is deemed to have been passed by the Parliament only when both the houses have agreed to it,either with or without amendments.
- Bill in the Second House
In the second House also, the bill passes through till the three stages, that is, first reading, second reading and third reading. There are four alternatives before this House:
(a) it may pass the bill as sent by the first house (ie, without amendments);
(b) it may pass the bill with amendments and may return/it to the first House for reconsideration;
(c) it may reject the bill altogether, and
(d) it may not take any action and tints keep the bill pending.
If the second House passes the bill without any amendments or the first House accepts the amendments suggested by the second House, the bill is deemed to have been passed by both the Houses. Then, it is sent for presidential assent.On the other hand, if the first House rejects the amendments suggested by the second House or the second House rejects the bill altogether or the second House does not take any action for six months; a deadlock is deemed to have taken place. To resolve such a deadlock, the president can summon a joint sitting of the two Houses. If the bill is approved by majority of members present and (voting in the joint sitting), the bill becomes a statute.
- Assent of the President
Every bill after being passed by both Houses of Parliament either singly or at a joint sitting, is presented to the president for his assent. There are three alternatives before the president:
(a) he may give his assent to the bill; or
(b) be may withhold his assent to the bill; or
( c) he may return the bill for reconsideration of the houses
Upon assent, the bill becomes an act. If the President withholds his assent to the bill, it ends and does not become an act.If the President returns the bill for reconsideration and if it is passed by both the Houses again with or without amendments and presented to the President for his assent, it is mandatory for him to give his assent.. Thus, the President enjoys only a suspensive veto.
Thus, detailed and scrutinised provisions are contained by the Indian Constitution vesting legislative powers on both the houses of the Parliament.