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Internal checks fail to obstruct pushing of bills by both houses of parliament!

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Internal checks fail to obstruct pushing of bills by both houses of parliament!  

The basic function of Parliament is to make laws.

All legislative proposals have to be brought in the form of Bills before Parliament. A Bill is a statute in the draft and cannot become law unless it has received the approval of both the Houses of Parliament and the assent of the President of India. 

We have not had an iron-clad law-making process. What exists by way of a process is either bent […] or bypassed.

The problem with poorly drafted laws was summed up last year by the chief justice of India, N.V. Ramana: “We see legislations with a lot of gaps, lot of ambiguities in making laws. There is no clarity in [the] laws. We don’t know what [is] the purpose of the laws, which is creating [a] lot of litigation, inconvenient, and loss to the government as well as inconvenience to the public.


Some of the bills challenged before the Supreme Court

The year 2024 was ushered in with the news that the three new criminal laws, passed by both Houses of Parliament, only a few days ago, have been challenged before the Supreme Court. According to media reports, the petition states that the Bills were “enacted without any parliamentary debate” as most Opposition MPs were suspended.

Earlier the Forest Conservation Amendment Act, 2023 was also challenged before the Supreme Court as the Bill ignored most of the 1309 memoranda it had received which were critical of the Bill. Therefore, the sanctity of the pre-legislative consultation process was challenged.


Difference between British Parliamentary System and the Indian Model

Though India’s parliamentary form of government is modelled on the British parliamentary system, not all features were inherited.

The British model was one of ‘parliamentary sovereignty’ in which the legislature i.e. the British Parliament is the supreme law making authority and the courts did not have the mandate or power to strike down a law made by parliament if it violated people’s rights.

The Indian model, on the contrary, is one of constitutional supremacy, where each institution, including the Indian parliament, functions within the limits of its powers set by the Indian constitution. Therefore, any law made by it can be struck down by courts if it violates fundamental rights, other constitutional rights of the people, or other provisions of the constitution.


Pushing of bills face violation of rules and procedures

There have been many instances where Bills were pushed through parliament in violation of rules of procedure, conventions and all manners of propriety.

In 2017, the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill was passed in Rajya Sabha, when most Opposition MPs had left on the assurance that the Bill would not be taken up on that day.

In 2019, the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill was sprung as a complete surprise and pushed through Rajya Sabha without affording MPs any opportunity to read or analyse the Bill.

In 2020, the Farm Bills were cleared by the Rajya Sabha through voice vote amid intense protests, as MPs’ call for division (recorded vote) on the question of sending the Bills to a Select Committee was being denied.


Proprietary blog of Karma Global

Collated and Compiled by the internal staff of Karma Global with the knowledge and expertise that they possess, besides adaptation, illustration, derivation, transformation, collection and auto generation for its monthly newsletter Issue 20 of February 2024 and in case of specific or general information or compliance updates for that matter, kindly reach out to the Marketing Team – /

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