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Important Types of Bills in Parliament/Types of Majority

 

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24st Aug 2021

Important Types of Bills in Parliament/Types of Majority

 A Bill is a draft legislative proposal which becomes a Law upon enactment. Bills could be broadly classified into two ways:

  1. On the basis of the source of origin:
 (1) Government Bill

It is also called Public Bill. It is a Bill introduced by a minister in the government. It is the primary method of legislation.

(2) Private Member Bill
  • It is the bill introduced by a Member of Parliament who is not a minister.
  • It is important to remember that a Bill introduced by a non-minister MP of even the ruling party is called Private Member Bill.
  • Such bills can only be introduced and discussed on Fridays.
 2. On the basis of the procedure of passage of the Bill:
 (1) Ordinary Bill
  • An ordinary bill does not require the recommendation of the President and can be introduced in either of the Houses.
  • It needs only a simple majority and the second House may choose any of the following courses of action:
  1. Pass the Bill
  2. Reject the Bill
  3. Propose Amendment to the Bill
  4. No action
    In case the Bill is rejected or amendments which are not agreeable to the originating House are proposed or inaction for a period of 180 Parliamentary days, a deadlock is deemed to have emerged. Such a deadlock could be resolved by a joint sitting notified and summoned by President under article 108.
    Once notified, neither House shall proceed forth with the pending bill. When submitted to the assent of President. Such a deadlock could be resolved by a joint sitting notified and summoned by the President under article 108. Once notified, neither House shall proceed forth with the pending bill.
    When submitted for the assent of President, after due passage in the Parliament, he has the following options:
    1. Give assent to the Bill and then it becomes a Law
    2. Withhold assent
    3. Exercise Suspensive Veto or
    4. Exercise Pocket Veto
 (2) Money Bill

It is the bill which exclusively deals with one or more money matters under article 110 which are as follows:

  1. Imposition, alteration or abolition of a tax
  2. Borrowing of money by the government
  3. Custody of Consolidated Fund of India or Contingency Fund of India
  4. Deposit or withdrawal from the above mentioned funds
  5. Appropriation of money out of consolidated fund of India
  6. Receipt of money upon Consolidated Fund of India or Public Accounts of India
  7. Declaring any expenditure as expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.

 Points to Remember about Money Bill

  • A Money Bill can be introduced only in Lok Sabha and that too only after the recommendation of the President.
  • It needs only a simple majorityand the speaker is required to certify it as a Money Bill prior to its transmission to Rajya Sabha.
  • Rajya Sabha does not have the power to amend or reject the bill but it may suggest amendments.
  • If Rajya Sabha does not pass the bill within 14 days the bill would be deemed as passed by the Rajya Sabha.
  • Deadlock is not possible.
  • The President may either give or withhold assent to Money Bill. But ordinarily he is expected to give his assent.
  • The President cannot send a Money Bill back in the House is for reconsideration as per Article 111.
(3) Financial Bill
  • It deals with non-money matters along with the money matters mentioned under article 110.
  • The differences with Money Bill are:
    • Money Bill exclusively deals with money matters under article 110 only.
    • While the money is the sole purpose of a Money Bill, the primary objective of a Financial Bill in general is something else and money is only incidental to that objective.
  • Financial bill requires prior recommendation of the President.
  • It can be introduced only in Lok Sabhaand not in Rajya Sabha.
  • However, the Rajya Sabha enjoys the same powers as are available in the case of an Ordinary Bill.
  • Even a deadlock can be a possibilitywhich could be resolved by a joint sitting.
 (4) Constitutional Amendment Bill
  • It is a bill to amend one or more provisions of the Constitution.
  • Unlike money bill and financial bill it does not require prior recommendationof the President.
  • It can be introduced in either of the Houses and would require special majorityfor passage in each House.
  • There can be a deadlockbut for resolution there cannot be a joint sitting.
  • If a constitutional amendment bill deals with the distribution of powers between Centre and States, it would require ratification bynot less than half of the States.
  • Through the 24th Constitutional Amendment act 1971, it was ensured that the presidentshall give his assent to our Constitutional Amendment Bill duly passed by the Houses.

 Types of Majority

There are 4 main types of Majority. The last one being Special Majority that has 3 sub-types.

The most important Majorities will be Simple Majority and Special Majority of the 2nd kind. We will use current strength of the Lok Sabha = 545 in the examples to explain.

  1. Absolute – More than 50% of the Total Strength of the House. Meaning

1/2 x 545 = 273 or more

This majority is never used anywhere but has a huge significance. If a political party has an Absolute Majority, it means it gets to form the govt., there is stability in the house.  

  1. Simple – Also called functional majority. It means Majority of more than 50% of members present and voting.

Lets assume the members present and voting is 300 (out of 545). We have 

1/2 X 300 = 150 or more

Usage

  • When not stated what type of Majority in the Constitution, this majority is assumed.
  • Passage of Ordinary, Money and Financial Bills.
  • Passage of No-Confidence Motion, Confidence Motion, Vote of Thanks to the President, Censure Motion, Adjournment Motion, Calling Attention Motion.
  • Election of the Speaker, Dy. Speaker, Dy. Chairman of RS.
  • Passage of approval to President’s Rule and Financial Emergency.
  • Approval by LS for discontinuance of Emergency.
  1. Effective– Means Majority of the Effective Strength of the House where Effective Strength is defined as Total Strength – No. of Vacancies. Vacancies arise due to 3 reasons – Death, Disqualification, Resignation. Some sources mention Absenteeism as a vacancy but that is incorrect.

Lets assume Number of Vacancies are 6. We have

1/2 X (545-6) = 270 or more

Usage

  • Removal of the VP. Initiated by the RS, requires Effective Majority in the RS, thereafter Simple Majority in the LS.
  • Removal of the Speaker, Dy. Speaker and Dy. Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
  1. Special– This majority has 3 sub-types that require some attention.

1st kind: Not less than 2/3 of the Members present and voting.

Usage (only in 2 conditions)

  • Passage of Resolution under Art. 249 and Art. 312. 

 2nd kind : Fulfills the following criteria:

  1. i) Not less than 2/3 of the Members present and voting.
  2. ii) Majority of the Total Strength of the House.

Eg. Out of 545, 450 Members are present and 300 vote in favor. Both the above conditions are satisfied – 300 is more than 2/3 of 450 and 300 is more than 1/2 of 545.

To make it simpler to remember, it is

Special Majority of First kind + Absolute Majority.

Usage

  • Passage of Constitutional Amendment Bills under Art. 368.
  • Approval by both Houses for the continuance of Emergency.
  • Removal of Judges of SC, High Court, CAG, CEC.
  • Approval for the creation of State Legislative Council of a State under Art. 169.

3rd kind :  This is used only once – during the impeachment of the President of India. Is mentioned in Art. 61 of the Constitution.

2/3rd Majority of the Total Strength of the House.

2/3 X 545 = 364 or more


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