Bills / Public Bill / Private Bill / Ordinary Bill / Money Bill / Financial bill / Constitutional Amendment Bill

A bill is a legislative draft. A bill when passed by both the houses of Parliament and given Presidential assent becomes a law.

Types of Bills: Public Bill and Private Bill |  BILLS

       Public Bill                                                                                       Private Bill
It is introduced in the Parliament by a
minister.
It is introduced in the Parliament by a
legislator who is not acting on behalf of executive.
It reflects policy of the Government (i.e., ruling party)It reflects the stand of opposition party on public matter.
Its chances      of approval      are greater in Parliament because    ruling party enjoys majority in Lok Sabha.It   has  lesser chances of approval in Parliament.
Its rejection amounts to the lack of confidence in Council of Ministers and may lead to their resignation.Its rejection by the House has no implication on Parliament’s confidence in the Council of Ministers or their resignation.
Its introduction in the house requires seven days’ notice.Its introduction in the House requires one month’s notice.
It is drafted by the concerned ministry in
consultation with the law ministry.
Its drafting is the responsibility of member who has to introduce the bill.

Readings of a Bill |  BILLS

By convention every bill before being made into law is required to undergo three readings in Parliament:

  1. First reading: The Member of Parliament who wants to introduce the bill asks for the permission of the house. After the permission is granted, the member introduces the bill by reading its title and objectives. Later, the bill is published in official gazette. This constitutes the first reading of the bill. No discussion of the bill takes place at this stage.
  2. Second reading: It is in this stage, that the bill assumes its final shape. This stage is regarded as a most important stage in passage of a bill.

Further, this stage consists of three sub-stages:

(i)  Stage of General Discussion: The printed copies of the bill are distributed to all the members of parliament. The principles of the bill and its provisions are discussed generally, but its details are left out.

After the brief discussion, the house can take any of the following actions:

  1. House may take the bill into consideration immediately or on some fixed future date.
  2. House may refer the bill to a select committee consisting of members from a particular House of Parliament.
  3. House may refer the bill to a joint committee consisting of members from both the houses.
  4. House may circulate the bill to gather public opinion.

(ii) Committee stage: If the members decide to refer the bill to a committee, then the committee of Parliament considers provisions of the bill clause by clause. Each clause is discussed in detail and scrutinized by the committee.

Committee can also undertake minor amendments in the bill without affecting the                                                 principles of the bill. After detailed scrutiny is completed, bill is referred back to the house.

(iii) Consideration stage: The House, after receiving the bill from the committee, considers provisions of the bill. During this stage, clause by clause consideration of the bill is undertaken. Each clause is discussed and voted upon separately. At this stage, members can also propose amendments to the provisions of bill. If amendments are approved, they also become part of the bill.

  1. Third reading: During this stage, the debate is confined to the acceptance or rejection of the bill as a whole and no amendments are allowed as the bill has already been discussed clause by clause in the second stage.
  • If the majority of members present and voting accept the bill, the bill is regarded as passed by that particular house. Thereafter, the bill is transmitted to the presiding officer who authenticates the bill.
  • Further the bill is passed to the other House of Parliament. A bill is deemed to have been passed by the Parliament only when both the Houses have agreed to it, either with or without amendments.
  • In the second house also, the bill passes through all the three stages, i.e., first reading, second reading, and third reading. Every bill after being passed by both the houses of Parliament is presented to the President for his assent. After Presidential assent, a bill becomes a law.

Procedure for Passage of Bills                                                                                    

The procedure for passage of bill depends upon its type. There are four types of bills, namely, Ordinary, Money, Financial, and Constitutional Amendment Bill.

  1. Ordinary Bill: Any matter which is not covered under Money, Financial, or Constitutional Amendment Bill is covered under Ordinary Bill.
  • It can be introduced in either House of the Parliament. It does not require recommendation of President for its introduction, except the bill introduced under Article 3. Bill introduced under Article 3 requires recommendation of the President because the bill is introduced on behalf of government.
  • An ordinary bill can be passed by simple majority (majority of the members present and voting). Both the houses of Parliament enjoy equal legislative powers over the passage of the ordinary bills.
  • Therefore, there can be a deadlock between both the houses which can be resolved by joint sitting of both the houses.

