March 27, 2023

What is a bill?

Bill is the draft of a legislative proposal.

Who can introduce the bill in Indian Parliament?

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 latter case it is known as a Private Member’s Bill.

What is the first step in introduction of Bill?

The ‘motion for leave to introduce the bill’ is asked by the member in-charge and this is known as the First reading of the bill. If leave is granted by the House, the Bill is introduced. A Finance Bill or an Appropriation Bill is forthwith put to the vote of the House.

Can the ‘motion for leave to introduce a Bill’ be opposed?

Yes, and the Speaker may allow 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.

Can the bill be introduced without moving the ‘motion for leave to introduce the bill’?

Yes, with the permission of the Speaker, a bill might 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 introduced.

Explain the two stages in Second reading of the bill.

The first stage consists of general discussion on the Bill as a whole. The House can refer the Bill to a Select Committee of the House or a Joint Committee of the two Houses.

The second stage consists of clause-by-clause consideration of the Bill as introduced or as reported by Select/Joint Committee.

What if the bill is referred to the 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. It can take evidence of associations, public bodies or experts who are interested in the measure.

Is the report submitted by SELECT Committee final?

No, the House discussion takes place on each clause of the Bill and amendments to clauses can be moved at this stage. The amendments become part of the Bill if they are accepted by a majority of members present and voting.

When is the Second reading considered to be over?

Once 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.

What happens in the third reading?

The member-in-charge can move that the bill be passed. Here the 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.

Is the bill passed now?

Not completely. It is now sent to the other house for concurrence with a message to that effect, and the similar steps as above happen there except for the motion for leave to introduce the bill.

What is a Money Bill?

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.

Who is the final authority to decide a money bill?

The certificate of the Speaker to the effect that a Bill is a Money Bill is to be endorsed and signed by him when it is transmitted to Rajya Sabha (Article 109) and also when it is presented to the President (Article 111) for his assent. The decision of speaker is final and cannot be challenged.

What is the final step in ‘Bill becoming an Act’?

The President’s assent makes it an act. If the President withholds his assent there is end to Bill. If President returns the Bill for reconsideration and the houses pass the Bill with or without amendments, the President shall have no power to withhold his assent from the Bill.

The President may either give or withhold his assent to a Money Bill. Under the Constitution, a Money Bill cannot be returned to the House by the President for reconsideration.

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