Legislative Procedure in Parliament
In a parliamentary sitting, both the houses of the Indian Parliament have different devices of Parliamentary proceedings. These devices are used to bring the members of Parliament to act according to the rules of the houses. This article will provide you with a list of ‘Devices of Parliamentary Proceedings’.
The basic function of Parliament is to make laws, amend them, or repeal them. The process of law-making or the legislative process, in relation to Parliament, may be defined as the process by which a legislative proposal brought before it, is translated into the law of the land.
All legislative proposals are brought before Parliament in the form of Bills. A Bill is a statute in the draft form and cannot become law unless it has received the approval of both the Houses of Parliament and the assent of the President of India.
The process of lawmaking begins with the introduction of a Bill in either House of Parliament. A Bill can be introduced either by a Minister or a Member other than a Minister. In the former case, it is known as a Government Bill and in the latter case, it is known as a Private Member’s Bill.
The bills introduced in the Parliament can also be classified into four categories:
- Ordinary bills, which are concerned with any matter other than financial subjects.
- Money bills, which are concerned with financial matters like taxation, public expenditure, etc.
- Financial bills, which are also concerned with financial matters (but are different from money bills).
- Constitution amendment bills, which are concerned with the amendment of the provisions of the Constitution.
The procedures with regard to ordinary bills, money bills, and financial bills are explained here.
Every ordinary bill has to pass through the following five stages in the Parliament before it finds a place on the Statute Book –
It is necessary for a member-in-charge of the Bill to ask for the leave of the House to introduce the Bill. If leave is granted by the House, the Bill is introduced. This stage is known as the First Reading of the Bill.
If the motion for leave to introduce a Bill is opposed, the Speaker may, in his discretion, allow a brief explanatory statement to be made by the member who opposes the motion and the member-in-charge who moved the motion.
Where a motion for leave to introduce a Bill is opposed on the ground that the Bill initiates legislation outside the legislative competence of the House, the Speaker may permit a full discussion thereon. Thereafter, the question is put to the vote of the House.
However, the motion for leave to introduce a Finance Bill or an Appropriation Bill is forthwith put to the vote of the House. Money/Appropriation Bills and financial bills can be introduced only in Lok Sabha per Articles 109, 110, and 117. Speaker of Lok Sabha decides whether a bill is Money Bill or not. Chairman of Rajya Sabha decides whether a bill is a finance bill or not when the bill is introduced in the Rajya Sabha.
Later, the bill is published in the Gazette of India. If a bill is published in the Gazette 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 constitute the first reading of the bill.
During this stage, the bill receives not only the general but also the detailed scrutiny and assumes its final shape. Hence, it forms the most important stage in the enactment of a bill. In fact, this stage involves three more sub-stages, namely, the stage of general discussion, the committee stage, and the consideration stage.
Stage of General Discussion –
The printed copies of the bill are distributed to all the members. The principles of the bill and its provisions are discussed generally, but the details of the bill are not discussed.
At this stage, the House can take any one of the following four actions:
1. It may take the bill into consideration immediately or on some other fixed date;
2. It may refer the bill to a select committee of the House;
3. It may refer the bill to a joint committee of the two Houses; and
4. It may circulate the bill to elicit public opinion.
- The usual practice is to refer the bill to a select committee of the House. This committee examines the bill thoroughly and in detail, clause by clause. It can also amend its provisions, but without altering the principles underlying it. After completing the scrutiny and discussion, the committee reports the bill back to the House.
- The House, after receiving the bill from the select committee, considers the provisions of the Bill clause by clause. Each clause is discussed and voted upon separately. The members can also move amendments and if accepted, they become part of the bill.
At this stage, the debate is confined to the acceptance or rejection of the bill as a whole and no amendments are allowed, as the general principles underlying the bill have already been scrutinized during the stage of second reading.
If the majority of the members present and voting accept the bill, the bill is regarded as passed by the House. Thereafter, the bill is authenticated by the presiding officer of the House and transmitted to the second House for consideration and approval.
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.
Bill in the Second House
In the second House also, the bill passes through all the three stages, that is, first reading, second reading, and third reading.
