Various stages in the Passage of the Bill
A bill is the draft of a legislative proposal which has to pass through various stages before it becomes an act of Parliament. The legislative process starts with the introduction of a bill in either House of the Parliament, the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha. A bill can be introduced either by a minister or by a private member. In the former case, it is known as a Government Bill and in the latter case, it is called a Private Member’s Bill.
When the House grants leave to introduce the bill, the mover of the bill introduces it by reading its title and objectives. No discussions on the bill take place at this stage. Later, the bill is published in the Gazette of India. If a bill is published in the Gazette of India before its introduction, leave of the House to introduce the bill is not necessary. The introduction of the bill and its publication in the Gazette constitutes the first reading of the bill.
It consists of consideration of the Bill which is in two stages. The First Stage consists of General Discussion on the bill as a whole, when the principle underlying the bill is discussed and may be referred to a select Committee.The Second Stage of the second Reading consists of a clause by clause consideration of the bill as introduced or as reported by the Select/Joint Committee.
At this stage, the debate is confined to arguments either in support or rejection of the bill without referring to the details thereof further than that are absolutely necessary. If the Majority of members present and voting accept the bill, the bill is regarded as passed by the house. In passing an Ordinary Bill, a simple majority of members present and voting is necessary. But in the case of a bill to amend the Constitution, a majority of the total membership of the House and a majority of not less than two thirds of the members present and voting is required in each house of the parliament.
Assent of the President
When a bill passed by both Houses, the Secretariat of the House which is last in possession of the bill obtains the assent of the President. In the case of money Bill or Bill Passed at a joint sitting of the houses, the Lok Sabha Secretariat obtains assent of the President. The bill becomes an act only after the President has given his/her assent to it.
The President may give his/her assent or withhold his assent to a bill. The President may also return the bill with his/her recommendations to the houses for reconsideration and if the houses pass the bill again, with or without amendments, the President cannot withhold his/her assent to the bill.
The President, however, is bound to give his/her assent to a Constitutional Amendment Bill passed by the houses of Parliament by the requisite special majority and where necessary, ratified by the states. Thus, the president enjoys only a suspensive veto.
Consideration of the Bill at a Joint Sitting
If a bill passed by one house is rejected by the other house or the houses have finally disagreed as to the amendments to be made in the bill or more than 6 months have elapsed from the date of the receipt of the bill by the other house without the bill being passed by it, the President may call a joint sitting of the two houses to resolve the deadlock.
If at the joint Sitting of the Houses, the bill is passed by a majority of the total number of members of both the house present and voting, with the amendments, if any, accepted by them, the bill is deemed to have been passed by both the houses. There cannot be a Joint sitting of both houses on a constitutional Amendment Bill. A Joint session of Parliament can be called under Article 108 of the constitution. Article 108 has been used to push through legislation on only three occasions which are follows.
1. In May, 1961 to pass the Dowry Prohibition Bill.
2. In May, 1978 to pass the Banking service Commission (Repeal) Bill.
3. In March, 2002 to pass the Controversial prevention of Terrorism Act with 425 votes in favor of the legislation, 296 against and 60 abstentions.