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How are Bills Passed in Indian Parliament – Lok Sabha / Rajya Sabha ?

January 1, 2015

Breaking News - Exclusiveou all know with the May-16th Verdict of Lok Sabha being the people’s representation in the Parliament of India with 544 members. However, not everybody knows about how Rajya Sabha is constituted and its importance in running the nation.

The name of the second chamber in the Indian parliament (Rajya Sabha or Council of States) highlights its significance in India’s federal structure of governance. Members of the RS are elected by elected members of the state legislative assemblies and thus, represent the interests of their states. In other words, the Rajya Sabha provides a balancing role to the central government in India’s federal structure. The RS has similar powers to the Lok Sabha except in the case of money bills. Any legislation requires the approval of both houses of parliament.

The RS’s mandated strength is 245, out of which 12 are nominated by the President. Members are elected or appointed for six years, with a third of the house retiring every two years. Every state and union territory has a defined number of RS MPs it can elect—elected members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) elect these members.

The BJP led NDA has 59 out of the 243 members of the RS. The other parties that have the largest number of members form the core of the opposition: government can expect little support from them without convincing them of the merits of any legislative agenda.

Constitutional amendments require majority approval of the Rajya Sabha
As regards a Constitution Amendment Bill, it has been provided in the Constitution that such a bill has to be passed by the specific majority [2/3rd], as prescribed under article 368 of the Constitution, by both Houses.

What about Joint Session Option for Narendra Modi ?
The government may look at the option of joint sessions to overcome its minority position in the RS. Its combined strength in the two houses of parliament is just at the half-way mark and it will certainly gain more seats in the RS over a period of time given the performance of the BJP and its allies in recent state elections. Article 108 of the Constitution empowers the President to summon a joint session of both houses to deliberate and vote on a bill. However, there are three caveats—a joint session can be called if (1) after a bill has been passed by one house it is rejected by the other house, (2) there is disagreement between the two houses on amendments to be made in the bill or (3) more than six months have lapsed since the reception of the bill by the other house without it being passed by it.

Narendra Modi Government will not Get majority in Rajya Sabha even in 2019
The government will have a minority position in the RS until late in its term. 62 RS seats will come up for re-election in 1QFY19E; the government may not get majority even in its last year. Thus, consensus building will be the way ahead for nation building.

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