There are four alternatives before this House:
- It may pass the bill as sent by the first house (ie, without amendments);
- It may pass the bill with amendments and return it to the first House for reconsideration;
- It may reject the bill altogether; and
- It may not take any action and thus keep the bills pending.
If the second House passes the bill without any amendments or the first House accepts the amendments suggested by the second House, the bill is deemed to have been passed by both the Houses, and the same is sent to the president for his assent.
On the other hand, if the first House rejects the amendments suggested by the second House or the second House rejects the bill altogether or the second House does not take any action for six months; a deadlock is deemed to have taken place. To resolve such a deadlock, the president can summon a joint sitting of the two Houses.
If the majority of the members present and voting in the joint sitting approves the bill, the bill is deemed to have been passed by both the Houses.
Assent of the President
Every bill after being passed by both Houses of Parliament either singly or at a joint sitting is presented to the president for his assent. There are three alternatives before the president:
a) he may give his assent to the bill; or
b) he may withhold his assent to the bill; or
c) he may return the bill for reconsideration of the Houses.
If the president gives his assent to the bill, the bill becomes an act and is placed on the Statute Book. If the President withholds his assent to the bill, it ends and does not become an act.
If the President returns the bill for reconsideration and if it is passed by both the Houses again with or without amendments and presented to the President for his assent, the president must give his assent to the bill. Thus, the President enjoys only a “suspensive veto.
Money Bill refers to a bill (draft law) introduced in the Lower Chamber of Indian Parliament (Lok Sabha) which generally covers the issue of receipt and spending of money, such as tax laws, laws governing borrowing and expenditure of the Government, prevention of black money, etc.
E.g. of Money bills are Finance Bills and Appropriation Bills, Income Tax Act, 1961, The Undisclosed Foreign Income And Assets (Imposition Of Tax) Bill, 2015 etc.
The term “money bill” hence, connotes certain characteristics of the proposed bill.
Under Article 110(1) of the Constitution of India a money bill is defined as follows–
Article 110 (1)–
A Bill is deemed to be a Money Bill if it contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters, namely:
- (a) the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration, or regulation of any tax;
- (b) the regulation of the borrowing of money or the giving of any guarantee by the Government of India, or the amendment of the law with respect to any financial obligations undertaken or to be undertaken by the Government of India;
- (c) the custody of the Consolidated Fund or the Contingency Fund of India, the payment of moneys into or the withdrawal of moneys from any such fund;
- (d) the appropriation of moneys out of the Consolidated Fund of India;
- (e) the declaring of any expenditure to be expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India or the increasing of the amount of any such expenditure;
- (f) 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;
- (g) any matter incidental to any of the matters specified in sub-clauses (a) to (f).
A Bill is not deemed to be Money Bill by reason only that it provides for the imposition of fines or other pecuniary penalties, or for the demand or payment of fees for licenses or fees for services rendered, or by reason that it provides for the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax by any local authority or body for local purposes.
If any question arises whether a bill is a money bill or not, the decision of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha is final. His decision in this regard cannot be questioned in any court of law or in the either House of Parliament or even the president. When a money bill is transmitted to the Rajya Sabha and presented to the president for assent, the Speaker endorses it as a money bill.
Features of Money Bills
Essentially a Money bill has the following features:
- It can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha (lower chamber of the Parliament)
- The bill is placed in Rajya Sabha (Upper chamber of the Parliament) thereafter and Rajya Sabha can return the Bill with or without its recommendations.
- In any case, the Bill has to be returned within a period of 14 days from the date of its receipt by Rajya Sabha. Otherwise, it is deemed to have been passed by both Houses at the expiration of the said period in the form in which it was passed by Lok Sabha.
- If the bill is returned to Lok Sabha without recommendation, a message to that effect is reported by the Secretary-General to the Lok Sabha if in session or published in the Bulletin for the information of the members of the Parliament, if it is not in session. The Bill shall then be presented to the President for his assent.
- If the bill is returned to the Lok Sabha with amendments it has to be laid on the Table of the House and taken up for consideration.
