Law Making Procedure in Indian Parliament
Lawmaking is the main function of the Parliament. It is true that law is made joint by the legislature and executive, but the role of legislature in lawmaking deserves s mention.
Lawmaking involves several steps. First, a bill is introduced in the Parliament. S the bill is passed by the Parliament. Third, the bill, after getting passed by the Parli is sent to the President for his assent. When the bill is adopted in the Parliament, it bee an Act. When an Act gets the assent of the Parliament, it becomes the law of the land.
A Bill is a technical name given to the draft of the proposal which is moved in Parliament. Non-Money Bills can be introduced either in the Lok Sabha or in the Sabha. But the Money Bills can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha. A Money Bill, before it is introduced in the Lower House, has to receive the approval of the President.
Types of Bills
A Bill is the draft of a legislative proposal. It has to pass through various stages before it becomes an Act of Parliament. There are various types of bills in India. Bills can be roughly classified into following types:
Under the parliamentary form of government adopted by the constitution of India, the function of making law belongs to the legislature (art 107 -108). The law making procedure is a very important part of the democratic system. Indeed, it has to insure that the law passed does not endanger the democratic government or the founding principles of the regime. The agreement of the population, through their elected representatives, should be also insured. A complicated and long procedure is therefore adopted by the Constitution of India. This procedure differs depending on the nature of the bill. There are indeed four specific types of bills, which have each their own procedure of adoption: the ordinary bills, the money bills, the financial bills and finally the constitutional amendment bills. After studying the procedure to pass an ordinary bill, we will try to analyze how it differs from the procedures of other bills.
A bill other than Money Bill & Financial Bill
May originate in either house of Parliament
When passed by both the houses and signed by the President, it becomes a law
In passing a Bill, each House follows a procedure. The stages in passing the Bill are
called Readings i.e. First Reading, Second Reading and Third 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. 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.
During this stage, the bill receives not only the general but also the detailed scrutiny and assumes its final shape. 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.
I. At this stage, the House can take any one of the following four actions:
II. It may take the bill into consideration immediately or on some other fixed date;
III. It may refer the bill to a select committee of the House;
IV. It may refer the bill to a joint committee of the two Houses; and
V. It may circulate the bill to elicit public opinion.
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.
The House’s after receiving the bill from the select committee, considers the provisions of the bill clause by clause.
At this stage, the debate is confined to the acceptance or rejection of the bill as a whole and no amendments are allowed, as the general principles underlying the bill have already been scrutinized during the stage of second reading. If the majority of members present and voting accept the bill, the bill is regarded as passed by the House.
Bill in the Second House
In the second House also, the bill passes through all the three stages, that is, first reading, second reading and third reading. There are four alternative before this House:
a) It may pass the bill as sent by the first house.
b) It may pass the bill with amendments and return it to the first House for reconsideration.
c) It may not take any action and thus keep the bill pending.
d) It may not take any action and thus 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 and the same is sent to the president for his 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 the two Houses. If the majority of members present and voting in the joint sitting approves the bill, the bill is deemed to have been passed by both the Houses.
Assent of the President
a) He may give his assent to the bill.
b) He may return the bill for reconsideration of the Houses.
Steps in legislating an act by Parliament on money bill
What is a Money Bill?
Under article 110(1) of the Constitution, a Bill is deemed to be a Money Bill if it contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters, namely:
(a) the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax;
(b) the regulation of the borrowing of money or the giving of any guarantee by the Government of India, or the amendment of the law with respect to any financial obligations undertaken or to be undertaken by the Government of India;
(c) the custody of the Consolidated Fund or the Contingency Fund of India, the payment of moneys into or the withdrawal of moneys from any such fund;
(d) the appropriation of moneys out of the Consolidated Fund of India;
(e) the declaring of any expenditure to be expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India or the increasing of the amount of any such expenditure;
(f) the receipt of money on account of the Consolidated Fund of India or the public account of India or the custody or issue of such money or the audit of the accounts of the Union or of a State; or
(g) any matter incidental to any of the matters specified in sub-clauses (a) to (f).
2. A Bill is not deemed to be Money Bill by reason only that it provides for the imposition of fines or other pecuniary penalties, or for the demand or payment of fees for licences or fees for services rendered, or by reason that it provides for the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax by any local authority or body for local purposes.
