A Bill is the draft of a
legislative proposal. It has to pass through various stages before it becomes an Act of
The legislative process starts
with the introduction of a Bill in either House of Parliament--Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. A
Bill can be introduced either by a Minister or by a private member. In the former case it
is known as a Government Bill and in the later case it is known as a Private Member's
It is necessary for a
member-in-charge of the Bill to ask for leave 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 brief explanatory statements 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
Publication in Gazette
After a Bill has been
introduced, it is published in the Official Gazette. Even before introduction, a Bill
might, with the permission of the Speaker, be published in the Gazette. In such cases,
leave to introduce the Bill in the House is not asked for and the Bill is straightaway
Reference of Bill to Standing
After a Bill has been
introduced, Presiding Officer of the concerned House can refer the Bill to concerned
Standing Committee for examination and make report thereon.
If a Bill is referred to
Departmentally Related Standing Committee, the Committee shall consider the general
principles and clauses of the Bill referred to them and make report thereon. The Committee
can also take expert opinion or the public opinion who are interested in the measure.
After the Bill has thus been considered, the Committee submits its report to the House.
The report of the Committee, being persuasive value shall be treated as considered advice
given by the Committee.
The Second Reading consists of
consideration of the Bill which is in two stages.
First Stage: The first
stage consists of general discussion on the Bill as a whole when the principle underlying
the Bill is discussed. At this stage it is open to the House to refer the Bill to a Select
Committee of the House or a Joint Committee of the two Houses or to circulate it for the
purpose of eliciting opinion thereon or to straightaway take it into consideration.
If a Bill is referred to a
Select/Joint Committee, the Committee considers the Bill clause-by-clause just as the
House does. Amendments can be moved to the various clauses by members of the Committee.
The Committee can also take evidence of associations, public bodies or experts who are
interested in the measure. After the Bill has thus been considered, the Committee submits
its report to the House which considers the Bill again as reported by the Committee.
If a Bill is circulated for the
purpose of eliciting public opinion thereon, such opinions are obtained through the
Governments of the States and Union Territories. Opinions so received are laid on the
Table of the House and the next motion in regard to the Bill must be for its reference to
a Select/Joint Committee. It is not ordinarily permissible at this stage to move motion
for consideration of the Bill.
Second Stage: The second
stage of the Second Reading consists of clause-by-clause consideration of the Bill as
introduced or as reported by Select/Joint Committee. Discussions takes place on each
clause of the Bill and amendments to clauses can be moved at this stage. Amendments to a
clause have been moved but not withdrawn are put to the vote of the House before the
relevant clause is disposed of by the House. The amendments become part of the Bill if
they are accepted by a majority of members present and voting. After the clauses, the
schedules if any, clause 1, the Enacting Formula and the Long Title of the Bill have been
adopted by the House, the Second Reading is deemed to be over.
Thereafter, the member-in-charge
can move that the Bill be passed. This stage is known as the Third Reading of the Bill. At
this stage debate is confined to arguments either in support or rejection of the Bill
without referring to the details thereof further than that are absolutely necessary. Only
formal, verbal or consequential amendments are allowed to be moved at this stage.
In passing an ordinary Bill, a
simple majority of members present and voting is necessary. But in the case of a Bill to
amend the Constitution, a majority of the total membership of the House and a majority of
not less than two- thirds of the members present and voting is required in each House of
Bill in the other House
After the Bill is passed by one
House, it is sent to the other House for concurrence with a message to that effect, and
there also it goes through the stages described above except the introduction stage.
Bills which exclusively contain
provisions for imposition and abolition of taxes, for appropriation of moneys out of the
Consolidated Fund, etc., are certified as Money Bills. Money Bills can be introduced only
in Lok Sabha. Rajya Sabha cannot make amendments in a Money Bill passed by Lok Sabha and
transmitted to it. It can, however, recommend amendments in a Money Bill, but must return
all Money Bills to Lok Sabha within fourteen days from the date of their receipt. It is
open to Lok Sabha to accept or reject any or all of the recommendations of Rajya Sabha
with regard to a Money Bill. If Lok Sabha accepts any of the recommendations of Rajya
Sabha, the Money Bill is deemed to have been passed by both Houses with amendments
recommended by Rajya Sabha and accepted by Lok Sabha and if Lok Sabha does not accept any
of the recommendations of Rajya Sabha, Money Bill is deemed to have been passed by both
Houses in the form in which it was passed by Lok Sabha without any of the amendments
recommended by Rajya Sabha. If a Money Bill passed by Lok Sabha and transmitted to Rajya
Sabha for its recommendations is not returned to Lok Sabha within the said period of
fourteen days, 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.
Consideration of the Bill at
a Joint Sitting
If a Bill passed by one House is
rejected by the other House, or, the Houses have finally disagreed as to the amendments to
be made in the Bill, or more than six months elapse from the date of the receipt of the
Bill by the other House without the Bill being passed by it, the President may call a
joint sitting of the two Houses to resolve the deadlock. If, at the joint sitting of the
Houses, the Bill is passed by a majority of the total number of members of both the Houses
present and voting, with the amendments, if any, accepted by them, the Bill is deemed to
have been passed by both the Houses.
There cannot be a joint sitting
of both Houses on a Constitution Amendment Bill.
Assent of the President
When a Bill is passed by both
Houses, the Secretariat of the House which is last in possession of the Bill obtains the
assent of the President. In the case of a Money Bill or a Bill passed at a joint sitting
of the Houses, the Lok Sabha Secretariat obtains assent of the President. The Bill becomes
an Act only after the President has given his assent to it.
The President may give his
assent or withhold his assent to a Bill. The President may also return the Bill (except a
Money Bill) with his recommendations to the Houses for reconsideration, and if the Houses
pass the Bill again with or without amendments the President cannot withhold his assent to
the Bill. The President, however, is bound to give his assent to a Constitution Amendment
Bill passed by the Houses of Parliament by the requisite special majority and, where
necessary, ratified by the States.