Q. Sessions of Parliament
The sessions of Parliament are convened at the discretion of the President. However, there should not be a gap of more than six months between two sessions. The President has the power to summon or prorogue either or both Houses of Parliament. The power of adjournment belongs to the respective presiding officers. Adjournment of a house does not terminate the session of the house.
It merely postpones the proceedings of the house to a future date. But prorogation brings an end to a session of the house. The parliament ordinarily meets in three sessions in a year. These are the Budget Session (Feb-May) , Monsoon session (July-August) and Winter session(Nov-December).
Functions and Powers of the Parliament
(1) Providing the cabinet
(2) Control of the cabinet
(3) Criticism of the cabinet and of the individual ministers
(4) An organ of information
(6) Financial control
(7) According to Art368 Parliament can amend the Constitution of India.
(8) Electoral-Parliament participates in the election of the President and Vice President of India
(9) Power of removing functionaries like the President and Vice- President and judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts.
Joint sessions of Parliament
The President can call joint sessions of the two Houses if a bill passed by one House is rejected by the other House or if the amendments proposed to a bill by one House are not acceptable to the other House, does not take any action on a bill remitted to it for six months. Decision is taken by a majority of the total members present.
The deadlock over a bill in a joint sitting is resolved by present and voting. Since the Lok Sabha has a larger membership in a joint sitting generally the will of the Lok Sabha prevails. After the passage of the bill in a joint sitting it is presented to the President for his assent. But no joint sitting can be summoned to resolve a deadlock in case of a Money bill or a Constitutional Amendment bill.
The primary function of Parliament is law making. Art 107 to 122 of the Constitution deal with the legislative procedure with reference to the passing of the bills in the Parliament. A Bill may be classified under four heads viz., Ordinary, Money, Financial and Constitutional Amendment bills. Money and financial bills cannot be introduced in the Rajya Sabha.
The other bills can be introduced in either house of the Parliament. Bills are of two type’s viz., Government and private members’ bills. Money, financial and an ordinary bill under Article 3 can be introduced only on the recommendation of the President. It means they cannot be introduced as Private Members bills. The legislative procedure adopted for passing Government and Private members’ bills is the same.
The different stages in the legislative procedure in the Parliament-
(a) Introduction of the Bill. The first stage of legislation is the introduction of a Bill. After the Bill has been introduced in the house it is published in the Gazette of India. The introduction of the bill and its publication in the Gazette constitutes the First reading of the Bill.
(b) Second reading of the Bill- At this stage the bill is discussed in thoroughness.
There are different courses of action open at the second stage,
- The bill may be taken into consideration at once,
- The Bill may be referred to a Select committee or a Joint committee of the House
- The bill may be circulated for the purpose of eliciting public opinion on it.
(c) Third reading of the Bill. This is the final reading which is more or less a formal affair.
After the bill has been accepted by the House it is deemed to have been passed by the House. It is
then transmitted to the other House where it has to pass through the same process. The other House has four alternatives before it.
(1) It may pass the bill with no amendment. In that case the bill will be deemed to have been passed by both houses.
(2) It may pass the bill with amendments. In this case, the bill will be returned to the originating House. If the House which originated the bill accepts the bill as amended by the other House, it will be deemed to have been passed by both Houses. However if the originating house does not agree to the amendments made by the other House and if there is final disagreement as to the amendments between the two Houses the President may summon a joint sitting of the two Houses to resolve the deadlock
(3) It may reject the bill altogether. Then the President may under Art 108 summon a joint sitting to resolve the deadlock.
(4) It may take no action on the Bill by keeping it lying on its table. In such a case if more than six months elapse from the date of reception of the bill, then it is deemed that there this a deadlock between the two Houses and the President may summon a joint sitting of the Parliament.
After the bill has passed through both the Houses or through a joint sitting of the Parliament or it is ratified by not less than half of the state legislatures as the case may be, it is presented to the President for his assent.
If it is a Money Bill or a Constitutional Amendment bill, he has to give his assent to the bill. But in case of a bill other than these two, the President may return the bill for the reconsideration of the Parliament with his recommendation.
If the Bill is passed by both the Houses again, with or without amendment as recommended by the President , it is sent to the President for the second time. At this stage the President cannot withhold his assent . The bill after receiving the assent of the President becomes an Act.