A “rethink” on a Constitutional provision that provides for automatic lapsing of any Bill is required. Discuss.(250 words)

Mentor’s Comment

  1. Explain Automatic lapsing of the bill.
  2. GIve constitutional provisions for it.
  3. Explain why such a provision is necessary
  4. Mention Shortcomings of it.
  5. Suggest an alternative.

Answer:

Article 107 deals with the provisions related to the introduction and passing of bills. It states a Bill which is pending in the House of the People, or which having been passed by the House of the People is pending in the Council of States, shall subject to the provisions of Article 108, lapse on a dissolution of the House of the People is referred as Automatic lapsing of bills.

Cases when a bill lapses are,
1. A bill originated in the Lok Sabha but pending in the Lok Sabha – lapses.
2. A bill originated and passed by the Rajya Sabha but pending in Lok Sabha – lapses.
3. A bill originated and passed by the Lok Sabha but pending in the Rajya Sabha – lapses.
4. A bill originated in the Rajya Sabha and returned to that House by the Lok Sabha with amendments and still pending in the Rajaya Sabha on the date of the dissolution of Lok Sabha- lapses.

As many as 22 bills passed by the 16th Lok Sabha got lapsed as they cannot be cleared in the Rajya Sabha. Bills that lapsed after the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha include The Aadhar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Triple Talaq Bills of 2017 and 2018, The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 and The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

It matters because-
1. It takes considerable time and energy to get a Bill passed in either House of Parliament.
2. Given the implications for the functioning of Parliament and such lapses hampers productivity of the Houses of Parliament.
3. Most critical bills remains languishing for years due to change in govt or its agenda.
4. Other important which are about to be introduced get delayed if lapsed bill are taken into consideration.
5. Both houses spent nearly half their time on transacting legislative business. So lapse of bill affects the productive time spend on legislative business.
6. Number of bills lapsed at the end of every Lok Sabha is increasing.

What can be done?
1. In order to streamline the process, Vice President suggested that if a Bill is not taken up for consideration and passing in Rajya Sabha within five years of introduction, such pending Bills should be treated as deemed to have lapsed.
2. The present dysfunctional, disruptive environment must change.
3. Parliamentarians must use the time available for debates most productively.
4. The lapse of a Bill in Parliament still does not prevent the incumbent government from issuing an Ordinance to bring forth the legislation it intended to through the lapsed Bill.

The parliament is oldest democratic institution which is in the dire need of comprehensive and holistic reforms to meet the changing aspirations of citizens and evolving geopolitical issues within India and internationally. In addition, there is need of constitutional convention regarding lapsing of bills based on solid political consensus.

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Ashok Reddy
Ashok Reddy
3 years ago

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Mithun Raju
Mithun Raju
3 years ago