[Solved] The Indian Constitution has provisions for holding joint session of the two houses of the Parliament. Enumerate the occasions when this would normally happen and also the occasions when it cannot, with reasons thereof ( UPSC GS-2 Mains 2017)

[Solved] The Indian Constitution has provisions for holding joint session of the two houses of the Parliament. Enumerate the occasions when this would normally happen and also the occasions when it cannot, with reasons thereof ( UPSC GS-2 Mains 2017)

As the Parliament of India is “bicameral” concurrence of both houses are required to pass any bill. However, the authors of the Constitution of India visualized situations of deadlock between the upper house i.e. Rajya Sabha and the lower house i.e. Lok Sabha. Therefore, the Constitution of India provides for Joint sittings of both the Houses to break this deadlock. Joint session of Indian parliament has been called for only three bills i.e. dowry prohibition act, 1960, banking service commission act, 1977 and POTA, 2002.

 • As per Article 108 of Constitution, a Joint session of Parliament can be summoned in the following situations.

 • If after a Bill has been passed by one House and transmitted to the other House • The Bill is rejected by the other House or

 • The Houses have finally disagreed as to what the amendments to be made in the Bill • More than six months elapse from the date of the reception of the Bill by the other House without the Bill being passed by it, the President may notify to the Houses intention to summon them to meet in a joint sitting for the purpose of deliberating and voting on the Bill unless the Bill has elapsed by reason of a dissolution of the House of the People,

 • Not all bills can be referred to a joint sitting of Parliament. There are two exceptions.

 • Money Bill

 – Under the Constitution of India, money bills require approval of the Lok Sabha only. Rajya Sabha can make recommendations to Lok Sabha, which it is not required to accept.

 – Even if Rajya Sabha doesn’t pass a money bill within 14 days, it is deemed to have been passed by both the Houses of Parliament after expiry of the above period. Therefore, a requirement to summon a joint session can never arise in the case of money bill.

 • Constitution Amendment Bill

  • Article 368 of Indian constitution require that constitution of India can be amended by both houses of parliament by 2/3 majority. In case of disagreement between both houses, there is no provision to summon joint session of parliament.
  • Occasions when Joint Session of Parliament is summoned:
  • As per Article 108 of Constitution, a Joint session of Parliament can be summoned in the following situation: To resolve deadlock when any house of the Parliament passes a bill and when the other House rejects this bill, or The houses do not agree on the amendments made to the bill, or
  • More than six months elapsed with the bill being received by the other House without it being passed. However, in calculating the period of six months, those days are not considered when house is prorogued or adjourned for more than 4 consecutive days.
  • Reason for holding joint session:
  • The makers of the Constitution of India anticipated situations of deadlock between the upper house i.e. Rajya Sabha and the lower house i.e. Lok Sabha. Therefore, the Constitution of India provides for Joint sitting of both Houses to break this deadlock. Further, joint session reflect the importance of Rajya Sabha as a check on hasty legislations by the government. Since 1950, the provision regarding the joint sitting of the two Houses has been invoked only thrice. The bills that have been passed at joint sittings are: Dowry Prohibition Bill, 1960.

 Banking Service Commission (Repeal) Bill, 1977.

 Prevention of Terrorism Bill, 2002.

  • Exceptions to Joint Session: According to the Indian Constitution, there are two exceptions when a joint sitting cannot be summoned. They are for the following bills: Money Bill: Under the Constitution of India, money bills require approval of the Lok Sabha only. Rajya Sabha can give suggestions to Lok Sabha, which it is not required to accept. Even if Rajya Sabha doesn’t pass a money bill within 14 days, it is deemed to have been passed by both the Houses of Parliament after expiry of the above period. Therefore there is no need of summoning a joint session in the case of money bills.
  • Constitution Amendment Bill: As per Article 368, the Indian Constitution can be amended by both houses of parliament by 2/3rd majority. In case of disagreement between both houses, there is no provision to summon joint session of parliament.
  • Joint sitting is an extraordinary machinery provided by the Constitution aimed to maintain a much-needed synergy between the two houses of the Parliament. Article 118 provides that President of India may after consultation with the chair of the Rajya Sabha and the Speaker of Lok Sabha may make rules for procedure of joint session of parliament.

 further reading

  • Details about Joint sitting of Parliament
  • Article 108 of the Indian Constitution provides for a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament The joint session is summoned by the President.
  • It is presided over by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha
  • The joint sitting is governed by the Rules of Procedure of Lok Sabha and not of Rajya Sabha.
  • The quorum to constitute a joint sitting: 1/10th of the total number of members of the House.
  • The Bill is passed by a simple majority of the total number of members of both the Houses present and voting in the joint sitting, Occasions when Joint Session of Parliament is summoned:
  • To resolve deadlock when any house of the Parliament passes a bill and:
  • The other House rejects this bill, or
  • The Houses do not agree on the amendments made to the bill, or
  • More than six months elapsed with the bill being received by the other House without it being passed.
  • According to Article 87 of the Constitution, there are two instances when the country’s President specifically addresses a joint sitting of both Houses. They are: At the start of the first session after a general election. This is when the reconstituted ok Sabha meets for the first time after being elected.
  • At the start of the first session every year.
  • When any foreign dignitary may addresses the Parliament e.g. Barack Obama addressed a joint session of Parliament during his visit in 2010.
  • Some Examples of Joint Sessions to resolve deadlock
  • Since 1950, the provision regarding the joint sitting of the two Houses has been invoked only thrice. The bills that have been passed at joint sittings are: Dowry Prohibition Bill, 1960.
  • Banking Service Commission (Repeal) Bill, 1977.
  • Prevention of Terrorism Bill, 2002.

 Exceptions to Joint Session

  • According to the Indian Constitution, there are two exceptions when a joint sitting cannot be summoned. They are for the following bills: Constitution Amendment Bill: According to Article 368, both houses of Parliament must pass a Constitutional Amendment bill separately. There is no provision for a joint sitting in case of a disagreement.
  • Money Bill (Article 110): As per the Constitution, money bills require the Lok Sabha’s approval only, Rajya Sabha has limited powers in this regard.
  • Joint sitting is an extraordinary machinery provided by the Constitution aimed to maintain a much-needed synergy between the two houses of the Parliament.

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