3. The term “incidental” in article 110(1)(g) of the Constitution has wide implications. It is comprehensive enough to include not merely the rates, area and field of tax, but also complete machinery for assessment, appeals, revisions, etc. It is in this light that Finance Bills which, in addition to rates of taxation, contain provisions regarding machinery for collection, etc. are certified as Money Bills. Similarly, a Bill seeking to amend or consolidate the law relating to Income-tax is treated as a Money Bill. Since such Bills substantially aim at imposition, abolition, etc. of any tax, the presence of other incidental provisions do not take them out of the category of Money Bills. Thus there may be only one section in a Money Bill imposing a tax and there may be several other sections which may deal with the scope, method, manner, etc. of its imposition.
Certification of Money Bills
4. A Money Bill can be introduced in Lok Sabha only. If any question arises whether a Bill is a Money Bill or not, the decision of Speaker thereon is final. The Speaker is under no obligation to consult any one in coming to a decision or in giving his certificate that a Bill is a Money Bill. The certificate of the Speaker to the effect that a Bill is a Money Bill, is to be endorsed and signed by him when it is transmitted to Rajya Sabha and also when it is presented to the President for his assent.
5. The Speaker’s certificate on a Money Bill once given is final and cannot be challenged.
6. A Money Bill cannot be referred to a Joint Committee of the Houses.
Money Bill as distinguished from Financial Bill
7. Whereas a Money Bill deals solely with matters specified in article 110(1) (a) to (g) of the Constitution, a Financial Bill does not exclusively deal with all or any of the matters specified in the said article that is to say it contains some other provisions also.
8. Financial Bills can be divided into two categories. In the first category are Bills which inter-alia contain provisions attracting article 110(1) (a) to (f) of the Constitution. They are categorised as Financial Bills under article 117(1) of the Constitution. Like Money Bills, they can be introduced only in Lok Sabha on the recommendation of the President. However, other restrictions in regard to Money Bills do not apply to this category of Bills. Financial Bill under article 117(1) of the Constitution can be referred to a Joint Committee of the Houses.
9. In the second category are those Bills which inter-alia contain provisions which would on enactment involve expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India. Such Bills are categorised as Financial Bills under article 117 (3) of the Constitution. Such Bills can be introduced in either House of Parliament. However, recommendation of the President is essential for consideration of these Bills by either House and unless such recommendation is received, neither House can pass the Bill.
Constitution Amendment Bills—not treated as Money Bill
10. A Constitution Amendment Bill is not treated as a Money Bill even if all its provisions attract article 110(1) for the reason that such amendments are governed by article 368 which over-rides the provisions regarding Money Bills.
Some Categories of Money Bills
11. Finance Bill : Finance Bill is a secret bill introduced in Lok Sabha every year immediately after the presentation of the General Budget to give effect to the financial proposals of the Government of India for the following financial year. Finance Bills are treated as Money Bills as they substantially deal with amendments to various tax laws.
12. Appropriation Bill : An Appropriation Bill is introduced in Lok Sabha immediately after adoption of the relevant demands for grants. Such Bills are categorised as Money Bills as they seek to authorise appropriation from the Consolidated Fund of India, of all moneys required to meet the grants made by the House and the expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.
Assent to Money Bills
Lok Sabha Secretariat is responsible for obtaining assent of all Money Bills after they have been passed or are deemed to have been passed by the Houses of Parliament.
The President may either give or withhold his assent to a Money Bill. Under the Constitution, a Money Bill cannot be returned to the House by the President for reconsideration.
Money Bills are governed by articles 108, 109, 110, 111 and 117 of the Constitution and Rules 72, 96, 103 to 108 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha.
A legislative act intended to raise public revenues.
Financial Bills can be further classified as Financial Bills Categories A and B. Category A Bills contain provisions dealing with any of the matters specified in sub-clauses (a) to (f) of clause (1) of article 110 and other matters and Category B Bills involve expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India.
Financial Bill Category A can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha on the recommendation of the President. However once it has been passed by the Lok Sabha, it is like an ordinary Bill and there is no restriction on the powers of the Rajya Sabha on such Bills.
Financial Bill Category B and Ordinary Bills can be introduced in either House of Parliament.
Bills seeking to amend the Constitution are of three types:—
(1) Bills that are passed by Parliament by simple majority;
(2) Bills that have to be passed by Parliament by the special majority prescribed in article 368(2) of the Constitution; and
(3) Bills that have to be passed by Parliament by the special majority as aforesaid and also to be ratified by not less than one-half of the State Legislatures.
