The Constitution vests in Parliament the power to amend the Constitution. Constitution Amendment Bills can be introduced in either House of Parliament.
While motions for introduction of Constitution Amendment Bills are adopted by simple majority, a majority of the total membership of the House and a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting is required for the adoption of effective clauses and motions for consideration and passing of these Bills.
Constitution Amendment Bills affecting vital issues as enlisted in the proviso to article 368(2) of the Constitution, after having been passed by the Houses of Parliament, have also to be ratified by not less than one half of the State Legislatures.
Withdrawal of Bills
The Minister-in-charge of a Bill, who has introduced the Bill in Lok Sabha, may at any stage of the Bill move for leave to withdraw the Bill on the ground that:
- The legislative proposal contained in the Bill is to be dropped; or
- The Bill is to be replaced subsequently by a new Bill which substantially Qalters the provisions contained therein; or
- A Bill is to be replaced subsequently by another Bill which includes all or any of its provisions in addition to other provisions.
And if such leave is granted, no further motion is made with reference to the Bill.
If a Bill passed by the Rajya Sabha is pending in Lok Sabha, a motion recommending withdrawal of the Bill, on being adopted by the House, is transmitted to Rajya Sabha for concurrence.
If Rajya Sabha concurs in the motion, the motion for withdrawal of the Bill is moved in Lok Sabha and proceeded with in the usual manner and when the motion is adopted, a message to that affect is sent to Rajya Sabha. Similar procedure is followed in Rajya Sabha in the case of a Bill passed by Lok Sabha and pending in Rajya Sabha.
If a Bill passed by one House is rejected by the other House, or the Houses have finally disagreed as to the amendments to be made in the Bill, or more than six months lapse from the date of receipt of the Bill by the other House without the Bill being passed by it, the President may, unless the Bill has lapsed by reason of dissolution of Lok Sabha, call a Joint sitting of the two Houses to resolve the deadlock.
The President, after consultation with the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and the Speaker of the Lok Sabha has made the Houses of Parliament (Joint Sitting and Communications) Rules in terms of clause (3) of article 118 of the Constitution to regulate the procedure with regard to Joint sitting of the Houses.
The Bill is deemed to have been passed by both the Houses in the form it is passed by a majority of the total number of members of both the Houses present and voting at the Joint sitting.
There cannot be a Joint sitting of both Houses on a Money Bill or a Constitution Amendment Bill.
The Constitution empowers the President to take steps for resolving a deadlock on a Bill between the two Houses, but it is not obligatory upon him to summon the Houses to meet at a Joint Sitting. However, once the President has notified his intention to summon the Houses for a Joint Sitting, even the subsequent dissolution of Lok Sabha does not stand in the way of proceeding with the Bill. There is no time limit as to when the Joint Sitting should take place. It may take place at any time subsequent to the notification.
Assent of the President
The Secretariat of the House which is last in possession of a Bill initiates action for obtaining the assent of the President thereon. In the case of a Money Bill or a Bill passed at a Joint sitting of the Houses, the Lok Sabha Secretariat obtains the assent of the President. The Bill becomes an Act after the President’s assent has been given.
The President can give his assent or withhold his assent to a Bill. The President can also return the Bill, if it is not a Money Bill, with his recommendations to the Houses for reconsideration, and if the Houses pass the Bill again with or without amendments, the President can not withhold his assent to a such a Bill. The President is bound to give his assent to a Constitution Amendment Bill presented to him for assent.
Special procedure in respect to Money Bills
A Money Bill shall not be introduced in the Council of States.
- After a Money Bill has been passed by the House of the People it shall be transmitted to the Council of States for its recommendations and the Council of States shall within a period of fourteen days from the date of its receipt of the Bill return the Bill to the House of the People with its recommendations and the House of the People may thereupon either accept or reject all or any of the recommendations of the Council of States.
- If the House of the People accepts any of the recommendations of the Council of States, the Money Bill shall be deemed to have been passed by both Houses with the amendments recommended by the Council of States and accepted by the House of the People.
- If the House of the People does not accept any of the recommendations of the Council of States, the Money Bill shall be deemed to have been passed by both Houses in the form in which it was passed by the House of the People without any of the amendments recommended by the Council of States.
- If a Money Bill passed by the House of the People and transmitted to the Council of States for its recommendations is not returned to the House of the People within the period of fourteen days, it shall be deemed to have been passed by both Houses at the expiration of the period in the form in which it was passed by the House of the People.
In a general sense, any Bill that relates to revenue or expenditure is a Financial Bill. A Money Bill is a specific kind of Financial Bill, defined very precisely: it must deal only with matters specified in Article 110 (1) (a) to (g).
A Money Bill is certified by the Speaker as such, and only those Financial Bills that carry the Speaker’s certification are Money Bills.
Financial Bills that are not certified by the Speaker are of two kinds: Bills that contain any of the matters specified in Article 110, but do not contain only those matters [Article 117 (1)]; and ordinary Bills that contain provisions involving expenditure from the Consolidated Fund [Article 117 (3)].