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Current Affairs

Private member Bill

Date: 13 February 2020 Tags: Constitution

Issue

A BJP member in Rajya Sabha appeared to abandon his plan of introducing a private member’s Bill on the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), a code that would be applicable to all religious communities in personal matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance and adoption.

 

Background

A private member’s Bill is different from a government Bill and is piloted by an MP who is not a minister. Individual MPs may introduce private member’s Bill to draw the government’s attention to what they might see as issues requiring legislative intervention.

 

Details

  • An MP who is not a minister is a private member and while both private members and ministers take part in the lawmaking process, Bills introduced by private members are referred to as private member’s Bills and those introduced by ministers are called government Bills.

  • Government Bills are backed by the government and also reflect its legislative agenda. The admissibility of a private Bill is decided by the Chairman in the case of the Rajya Sabha and the Speaker in the case of the Lok Sabha.

  • Before the Bill can be listed for introduction, the Member must give at least a month’s notice, for the House Secretariat to examine it for compliance with constitutional provisions and rules on legislation.

  • While a government Bill can be introduced and discussed on any day, a private member’s bill can only be introduced and discussed on Fridays.

  • As per PRS Legislative, no private member’s Bill has been passed by Parliament since 1970. To date, Parliament has passed 14 such Bills, six of them in 1956.

  • In the 14th Lok Sabha, of the over 300 private member’s Bills introduced, roughly four per cent were discussed, the remaining 96 per cent lapsed without a single dialogue.

Private Member’s Bill

Date: 30 November 2019 Tags: Bills & Laws

Issue

Several members in the Lok Sabha have requested that private members’ Bills should be taken up on Wednesdays instead of Fridays and added that time allotted for this should not be cut short.

 

Background

Private members’ bills are brought in by members of Parliament who are not ministers. These bills are taken up only on Fridays.

 

Private Member’s Bill (PMB)

  • A Member of Parliament (MP) who is not a Minister in the Union Cabinet is called a Private Member. Bills introduced by such members are called Private Member's Bills.

  • A PMB can be introduced in either the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. Bills introduced by ministers are called Government Bills.

  • Generally, the 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm slot on alternate Fridays during sessions are reserved for discussion on PMBs.

  • There are no restrictions as to what a PMB should be about. The scope of a PMB is same as that of a Government Bill. These bills can deal with any issue and can also be a Constitutional Amendment Bill.

  • Unlike a Government Bill, a PMB is not discussed by the Council of Ministers internally.

Procedure

  • PMBs are drafted by MPs themselves or by their staff. These bills are, however, scrutinised and checked by the Parliament Secretariat for technicalities and legal consistency.

  • The member has to provide a one-month notice along with a copy of the ‘Statement of Object and Reasons’. Through the statement, the member is required to elaborate on the bill.

  • In case there are multiple PMBs being proposed at the same time, a ballot system is used to determine the sequence of bills for introduction.

  • There is also a Parliamentary Committee on Private Member's Bills and Resolutions that goes through all PMBs. The committee classifies these Bills based on their urgency and importance, which in turn, determines which would be discussed first.

Why PMBs fail to pass?

  • A successful passing of PMB is perceived by many as incompetence on part of the government and intrusion into the respective ministry’s domain.

  • Governments in the past have also at times cut short the path of PMBs. If such a bill is seen getting support in Parliament, the government requests the MP to withdraw it and promises to introduce it as a Government Bill instead.

  • Without support from the ruling party of the alliance, that command majority, it becomes impossible to pass the bill especially in the Lok Sabha.