- However, Lok Sabha is not bound to accept these amendments. Lok Sabha, under Article 109 of the Constitution, has the option to accept or reject all or any of the recommendations made by Rajya Sabha. In any case, Lok Sabha has to inform Rajya Sabha about the status of their recommendations, as to whether they have been accepted or not. It is not that Lok Sabha does not accept any of the recommendations of Rajya Sabha. For instance, in the Income Tax Bill, 1961, Rajya Sabha did recommend a number of amendments of a substantial character, all of which were agreed to by Lok Sabha.
- If Lok Sabha accepts any amendments as recommended by the Rajya Sabha, the Bill shall be deemed to have been passed by both the Houses of the Parliament ‘with the amendments recommended by the Rajya Sabha and accepted by the Lok Sabha’ and a message to that effect has to be sent to the Rajya Sabha.
- If Lok Sabha does not accept the recommendations of the Rajya Sabha, the Bill shall be deemed to have been passed by both the Houses in the form in which it ‘was passed by the Lok Sabha without any of the amendments recommended by the Rajya Sabha’.
- In all other bills, the final passing of the bill happens at Rajya Sabha. In the case of money bills, final passing happens at Lok Sabha, and then it is sent to the President for his assent.
- Unlike other bills, the President cannot return the Money Bill with his recommendations to the Lok Sabha for reconsideration.
A defeat of the Money bill in Lok Sabha is deemed political/parliamentary defeat of the government of the day. Speaker has unquestionable powers to decide if a Bill is a Money Bill or not. It cannot be questioned in any court.
Rajya Sabha (Upper chamber of the Parliament)’s dissent on a Money Bill is of no political significance, as the Lok Sabha has overriding powers on Money Bills.
A money bill cannot be referred to even joint committees of the two Houses of the Parliament (to resolve differences between the two Houses), as is in the case of other bills.
The Standing Committee of the Parliament also cannot scrutinize a Money Bill.
|Ordinary Bill||Money Bill|
|Ordinary Bills can be introduced in either Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha.||Money Bill can be introduced only in Lok Sabha.|
|Ordinary Bill can be introduced without the recommendation of the President||Money Bill can be introduced only on the recommendation of the President|
|Either a Minister or private member can introduce the ordinary bill||Only a Minister is allowed to introduce Money Bill in the Parliament|
|If the Ordinary Bill originated in the Lok Sabha, then it does not require the approval of the speaker when transmitted to Rajya Sabha.||Money Bill requires the certification of the Lok Sabha Speaker when transmitted to Rajya Sabha.|
|Rajya Sabha has the power to reject or amend the Ordinary Bill||Rajya Sabha cannot amend or reject the Money Bill. The Money Bill has to be returned to the Lok Sabha with or without the recommendations of Rajya Sabha. Lok Sabha has the power to reject or accept the recommendations of Rajya Sabha regarding the Money Bill.|
|The Rajya Sabha has the power to detain the Ordinary Bill for a period of 6 months.||The Money Bill can be detained for a maximum period of 14 days only by the Rajya Sabha|
|Ordinary Bill is sent for the assent of President only after being approved by both the houses i.e. Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha||The Money Bill is sent for the President’s assent only after approval from the Lok Sabha. Money Bill does not require the approval of Rajya Sabha before it is sent to the President for his assent.|
|Ordinary Bill can be returned for reconsideration, accepted, or rejected by the President.||Money Bill cannot be returned for reconsideration by the President. The President can only accept or reject it.|
|In case of deadlock on the Ordinary Bill, there is a provision of a joint sitting||In the case of Money Bill, if there is a deadlock, there is no provision of a joint sitting|
Financial bills are those bills that deal with fiscal matters, that is, revenue or expenditure. However, the Constitution uses the term ‘financial bill’ in a technical sense. Financial bills are of three kinds:
- Money bills—Article 110
- Financial bills (I)—Article 117 (1)
- Financial bills (II)—Article 117 (3)
This classification implies that money bills are simply a species of financial bills. Hence, all money bills are financial bills, but all financial bills are not money bills.