When an ordinary bill is presented to the President for assent, President has four options:

  • He may give his assent to the bill. In that case, the bill becomes a law.
  • He may withhold his assent to the bill (Absolute Veto). In other words, President refuses to sign the bill. President exercises absolute Veto only on advice of Council of Members.
  • He may return the bill for reconsideration of the Houses either with or without recommendations (Suspensive Veto). However, if the Parliament sends the bill again, then it is mandatory on the President to give his assent.
  • He does not ratify, reject, or return the bill, but simply keeps the bill pending for an indefinite period of time (Pocket Veto). Pocket veto is not explicitly mentioned in the constitution, but it is implied because the constitution does not specify the time limit within which the President is required to give his assent.
  1. Money bill: A money bill is a bill that deals with one or more money matters mentioned under Art. 110. Following matters constitute money matters:
  • The imposition, abolition, alteration, reduction of any tax.
  • Borrowing or guarantee by Government of India.
  • Custody, receipt, payment, withdrawal out of Consolidated Fund of India.
  • Declaration of any expenditure as charged on Consolidated Fund of India.
  • Custody or payment into Contingency Fund of India.
  • Custody of Public account of India.
  • Audit and accounts of Union or of a State
  • Any other matter incidental to above matters.
  • It is to be noted that payment of money out of contingency fund requires approval of the President of India. Similarly, Union executive is authorised for the receipt into and payment of money from Public account. Thus, there is no requirement of money bill for these matters.
  • Money bill can be introduced only in Lok Sabha, and it can be introduced only on the recommendation of President. (The bills which are introduced on behalf of Council of Ministers are introduced on recommendation of President.)
  • It is the Speaker who certifies whether the bill is money bill or not and his decision is final in this regard, i.e., it cannot be questioned in any court. Money bill requires simple majority for its passage.
  • Lok Sabha enjoys overriding powers in the passage of money bill. The directly elected representatives have been given more powers in money matters.

When the money bill is presented in Rajya Sabha after its passage in Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha has the following options:

  • It also passes the bill.
  • It rejects the money bill. On being rejected, the money bill is deemed to have been passed by both the houses of Parliament.
  • It takes no action on the bill for 14 days. On expiry of 14th day, the bill is deemed to have been passed by both the houses of Parliament.

(iv) Rajya Sabha can suggest amendments to money bill, then the bill goes back to Lok Sabha and it is deemed to have been passed by both the houses in the form in which Lok Sabha passes the bill for the second time.

  • There is no deadlock between the two houses over the passage of money bill because Lok Sabha has far more powers than Rajya Sabha.
  • When a money bill is presented to President for his assent, then by convention, he shall give his assent to the money bill.
  1. Financial bill: Financial Bill is a bill which consists of both money and non-money matters.
  • Financial bill, like a money bill, can be introduced only in Lok Sabha and on the recommendation of the President. If speaker does not certify the bill as money bill, then it is passed like an ordinary bill. Thus, a financial bill is introduced like a money bill and passed like an ordinary bill.
  • Like an ordinary bill, Rajya Sabha enjoys equal legislative powers over its passage. It is passed by a simple majority. In case of a deadlock between the two houses, joint session of both the houses is convened by the President.
  • When the bill is presented to the President for his assent, he has four options as are available in the case of an ordinary bill.
  1. Constitutional amendment bill: Constitutional amendment bill is passed to amend one or more provisions of Constitution. It is introduced under Article 368 of the constitution.
  • It can be introduced in any house of the Parliament, and it does not require recommendation of the President for its introduction.
  • It is passed by both the houses of the Parliament sitting separately by majority of not less than two-third of members present and voting and by majority of not less than half of the total strength of the house.
  • If any of the two houses disagree on the passage of the constitutional amendment bill, the bill comes to an end. There is no provision of deadlock and joint sitting over the passage of this bill. When the constitutional amendment bill is presented to the President for his assent, it is explicitly mentioned under Article 368 that he has no other choice other than giving assent.
  • If the constitutional amendment bill seeks to amend any of the provisions which relate to the distribution of powers between the Centre and the states, then the bill after being approved by the Parliament shall be further approved by at least half of the state legislatures before receiving the assent of the President.

