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How does a bill become an Act in the Indian Parliament?

Parliament frames laws for the country. Any member of the House can introduce a resolution for the purpose of making law. That resolution is to be introduced in the House in a special form & the resolution which is placed before the House in a special form is called Bill. Hence, the resolutions which are introduced in the Parliament for the purpose of ranking laws or changing old laws of amending the constitution are called Bills. The Bill is passed by both the Houses & then it is sent to the President for his assent & then it becomes a law. But before the Bill becomes a law it is to pass through so many stages.

Electricity Bill Clip Art

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Kinds of Bill

The constitution divides Bills into three categories on (1) Money Bills, Ordinary Bill & Constitutional Amendment Bill. The Bill is to pass through so many stages before it becomes a Law. The Bill is discussed & debated thoroughly in these stages. These stages are mentioned below.

Introduction of the Bill

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An ordinary Bill can be introduced in any House & by any member of the House. But a member can introduce the Bill in the same House of which he is a member. The mover of the Bill is to give a notice to this effect a month earlier. The admission of the notice brings a particular Bill on the agenda or the order of the day. There is no need for the ministers to give a months’ notice for this purpose. The agenda of the House or the programme of the House is prepared by the Cabinet & they can fix the date of the introduction of their Bill. Money Bills can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha & not in the Rajyasabha. Money Bill can only be introduced by the ministers and not by the ordinary members of the House.

On the fixed date the mover of the Bill seeks the permission of the House of moving the Bill & it is very much a formality. On getting the permission of the House he only reads the title of the Bill. After this, he gives a copy of the Bill to the check of the House. It is called the introduction of the Bills. The Bill is sent to the Gazette of India for publication & its copies are distributed among the members of the House. The Government Bill can be published in the government gazette even without introducing them in the House & this method has been generally adopted.

First reading

After the introduction there is a first reading of the Bill. Sometimes there is a first reading of the Bill just after the introductory stage. Sometimes another date is fixed for the first reading of the Bill. On the fixed date the mover of the Bill stands up at his place & requests that the Bill should be read for the time. On getting permission of the House he explains the main principles & objects of the Bill. After this other members of the House express their opinions in favor or against the Bill. The Bill at this stage is not debated & discussed. Then the mover of the Bill puts a resolution that the Bill be sent to a Select Committee. Three decisions can be taken on such a resolution.

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The Bill should be sent to a Select Committee for giving its report on the bill.

(ii) The Bill should be sent to the press & states for propaganda & public opinion should be elicited. The people send their views in favor or against the Bill to the Parliament.

(iii) If the majority is opposed to the Bill it is dropped. Most Bills of private members are rejected at this stage, if they are not supported by the Cabinet.

Select Committee

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If the Bill is not rejected in the first reading, it is sent to a Select Committee. The committee consists of 20 to 30 members which are taken from among members of the House. The Bill which is published for eliciting public opinion is also sent to the Select Committee. The members of the Select Committee discuss the Bill in detail & debate the merits & demerits of the Bill. The committee can suggest amendments in the provision of clause of the Bill. After discussing the Bill thoroughly the committee prepares its report in favor of or against the Bill & suggests some amendments in the Bill. While preparing the report the committee takes into consideration public opinion also. Then the committee sends its report to the House.

Second Reading

A day is fixed for discussing the report of the Select Committee on the Bill. The mover of the Bill on the fixed date request this Houses that the report of the Select Committee on the Bill may be discussed. The House discusses the Bill in detail. The Bill is discussed clause by clause & item by item. The views of the Select Committee on all clauses are discussed. The members of the House can suggest the amendments on the Bill. After the Bill is seriously discussed the opinion of the House is sought on such clause & amendment proposals are also put to vote. The Bill is passed according to the view point of the majority of the members. This stage is very important.

Third Reading

After the Bill is passed in the second reading another date is fixed for the third reading of the Bill. This is the last stage in the passage of the Bill. Like the first stage there is not much of discussion on the Bill in this stage also. There is a little chance of the rejection of the Bill at this stage. At this stage the proposals for amending the Bill cannot be moved. Only proposals for change in the working of the Bill can be given. The entire Bill is put to vote at this stage and it is either rejected & passed.

Bill in the second House

After the Bill is passed by one House. It is sent to the second House. It is to pass through all the stages in this House. After the ordinary Bill is passed by both the Houses differ over a particular Bill a joint meeting of the two Houses is called for & the Bill is placed before it. The joint meeting of the two Houses decides the fate of the Bill by a majority vote. As the Lok Sabha is a larger body compared with the Rajyasabha hence the Bill is passed according to the wishes of Lok Sabha.

The Rajyasabha can delay the passage of a Money Bill at the most for 14 days. If the Rajyasabha rejects the Money Bill or does not take any action for 14 days, under both those conditions the Money Bill will be considered passed.

Assent of the President

After the Bill is passed by both the Houses it is sent to the President for his assent. The President cannot refuse to give his assent to the Money Bill. In case of ordinary Bill the President can make use of his veto power, that means that the President can refuse to give his assent to the ordinary Bills. However the President may return a Bill to the Parliament. If the Parliament cannot withhold his assent to such a Bill.

The Bill becomes an Act when the President gives his assent to it. It can be enforced after the Presidents assent has been taken. It is published in the Government gazette.

The procedure for the passage of a Money Bill is almost the same as that of an ordinary Bill. The significant difference between an Ordinary Bill & a Money Bill is that a Money Bill is always introduced by a Minister while an Ordinary Bill can be introduced by any member of the House. Secondly, a Money Bill can be introduced in the Lok Sabha only after its passage from the Lok Sabha it is sent to the Rajyasabha for its recommendation. The Rajyasabha can delay a Money Bill for 14 days only, cannot kill it. In case of differences between the two Houses over money Bill there cannot be a joint meeting. The President cannot neither send the Money Bill back for recommendation nor can it be rejected.

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