Only those financial bills are money bills which contain exclusively those matters which are mentioned in Article 110 of the Constitution. These are also certified by the Speaker of Lok Sabha as money bills. The financial bills (I) and (II), on the other hand, have been dealt with in Article 117 of the Constitution.
|Money Bill||Financial Bill – I||Financial Bill – II|
|To introduce this bill, the recommendation of the President is required.||To introduce this bill, the recommendation of the President is required.||To introduce this bill, the recommendation of the President is not required.|
|Rajya Sabha does not have the power to amend or reject the Money Bill||Rajya Sabha has the power to amend or reject Financial Bill – I||Rajya Sabha has the power to amend or reject Financial Bill – II|
|Whether a bill is a money bill or not is decided by the Speaker of Lok Sabha.||This Bill does not require any kind of approval from the Speaker to classify it as Financial Bill-I||This Bill does not require any kind of approval from the Speaker to classify it is as Financial Bill-II|
|The recommendation of the President of India is needed to introduce Money Bill.||Recommendation of the President of India is needed to introduce Financial Bill – I||Recommendation of the President of India is not needed to introduce Financial Bill – II|
|Money Bill can be introduced only in Lok Sabha||Financial Bill-I can be introduced only in Lok Sabha||Financial Bill-II can be introduced in Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha|
|To resolve the deadlock on Money Bill, there is no provision for a joint sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.||To resolve the deadlock on Financial Bill-I, President can summon a joint sitting of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha||To resolve the deadlock on Financial Bill-II, President can summon a joint sitting of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha|
|Money Bills are dealt with by Article 110 of the Constitution||Finance Bill-I is dealt with by Article 117(1) of the Constitution||Finance Bill-II is dealt with by Article 117(3) of the Constitution.|
|Money Bill only deals with provisions mentioned in Article 110||Finance Bill-I not only deals with provisions of Article 110 but also other matters of general legislation||Finance Bill-II deals with provisions on expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India but is not included in Article 110.|
|Money Bill is a Government Bill||Finance Bill-I is an ordinary Bill||Finance Bill-II is an ordinary Bill|
Article 108 Joint sitting of both Houses in certain cases –
(1) If after a Bill has been passed by one House and transmitted to the other House-
- (a) The Bill is rejected by the other House; or
- (b) the Houses have finally disagreed as to the amendments to be made in the Bill; or more then six months elapse from the date of the reception of the Bill by the other House without the Bill being passed by it, the President may, unless the Bill has elapsed by reason of a dissolution of the House of the People, notify to the Houses by message if they are sitting or by public notification, if they are not sitting, his intention to summon them to meet in a joint sitting for the purpose of deliberating and voting on the Bill: Provided that nothing in this the clause shall apply to a Money, Bill.
(2) In reckoning any such period of six months as is referred to in clause (1), no account shall be taken of any period during which the House referred to in sub-clause (c) of that clause is prorogued or adjourned for more than four consecutive days.
(3) Where the President has under clause (1) notified his intention of summoning the Houses to meet in a joint sitting, neither House shall proceed further with the Bill, but the President may at any time after the date of his notification summon the Houses to meet in a joint sitting for the purpose specified in the notification and, if he does so, the Houses shall meet accordingly.
(4) If at the joint sitting of the two Houses the Bill, with such amendments, if any, as are agreed to in joint sitting, is passed by a majority of the total number of members of both Houses present and voting, it shall be deemed for the purposes of this Constitution to have been passed by both Houses: Provided that at a joint sitting-
- (a) if the Bill, having been passed by one House, has not been passed by the other House with amendments and returned to the House in which it originated, no the amendment shall be proposed to the Bill other than such amendments (if any) as are made necessary by the delay in the passage of the Bill;
- (b) if the Bill has been so passed and returned, only such amendments as aforesaid shall be proposed to the Bill and such other amendments as are relevant to the matters with respect to which the Houses have not agreed; and the decision of the person presiding as to the amendments which are admissible under this clause shall be final.
(5) A joint sitting may be held under this article and a Bill passed thereat, notwithstanding that dissolution of the House of the People has intervened since the President notified his intention to summon the Houses to meet therein.
Since 1950, the provision regarding the joint sitting of the two Houses has been invoked only thrice. The bills that have been passed at joint sittings are:
- Dowry Prohibition Bill, 1960.
- Banking Service Commission (Repeal) Bill, 1977.
- Prevention of Terrorism Bill, 2002.
For Devices of Parliamentary Proceedings: Click Here
Indian Polity Notes: Click Here