Private Member’s Bill

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    • Recently, the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman reserved his decision to allow the introduction of a private member’s Bill to amend the Preamble to the Constitution.

    About Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2021

    • BJP Member from Kerala K J Alphons moved the motion to introduce the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in the Upper House that would amend the Preamble.
    • It seeks to replace the word ‘socialist’ with ‘equitable’, among other changes.
    • The MP has argued that the term “socialist” has “political connotations and carries a historical baggage which is not acceptable to a large section of India”.
    • The Bill seeks to change the words in the Preamble “EQUALITY of status and of opportunity” to “EQUALITY of status and of opportunity to be born, to be fed, to be educated, to get a job and to be treated with dignity”.
    • It also proposes adding “access to information technology” in the objectives of the Preamble.

    Reasons given for Dissent

    • Amendment to the Preamble is an attack on the very edifice of the Constitution.
    • Such bills are subject to the recommendations of the President under Article 117 of the Constitution.
    • As per the Supreme Court verdict in the Kesavananda Bharati versus State of Kerala, 1973, Parliament cannot change the basic structure of the Constitution and Preamble is a part of the Constitution.

    Private Member’s Bill

    • Private Member: 
      • A member of parliament (MP) who is not a minister is a private member. 
    • Private Member Bill: 
      • The Bills introduced by private members are referred to as Private Member’s Bills. 
    • Government Bill: 
      • The Bills introduced by ministers are called government Bills. 
      • The government bills have the backing of the government and reflect its legislative agenda. 
      • Whether the Private Bill has to be admitted or not is decided by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha or Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha.
    • Procedure: 
      • The MP who wants to move a Private Member’s Bill has to give at least a month’s notice, for the House Secretariat to examine it for compliance with constitutional provisions and rules on legislation. 
      • In case of multiple Bills, a ballot system is used to decide the sequence of bills for introduction.
      • The Parliamentary Committee on Private Member’s Bills and Resolutions goes through all such Bills and classifies them based on their urgency and importance.
    • Private member Bill becoming Law:
      • No Private Member’s Bill has been passed by the Parliament since 1970, according to PRS Legislative Research. 
      • So far, the Parliament has passed 14 such Bills, six of them in 1956. 
      • The 16th Lok Sabha (2014-19) witnessed the highest number of Private Member Bills introduced (999) since 2000. 
      • As many as 142 members have introduced Bills in the 16th Lok Sabha, of which 34 members have introduced 10 or more Bills.

    Differences Between Government Bill & Private Member’s Bill

    Government Bill

    Private Member’s Bill

    It can be introduced and discussed on any day.

    It is only introduced and discussed on Fridays.

    Generally, no period of notice.

    It requires a notice of a month before its introduction.

    It reflects the policies of the Government (Ruling Party). 

    Can be from the Ruling party or other parties.

    Its rejection in the house may come to the questioning of the capacity of Government. 

    Nothing such with Private Member’s Bill.

    Such a bill cannot be introduced by individual MPs.

    Individual MPs (who are not Ministers) may introduce such a bill to draw the government’s attention to what they might see as issues requiring legislative intervention.

     

    Conclusion

    • Any amendment in the Preamble would require deliberations and all party consensus. 
    • There should not be any changes which affect the basic structure of the Constitution.

    PREAMBLE

    • About: 
      • A preamble of a bill is an introductory part of the document which explains the purpose, rules, regulations, and philosophy of the document
      • A preamble gives a brief introduction of documents by highlighting the principles and fundamental values of the document. 
      • It shows the source of the authority of the document. 
    • Origin: 
      • The preamble is based on the principles written by the Constituent Assembly.
      • The Preamble of the Indian Constitution is primarily based on the ‘Objective Resolution’ written by Jawaharlal Nehru. 
    • Date of Adoption: 
      • Jawaharlal Nehru  introduced his objective resolution on December 13, 1946, later it was accepted by the Constituent Assembly on 22 January 1947.  
      • The preamble can also be called the soul of the constitution as it has everything about the constitution. It was adopted on 26th November 1949 and it was started from 26th January 1950 also known as the Republic Day. 

    Image Courtesy: IT 

    Source: IE