Legislative procedures of parliament

LEGISLATIVE PROCEDURES OF PARLIAMENT

Introduction :

Article 107 of the Indian constitution deals with the legislative procedures of the parliament. As per that, the bills should be first introduced by one of the either house i.e. Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. Then, the Bill is sent to the other house for any changes or amendments and finally it is sent to the president for his assent and then it becomes as the Act.

Joint sitting:

Article 108 of the constitution deals with the joint sitting of both the houses in certain cases of the parliament. The speaker only presides the joint sitting and in his absence, deputy speaker or chairman of the rajya sabha or a person chosen by the MPs may preside in the same manner. The president can summon lok sabha and rajya sabha for a joint sitting in case of disagreement between two houses in the following ways:

If after a Bill has been passed by one house and transmitted to other house-

  • The Bill is rejected by the other house;
  • The house have finally disagreed about the amendments to be made in the Bill; or
  • More than six months have elapsed from the date of the reception of the Bill by the other house without the bill being passed by it.

Money Bill:

Article 109 and 110 of the Indian constitution deals with provisions related to the Money Bill. As per that, Article 110 states what is money bill and Article 109 deals with the special procedures related to the Money Bill.

What is Money Bill?

According to Article 110, A Bill is said to be Money Bill if it contains the following matters such as,

  • The imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax.
  • The regulation of the borrowing of money by the government.
  • The custody of or the withdrawal of the money from the consolidated funds of India.
  • The appropriation of moneys out of the consolidated funds of India.
  • The declaring of any expenditure to be expenditure charged on the consolidated fund of India.
  • 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.

Special procedures for passing Money Bills (Article-109):

In the case of Money Bill, the Rajya Sabha cannot introduce it and then it can be introduced only by the Lok sabha i.e. house of people.

  • First, the Money Bill is introduced in the lok sabha and then it is passed to the upper house i.e. rajya sabha for any changes or amendments.
  • The rajya sabha must return the Bill within the period of fourteen days but if it fails to return, it shall be deemed to have been by passed by both houses in the form in which it was passed by the Lok Sabha.
  • Here, the lok sabha can either accept or reject the recommendations made by the upper house. In case if it accepts the recommendations of the upper house, the Money Bill is deemed to have been passed by both houses with the amendment recommended by the rajya sabha.
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Assent to Bills:

According to Article 111 of the Indian constitution, when the Bill is passed by the parliament and submitted to the president’s office for his consent, he can either accept or with hold the Bill. The Bill becomes an Act or law only when it is accepted and signed by the president. If the same Bill which was with hold by the president has been sent to him again with out any changes being made, he is supposed to give assent to the Bill.

But in the case of Money Bill the prior recommendations of the president is required in order to avoid the rejection of it.

Annual Financial Statement:

As per article 112 of the constitution, the Annual financial statement or Budget is that at the beginning of every financial year, on behalf of the president of India, a statement of the estimated receipts and expenditure of the government of India for that year is laid before both the Houses of parliament. It also states the ways and means of meeting the estimated expenditure.

The annual financial statement or the budget contains-

  • Estimates of expenditure.
  • Ways and means to raise the revenue.
  • An analysis of the actual receipts and expenditures of the closing year and the causes of any surplus or deficit in relation to such year.
  • An explanation of the economic policy and spending programme of the government in the coming year and prospects of revenue

As per article 113 of the constitution-

  • Estimates relating to expenditure charged upon the consolidated fund of India are not put to vote of parliament but each house can discuss any of these estimates.
  • Estimates of other expenditure are submitted in the form of demands for grants to the lok sabha and it has the power to assent, or to refuse to assent to any demand.
  • The demand for grant cannot be made except on the recommendation of the president.
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Appropriation Bills (Article-114):

Appropriation Bill gives power to the government to withdraw funds from the consolidated fund of India for meeting the expenditure during the financial year.

As per article 114 of the constitution, the government can withdraw money from the consolidated fund only after receiving approval from parliament.

The amount withdrawn is used to meet the current expenditure during the financial year.

Procedure followed:

  • The Appropriation Bill is introduced in the Lok sabha after discussions on Budget proposals and voting on Demand for Grants.
  • The defeat of an Appropriation Bill in a parliamentary vote would lead to the resignation of  a government or a general election.
  • Once it is passed by the Lok Sabha it is sent to the Rajya Sabha.
  • Power of Rajya Sabha: It has the power to recommend any amendments in the Bill. However , it is the prerogative of the Lok Sabha to either accept or reject the recommendations made by the Rajya Sabha.
  • After the Bill receives assent from the president it becomes an Appropriation act. The unique feature of the Appropriation Bill is its automatic repeal clause, whereby the Act gets repealed by itself after it meets its statutory purpose.

Amendment :

No amendment can be proposed to an Appropriation Bill which will have the effect of varying the amount or altering the destination of any grant so made or of varying the amount of any expenditure charged on the consolidated fund o India, and the decision of the Lok Sabha speaker as to whether such an amendment is admissible is final.

Supplementary, additional or excess grants:

  • Article 115 of the constitution provides for supplementary, additional or excess grants.
  • They are additional grants which are required to meet the expenditure of the government.
  • Their demand is presented when the authorized amounts are insufficient and need for additional expenditure as arisen.

Need of supplementary grants:

  • When actual expenditure incurred exceeds the approved grants of the parliament, the ministry of finance and ministry of railways presents a demand for Excess Grant.
  • It is needed for government expenditure over and above the amount for which parliamentary approval was already obtained during the Budget session.
  • When grants, authorized by the parliament, fall short of the required expenditure an estimate is presented before the parliament for supplementary or additional grants.
  • These grants are presented and passed by the parliament before the end of the financial year.
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Who notices such grants?

  • The comptroller and Auditor General of India bring such excesses to the notice of the parliament.
  • The Public Accounts Committee examines these excesses and gives recommendations to the parliament.

Excess Grant: It is the grant in excess of the approved grants for meeting the requisite expenses of the government.

Additional Grant: it is granted when a need has arisen during the current financial year for supplementary or additional expenditure upon some new service not contemplated in the Budget for that year.

Vote on Account:

The government cannot withdraw money from the consolidated Fund of India till the enactment of the appropriation Bill.

However, this takes time and the government needs money to carry on its normal activities.to meet the immediate expenses the Constitution has authourised the Lok Sabha to make any grant in advance for a part of the financial year. This provision is know as the ‘ vote on Account’.

As per Article 116 of the Indian Constitution, a vote on account is defined as a grant in advance for the central government to meet short-term expenditure needs from the consolidated fund of India, generally lasting for a few months till the new financial year kicks in.

Need of vote on Account:

During an election year the Government either opts for ‘Interim Budget’ or for’ Vote on Account’ as after the election the ruling Government may change and so the policies.

Article 117 of the Indian Constitution deals with the Special provisions related to the Financial Bills.

Article 118 and 119 of the Indian constitution makes provisions for the Rules of procedure and Regulation by law of procedure in Parliament in relation to financial business respectively. Whereas Article 120 and 121 of the constitution deals with the language to be used in the parliament and restriction on discussion in Parliament.

As per Article 122 of the constitution-

The validity of any proceedings in parliament cannot be questioned on the ground of any alleged irregularity of procedure.

No officer or member of parliament in whom powers are vested by or under this constitution for regulating procedure or the conduct of business, or for maintaining order, in parliament shall be subject to the jurisdiction of any court in respect of the exercise by him of those powers.

Author: sathiya v,
Dr.Ambedkar Law university, chennai

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