How does a Bill Become an Act?
An ordinary bill has to pass through numerous stages before it becomes a law. In both the Houses of the Parliament, a bill goes through:
In the first reading, the bill is introduced by the minister in-charge of the concerned department following the Speaker granting permission to do so. 'The bill is then published in the Gazette of India. If the bill has already been published in the gazette with the Speaker's assent, the stage of introducing the bill in the House is by'passed.
'The second reading is the most vital stage in the life of the bill because the bill is scrutinized, thoroughly examined, debated and dispensed during this stage. 'This reading is divided in two stages: First stage, when the proposals of the bill are discussed, with no serious discussion. 'The bill may be referred to a Select Committee of the Lok Sabha, or a Joint Committee of the Houses. With the concurrence of Rajya Sabha, the bill may be circulated for eliciting opinion of the general public. 'The committees are appointed to consider Bill referred to them. After the House decides to debate the bill as reported by the committee, in second stage, the members discuss each clause of the bill separately. 'They can even amend the clauses. 'This is a long process where each clause is discussed, adopted or rejected by the House.
In the third reading, the bill is discussed to determine whether to approve or reject it. Only some verbal, formal consequential amendments are moved at this stage. In order to pass an ordinary bill, simple majority of members present and voting is needed. When the bill has been passed by the originating House, it is sent to the other House. It goes through all the stages again. In case the bill is rejected by the other House, the President has the power to call a joint sitting of the two Houses to' resolve the deadlock. 'The decision to accept or reject a bill is taken by the majority of the total number of members of both Houses, present and voting. As both the Houses of Parliament have passed a bill, it is presented to the President. If the President does not sign the bill, he can send it to the originating House with his suggestions. If the two Houses of the Parliament pass the bill again with or without incorporating the suggestions of the President, he has to give his assent. 'The President can withhold his assent which he usually does on the recommendations of the council of Ministers. He has the right to seek information and clarification about the bill. After the President gives his assent, the bill becomes an Act.
According to Article 110 the Constitution of India, a bill is considered to be a Money Bill if it contains provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters:
(a) the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax;
(b) the regulation of money borrowed by the Government of India or a guarantee given by the Government of India. 'The bill can also consider amendment of the law with respect to financial obligations undertaken or to be undertaken by the Government of India;
(c) the custody of the Consolidated Fund or the Contingency Fund of India, the payment of moneys into or the withdrawal of moneys from any such fund;
(d) the appropriation of moneys out of the Consolidated Fund of India;
(e) the declaring of a new item to be expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India. Also, if there is any increase in the amount of any such expenditure;
(f) the receipt of money on account of the Consolidated Fund of India or the public account of India or the custody or the issue of such money or the audit of the accounts of the Union or of a State; or (g) any matter incidental to any of the matters specified in sub-clauses (a) to (f).
A Money Bill is introduced only in the Lok Sabha and that too on the recommendation of the President (Article 117). However, the Speaker of the House is the final authority to decide whether a bill is a Money Bill or not. A Money Bill cannot be introduced in Rajya Sabha nor can it be referred to a Joint Committee of Houses or cannot be considered at a joint sitting of the two Houses.
Once a Money Bill is passed in the Lok Sabha, it is sent to the Rajya Sabha. 'The Rajya Sabha may not amend a Money Bill, but can recommend amendments. A Money Bill needs to be returned to the Lok Sabha by the Rajya Sabha within 14 days or else the bill is deemed to have been passed by both Houses in the form it was originally passed by the Lok Sabha. 'The Lok Sabha has the discretion to accept or reject the amendments recommended by the Rajya Sabha. 'The President cannot return a Money Bill for reconsideration. He has to give his assent to the Money Bill as passed is by the Parliament.