How a bill is passed in Indian Parliament

Introduction

Bill, in a nutshell, is the draft of law or legislation that is yet to be passed or approved by the authority. When not passed or approved, Bills hold no legal value. The legislature, meanwhile, is the organ of the government that deals with the making of law and order of the State – these includes making of the said law in a form of a Bill, amending already existed law from an Act, changing or removing a law in accordance with the changing needs of the society. Meanwhile, the other two organs, executive and judiciary, deal with the implementation and the interpretation of these laws, respectively.

Bills can only be introduced in the Legislature and can only be approved by the house(s) in it before it is implemented or interpreted by the other organs of the government. However, since there is more than one type of Bill, the procedure for their approval or passing differs greatly in accordance with the type of Bill and how much importance it holds on the whole law and order of the nation.

On the basis of these types, we will be exploring the procedure of passing each Bill in the Union Legislature in this article.

Ordinary Bill

Any kind of Bill that is not Money, Financial or Constitutional Bill falls under this category. The majority of the Bills passed by the Legislature are of this nature. The procedure for passing of this kind of Bills are:

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  • This kind of Bill can be introduced in any house – Rajya Sabha or the Lok Sabha;
  • After the introduction in the house, it is to be passed by a simple majority in the said house and then sent to the other – where it shall be passed by a simple majority as well;
  • After passing from both the houses, the Bill is now sent to the president for their signature;
  • President now can do either of the two things – give their approval by signing the Bill; thus, making it an Act or returning the Bill to the Houses with the recommendation of changes in the said Bill;
  • In rare cases, the president also has the power to hold the Bill under their ‘veto’ power, delaying the approval of the Bill till the next session of the Houses.

Financial Bill

These are the Bills that contain the legal provisions regarding matters in Article 110 of the Constitution of India along with some non-monetary matters. The procedure for passing of this kind of Bills are:

  • Unlike Ordinary Bills, these can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha in the beginning;
  • After the introduction in the Lok Sabha, it is to be passed by a simple majority and then sent to the Rajya Sabha – where it shall be passed by a simple majority as well;
  • After passing from both the houses, the Bill is now sent to the president for their signature;
  • President now can either give their approval by signing the Bill; thus, making it an Act or returning the Bill to the Lok Sabha with the recommendation of changes in the said Bill;
  • Just like Ordinary Bills, the president can practice his veto power here to withhold the Bill and delay its approval.
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Money Bill

These are the Bills that contain the legal provisions regarding matters in Article 110 of the Constitution of India only. No other non-monetary matters are covered by these kinds of Bill. The procedure for passing of this Bill is:

  • It can only be introduced first in the Lok Sabha along with the prior recommendation of the president;
  • After the introduction in the Lok Sabha, it is to be passed by a simple majority and then sent to the Rajya Sabha;
  • Rajya Sabha can either pass it with a simple majority and then forward it to the President for their approval, or send it back to Lok Sabha with recommendations which Lok Sabha may or may not accept;
  • Upon its return to Rajya Sabha for its approval, the Upper House cannot withhold it more than 14 days or 2 weeks;
  • After passing from both the houses, the Bill is now sent to the president for their signature;
  • Unlike Money or Ordinary Bills, President does not have the power t send this back for amendment or withhold it – they have to pass it.

Constitutional Amendment Bill

These are the Bills that contain the legal provisions dealing with the amendment of the Constitution of the State in accordance with Article 368 of the Constitution of India. Based on whether the Bill affects the federal structure of the nation, it has two kinds of procedures given as below:

Procedure for when the Bill does not affect the federal structure

  • This kind of Bill can be introduced in any house – Rajya Sabha or the Lok Sabha;
  • After the introduction in the house, it has to be passed by a special majority in the said house – that is, two-third of the house should vote in its approval before its passing to the other house, where it shall be passed by a similar special majority of two-thirds of the house;
  • After passing from both the houses, the Bill is now sent to the president for their assent.
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Procedure for when the Bill affects the federal structure

  • This kind of Bill can be introduced in any house – Rajya Sabha or the Lok Sabha;
  • After the introduction in the house, it has to be passed by a special majority in the said house – that is, two-third of the house should vote in its approval before its passing to the other house;
  • It has to be passed by a similar special majority of two-thirds of the other house as well;
  • In addition to this, since this Bill also affects the federal nature of the nation, thus, affecting the states as well, the additional passing by half of the State legislatures is also needed;
  • After passing from both the houses and the state legislature, the Bill is now sent to the president for their assent.

References

  • J.N. Pandey, ‘Constitutional law of India’, Allahabad: Central Law Agency (56th ed. 2019).

Author: Debapriya Biswas,
Amity Law School, Noida (2nd year)

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