Bills that are not deemed as Constitution Amendment Bills
2. Bills for amendment of the following provisions of the Constitution are passed by both Houses of Parliament by a simple majority of members present and voting :
(a) admission or establishment of new States, formation of new States, and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States (articles 2, 3 and 4);
(b) creation or abolition of Legislative Councils in the States (article 169);
(c) administration and control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes (para 7 of the Fifth Schedule); and
(d) administration of Tribal Areas in the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram (para 21 of the Sixth Schedule).
3. These Bills are not deemed as Constitution Amendment Bills under article 368 of the Constitution and, therefore, these are not called by the title ‘Constitution Amendment Bills’.
4. Though normal legislative procedure holds good in respect of these Bills, Bills providing for matters in sub paras (a) and (b) above, in addition, require respectively the recommendation of the President for introduction and the prior adoption of necessary resolution by the State Legislative Assembly concerned.
5. Such Bills are presented to the President for his assent under article 111 of the Constitution.
Constitution Amendment Bills
6. Bills seeking to amend all other provisions of the Constitution including those enumerated in the proviso to article 368(2) are called by the title ‘Constitution Amendment Bills’. These Bills can be introduced in either House of Parliament. If sponsored by a Private Member, the Bill has to be examined in the first instance and recommended for introduction by the Committee on Private Members’ Bills and Resolutions before it is included for introduction in the List of Business. Motions for introduction of the Bills are decided by simple majority.
7. Constitution Amendment Bills are not treated as Money Bills or Financial Bills. Accordingly, President’s recommendation under articles 117 and 274 of the Constitution in regard to these Bills is not asked for. However, if the recommendation is communicated by the Minister, it is published in the Bill or in the Bulletin, as the case may be, for information of members.
8. Constitution Amendment Bills have to be passed in each House of Parliament by a special majority ie. by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of the House “present and voting”. The expression “total membership” means the total number of members comprising the House irrespective of whether there are vacancies or absentees on any account. The expression “present and voting”, means members who vote for “ayes” or for “noes”. Members who are present in the House and vote “abstention” either through the electronic vote recorder or on a voting slip or in any other manner, are not treated as “present and voting.”
Various types of Majority for passing the bill
Ratification by the State Legislatures
9. A Constitution Amendment Bill which seeks to make any change in articles relating to:—
the election of the President, or
the extent of the executive power of the Union and the States, or
the Supreme Court and the High Courts, or
distribution of legislative powers between the Union and States, or representation of States in Parliament, or
the very procedure for amendment as laid down in article 368 of the Constitution,
after it is passed by the Houses of Parliament by the special majority, has also to be ratified by Legislatures of not less than one-half of the States by resolutions to that effect passed by them before the Bill making provision for such an amendment is presented to the President for assent.
10 In case of any disagreement between the two Houses of Parliament on a Constitution Amendment Bill, there cannot be a joint sitting of the Houses of Parliament on the Bill as article 368 of the Constitution requires each House to pass the Bill by the prescribed special majority.
Assent to Constitution Amendment Bills
11. Constitution Amendment Bills passed by Parliament by the prescribed special majority and, where necessary, ratified by the requisite number of State Legislatures are presented to the President under article 368 of the Constitution under which the President is bound to give his assent to such Bills.
Constitution Amendment Bills are governed by article 368 of the Constitution and Rules 155—159 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha.
Assent to the billsArticle 111 deals with assent of bills by President. It states that:
Article 111. When a Bill has been passed by the Houses of Parliament, it shall be presented to the President, and the President shall declare either that he assents to the Bill, or that he withholds assent therefrom Provided that the President may, as soon as possible after the presentation to him of a Bill for assent, return the Bill if it is not a Money Bill to the Houses with a message requesting that they will reconsider the Bill or any specified provisions thereof and, in particular, will consider the desirability of introducing any such amendments as he may recommend in his message, and when a Bill is so returned, the Houses shall reconsider the Bill accordingly, and if the Bill is passed again by the Houses with or without amendment and presented to the President for assent, the President shall not withhold assent therefrom
- President can reject a money bill whereas he cannot send it for reconsideration
- President cannot withhold his assent in case of constitutional amendment bills.
- President cannot withhold his assent if the bill is passed again after he sends it for reconsideration