How a bill becomes Act in the parliament

How a bill is passed in Parliament?

Bills are the introduction to form a new act. They are the acts but in the draft format. Before a bill becomes an act, it has to pass through a number o stages. As the topic says that how a bill is passed in the parliament it indicates that we will talk about the bills passed by the union government. The union government can make bills on the subject mentioned in union list and concurrent list but with the collaboration with the state governments. The parliament can also form bills regarding to the amendment of constitution. Let us briefly see how a bill is passed in the parliament.

A bill is a legislative draft of the Act of the parliament. A bill has to pass through numerous stages before it becomes an act. There are a total of three stages before a bill is passed through one house of the parliament.

First Reading

The process of legislation begins with the introduction of a bill in either house of the parliament i.e. The Lok Sabha or The Rajya Sabha. The bill can either be introduced to the parliament by a minister or a private member on the house where the bill is first introduced. The former is known as Government bill and the latter is called the Private member bill. For the introduction of the bill to a house first leave is asked. If the leave is granted, then the bill is introduced in the house and is termed as first reading of the bill. If the motion for leave of a bill is opposed then the speaker of the house on his discretion asks a explanatory statement from the member who opposed the motion and the member in charge who moved the motion. But this occurs in the case of ordinary bill. Where the opposition of the bill is question on the grounds that the bill initiates the legislation outside the legislative competence of the house, the speaker permits full discussion. The question is put forward to the house for voting. But for the introduction of a money bill, it is put forward to the voting of the lower house of the parliament. This is because a money bill can only be introduced in the lower house of the parliament as per article 109, 110 and 117 of the Constitution of India.

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Publication in the Official Gazette

After the bill is introduced to any of the houses of the parliament (except money bill where it can be only be introduced in the lower house) it is published in the Gazette of India. But even before a bill is introduced in the house it may be published but only by the permission of the speaker of the respective house.

Reference of bill to the standing committee

After the bill is introduced in the respective house, the presiding officer of the house (speaker of Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha) directs the standing committee to examine the bill and the clauses ad to prepare a report based on their examinations. The report is being submitted to the house where it is originated and the report is considered to be an advice to the members of that house.

Second Reading

The second reading consists of the consideration of the bill in two stages: –

  1. First stage- In this stage the bill is considered thoroughly and every clause in it is examined whether it is in accordance to the principles why the bill is introduced. Then the power lies to the house whether to appoint a select committee or joint committee of both the house to put forward for the purpose of gaining opinion or otherwise the bill is straightaway considered.
  2. Second Stage- Here the bill is considered clause-by-clause and in accordance to the report submitted by select committee or joint committee. Discussion takes place in order to amend the clauses or to delete or add any clauses of the particular bill. The amendments of the bill are put forward by voting in the house. The amendments are taken into consideration if the voting is passed by the majority of the house.
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Third Reading

This is the last stage of the reading of the clauses of the bill. At this stage the arguments lie to either support or to reject the bills. Only formal, verbal and consequential amendments are allowed in this stage. Then the bill is queued for passing in the house.

Passing of a bill

If at the time of meeting of the house the strength of the house in less than one tenth of the total strength of the house the chairman if the house may adjourn the house or postpone the meeting until and unless the quorum is met.  In case of the ordinary bills and money bills the bill is considered passed if majority of the members present at that time votes on the bill. But in the case of amendment of constitution bill, there must be two thirds of the total member present and voted in favor of the bill with more than half of the total member of the house present in all at the time of voting, as mentioned in article 368 of the constitution.

Bill in the other house

After the bill is passed in one of the houses, it is sent to the other house for the approval. All the processes remain for that house too except the introduction stage. If the bill passed by one of the houses is amended by the other houses, then the bill is sent back to the house for re-consideration and approval. If the house does not agree to the bill, then it is considered that both the houses have disagreed. The other house may keep money bill up to six weeks and ordinary bill up to three months for approval. Passing that time if the bill s not approved then the bill is considered to be passed an goes to the president for his approval.

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Joint session of both the houses

In case of deadlock between both the houses or where time of six months have been elapsed in the other house then there is a joint sitting of both the houses. The joint sitting is presided by the Speaker of Lok Sabha and the deadlock is resolved by simple majority of the total members present in the joint sitting. Until today only there are three bills which are passed in joint sitting- the Dowry Prohibition act (1961), the Banking Service Commission Repeal bill (1978) and Prevention of Terrorist Activities act (2002).

Approval of The President of India

When a bill is passed in both the houses of the parliament, it goes for the approval of the president as per article 111 of the constitution. The president can either give his approval on the bill or if he finds that the bill can further be modified then he sends back the bill to the houses for re-consideration. But if the same bill comes back to the president without been changed then the president has to give his approval on it. This only happens in ordinary bill but not in the case of money bill. In money bill the president has to give consent on the bill at first and can’t send it back for reconsideration.

Bill becoming an Act

After the bill passes all the stages and also gets an approval from the president then it becomes an Act from that day or the date mentioned when the Act is to be imposed.

Thus, these are the stages that a bill has to go through before the bill becomes an Act. All the stages are necessary as because an Act is a major law of the country. The bill becomes something very important to be an act. Thus, this is the process how a bill becomes an Act in the parliament.

Author: Sattwik Biswas,
2nd Year BBA LLB under IFIM Law School, Bangalore

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