Daily Answer Writing
27 March 2021

Q) Discuss the procedure of law making in the Indian Parliament. Examine the role of Parliamentary committees in this regard. (250 Words)

Source: The Hindu Editorial: Dormant Parliament, fading business

GS 2: Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

Approach Answer:

 

Introduction: The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body. The Parliament defines a specific procedures and its rules to implement the Constitutional mandate of legislation. The law making process in this regard is as follows.

 

The Law making Procedure of Indian Parliament:

               1. Notice of Intention: A Seven day notice for a public bill or a 30 day notice for a private bill is required before the introduction of a bill.

               2. Introduction in First reading: The member who wants to introduce  the bill would ask for the 'leave of the house'. The member introduces the bill by reading its title and objective.

               3. Publication in the Gazette: It can be published before or after the introduction. If it is already published before introduction, no leave of the house is necessary.

               4. Discussion state in 2nd Reading: General Discussion: The printed copies of the bill are distributed to all members, and provisions are generally discussed. Here the bill can be sent to the select committee, Joint committee, or circulated for public opinion, or taken up for discussion directly

               5. Clause by clause discussion: After receiving from the Parliamentary Select or Joint committee the bill is then discussed and can also be voted clause by clause.

               6. 3rd reading for Passing the bill : The bill is now taken as a whole for discussion and voting. If it is passed it is sent to the second house.

               7. Actions in the second house: If it is passed with amendments in the second house. Then the bill shall come to the first house again for discussion.

               8. For a money bill: A money bill can only be introduced in Lok Sabha, and once passed here, the Rajya Sabha can only recommend changes within 15 days or it else it shall be deemed passed. The recommendations of the Rajya Sabha are not mandatory for the Lok Sabha to accept.

               9. Joint Session: If the bill is passed by one house and not by another. A joint session can be held to consider the bill.

               10. Presidents Assent: Once passed by both the houses or the Joint Session, the bill is then sent for the President's assent, upon which it becomes an act.

Role of Parliamentary committees in the whole process:

               1. Less Chaos: The discussions in the Parliament can often become chaotic and noisy. The committees are like mini parliament with representations form most parties, only less chaotic. 

               2. Detailed discussion: The Committees allow detailed discussions with adequate time for each member to speak.

               3. Saves time: This gives a better chance to reach to a consensus, as discussions can cover more dimensions.

               4. More time in session: The Parliament meets only for 2 to 3 months. However, the committees can function round the year.

               5. Passage before final voting: These discussions here decide, before the final voting, the fate of the bill, with detailing the view of all parties in the house.

               6. Challenges underlined beforehand: Before the bill is passed, all the challenges and oppositions to the bill come to the fore, which makes it easier to iron out the differences and makes the implimentation easy.

               7. Public opinion: The committee can take statements from the members of the public, thus opening gates for greater democratic engagement from the public.

 

Limitations of the Committees:

               1. Committee stage depends on Speaker/Chairman: Not all bills are sent to the committee.

               2. Transparency issue: Not all minutes of the meetings are publicized. Thus keeping the public in dark about the discussions on the bills.

               3. Strength in number always wins: The view of the committee doesn't always reflect the view of the house.

               4. Representation issue: Due to small size not all Parties can be represented in the committees.

               5. Convention: The controversial bills in the absolute majority house are generally not passed thorough the committee stage.

              

Conclusion: Nevertheless, the Parliamentary committees play a very important role in the Legislative process. Thus, the Parliament in session is said to be only Parliament in exhibition. The Parliament is committee is Parliament at work.

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