|Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual introduction.
Body. Occasions when Joint Session of Parliament is summoned. Reasons for holding joint sessions. Exception to Joint Session.
Conclusion. Way forward.
The parliament of India consists of the lower house (Lok Sabha), Upper House (Rajya Sabha) and the President. Though both the houses of the parliament are independent in their functioning, there are instances of joint sittings as well provided in the constitution. These joint sittings are summoned by the president as and when necessary.
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.