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veenzar (Advocate)     26 October 2008

Procedure for enacting laws in India

What is the procedure for enacting laws in India?


 4 Replies

Prakash Yedhula (Lawyer)     26 October 2008


          The basic function of Parliament is to make laws. All legislative proposals  have to be brought  in the form of  Bills  before Parliament.  A Bill  is a  statute  in draft 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 law making 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 called a Government Bill and in the latter case, it is known as a Private Member's Bill.

        A  Bill undergoes three readings in each House, i.e.,  the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha,  before  it is submitted to the President for assent.

          The First Reading refers to (i) motion for  leave to introduce a  Bill  in the House on the adoption of  which  the Bill is  introduced; or(ii) in the case of a  Bill  originated in  and passed by the other House,  the laying on the  Table of the House of  the   Bill,  as passed by the other House.

       The Second Reading  consists of   two stages.The "First Stage" constitutes discussion on the principles of the  Bill and its provisions generally on  any of the  following motions -  that  the Bill be  taken into consideration; or   that  the Bill be referred to  a Select Committee of the House; or  that the Bill be referred  to a  Joint Committee of the Houses with the concurrence of  the other House; or  that the Bill be circulated for the purpose of  eliciting opinion thereon.   The "Second Stage" constitutes   the clause by clause consideration of the Bill, as introduced in the House or   as reported by a Select or  Joint Committee, as the case may be.

In the case of a  Bill  passed by Rajya Sabha and transmitted to Lok Sabha,  it is  first laid on the Table of Lok Sabha by the Secretary-General, Lok Sabha.   In this case the Second Reading refers to the motion (i) that the Bill, as passed by Rajya Sabha, be taken into consideration; or (ii) that the Bill be referred to a  Select Committee (if the Bill  has not already been referred to a Joint Committee of the Houses).  

The Third Reading refers to  the discussion on the  motion  that the Bill or   the Bill, as amended,  be passed.

 Almost  similar procedure is  followed in Rajya Sabha in respect of   Bills introduced in that House. 

          After  a  Bill  has been finally passed  by   the Houses of Parliament,  it is  submitted to the President for his assent.  After a  Bill has received the assent of the President,  it becomes the law of the land.

Reference of Bills to Departmentally Related Standing Committees

       The year 1993 ushered in a new era in the history of Indian Parliament when 17 Departmentally Related Standing Committees were constituted. The number of Standing Committees has now been increased from 17 to 24. While 8 Committees work under the direction of the Chairman, Rajya Sabha, 16 Committees work under the direction of the Speaker, Lok Sabha.

One of the important functions of these Committees is to examine such Bills introduced in either House as are referred to them by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha or the Speaker, Lok Sabha, as the case may be, and make report thereon.

          The reports of the Standing Committees have persuasive value. In case the  Government accepts any of the  recommendations  of  the

Committee, it may bring forward official amendments at the consideration stage of the Bill or may withdraw the Bill reported by the Standing Committee and bring forward a new Bill after incorporating the recommendations of the Standing Committee.


          If a Bill is referred to a Select or a Joint Committee, it considers the Bill clause-by-clause just as the House does.  Amendments can be moved to the various clauses by the members of the Committee.  After the report of the Select or Joint Committee has been presented to the House, the member-in-charge of the Bill usually moves the motion for consideration of the Bill, as reported by the Select or Joint Committee, as the case may be. 

          A Money Bill or a Financial Bill containing any of the provisions calculated to make a Bill a Money Bill, however, cannot be referred to a Joint Committee of the Houses.


      A Bill may be introduced in either House of Parliament. However,a Money Bill can not be introduced in Rajya Sabha.It can only be introduced in Lok Sabha with prior recommendation of

the President for  introduction  in Lok Sabha.  If any  question arises  whether a  Bill is a Money Bill or not,   the decision of the Speaker  thereon is final.

 Rajya Sabha is required  to return  a  Money Bill  passed and transmitted by Lok Sabha  within a  period  of  14 days  from the date of   its receipt.    Rajya Sabha may  return a  Money Bill  transmitted to it  with or without recommendations.   It is open to Lok Sabha to accept or reject all or any of the recommendations of Rajya Sabha.

However,  if   Rajya Sabha   does not  return a  Money Bill within the prescribed period of  14 days,   the Bill is deemed  to havebeen passed by both Houses of   Parliament at the expiry of   the said period of 14 days in the form in which  it was passed by Lok Sabha.    

Like Money Bills,   Bills  which, inter alia,  contain provisions  for any  of the  matters attracting   sub-clauses (a) to (f)   of   clause (1) of article 110 can also  not be introduced in Rajya Sabha.  They can be introduced only in Lok Sabha  on the  recommendation of the President.   However,  other restrictions in regard to  Money Bills do not apply  to such Bills.


        The Constitution vests in Parliament the power to amend the Constitution. Constitution  Amendment  Bills can be introduced  in eitherHouse of Parliament. While motions for introduction of Constitution Amendment Bills are adopted by simple majority, 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 for adoption of effective clauses and motions for consideration and passing of these Bills. Constitution Amendment Bills affecting vital issues as enlisted in the proviso to article 368(2) of the Constitution after having been passed by the Houses of Parliament, have also to be ratified by not less than one half of the State Legislatures.


 Article 108(1) of the Constitution provides that when a Bill (other than a Money Bill or a Bill seeking  to amend the Constitution) passed by one House is rejected by the other House or the Houses  have   finally disagreed as to the amendments made in the Bill  or   more than six months  lapse from the date of the receipt of the Bill  by the other House without  the Bill being passed by it,  the President may, unless the Bill has lapsed  by   reason  of  dissolution of  Lok Sabha,   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.

The President has made the  Houses of  Parliament (Joint Sittings and Communications) Rules  in terms of   clause (3) of  article 118 of the Constitution to regulate the procedure  with respect to Joint Sitting of Houses. 

So far, there have been three occasions when Bills were considered and passed in a Joint Sitting of the Houses of Parliament.


      After a Bill has been passed by  both the  Houses of Parliament,  it is  presented to the  President  for his assent.   The  President   mayeither  assent to the Bill,  withhold  his assent,  or   return the Bill, if it is  not a Money Bill, with a message for reconsideration of the Bill,  or any specified  provisions thereof,   or for considering  the desirability of introducing  any such amendments as he may recommend  in his message.

The President may  either  give or withhold his assent to a Money Bill.   A  Money Bill can not   be returned to the House by the President for reconsideration.   Also, the President is bound to give hisassent to Constitution Amendment Bill passed by Parliament by the prescribed special majority and, where necessary, ratified by the  requisite number of  State Legislatures.

K.C.Suresh (Advocate)     27 October 2008

Beautyfully answered by Mr. Prakash. Wish Veenzer and Prakash happy Diwali.

N.K.Assumi (Advocate)     27 October 2008

Dear Prakashji, That is a sign of hard work. Keep it up.

J. P. Shah (RTI & CONSUMER ACTIVIST)     27 October 2008


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