Following matters involve distribution of powers between the Centre and the states:

  1. Executive matters:

(a) Art. 54 and Art. 55: Election of President

(b) Art. 73: Extent of executive power of the Union

(c) Art. 162: Extent of executive power of a State

  1. Legislative matters:

(a) Centre-state legislative relations

(b) Schedule 7

  1. Provisions related to Union and State Judiciary
  2. Representation of states in Parliament
  • Provisions of Art. 368 itself
CriteriaOrdinary BillMoney Bill Financial Bill Constitutional
Amendment Bill
DefinitionMatters which are not covered under money, financial and constitutional amendment billMoney matters
as defined under
Article 110
Money and
non-money
matters
To amend one ormore provisions
of constitution
IntroductionLS or RSLS onlyLS onlyLS or RS
Recommendation of PresidentNot required except bill introduced under Article 3RequiredRequiredNot required
Certification by SpeakerNot RequiredRequiredNot requiredNot required
Powers of Lok Sabha and Rajya SabhaEqualLok Sabha has more powersEqualEqual
Deadlock and joint sittingCan take placeCannot take place because Lok Sabha has more powerCan take placeCannot take place, because if one of the houses does not approve the bill, it comes to an end
MajorityrequiredSimple majority(majority of members present and voting)Simple majority(majority of members present and voting)Simple majority(majority of members present and voting)Special majority(two-third of the members present and voting and not less than half of total strength of the house)
Options with PresidentFour optionswith PresidentAs perconvention, President shall give assent to money billFour optionswith PresidentAs mentionedunder article 368, President shall give assent to constitutional amendment bill.

Joint Sitting of Both the Houses of Parliament (Article 108)

  • The joint sitting of both houses of Parliament is provided by the constitution to resolve the deadlock between the two houses over the passage of ordinary or financial bill.
  • Joint sitting is convened by the President and presided by the Speaker of Lok Sabha. In case of absence of Speaker, Deputy Speaker presides the joint sitting of both the houses.
  • The bill in a joint sitting is passed by a majority of the total number of members of both the Houses present and voting, i.e., Simple Majority.

Deadlock between both the houses can occur in any of the following three conditions:

  1. First house passes the bill, but the second house rejects it.
  2. First house passes the bill and Second house suggests certain amendments which are not acceptable to the First house.
  3. First house passes the bill and Second house does not take any action over the bill for a period of six months.

President’s Address

  • President addresses both the houses of Parliament, convened together at the first sitting of every budget session and at the first sitting of newly constituted Lok Sabha. The President’s address is attended together by both the houses, but it is not regarded as joint sitting of both the houses of Parliament.
  • At the time of Presidential address, President himself presides over the meeting of both the houses of Parliament. During the address, the President communicates the policies and programs of the Council of Ministers.
  • After President’s address, the houses convene separately and motion of thanks is introduced by ruling party MPs in both the houses of parliament.
  • Members of Parliament debate over the Presidential address and on the basis of their discussion, pass vote of thanks to the President.
  • If the House passes the vote of thanks to the Presidential address, it amounts to expression of confidence in the Council of Ministers.
  • In case members of Lok Sabha do not pass vote of thanks, then it amounts to rejection of policy of Council of Ministers and lack of confidence in Council of Ministers.
  • Consequently, Council of Ministers is required to prove its majority within a reasonable period of time to continue in the office. However, if Rajya Sabha does not pass vote of thanks, it does not make much difference.

Point of Order

  • A Member of Parliament can raise a point of order to the presiding officer of a house when the proceedings of House do not follow the normal rules of business of the Parliament.