You are on page 1of 12




Project: study of basics of legislation

TOPIC : types of bills in the parliament
ashutosh mani
Ii Semester
B.A.LL.B (Hons.)
Roll No. - 34

1 | Page

1. Introduction
2. Introduction of Bill
3. Green Paper
4. White Paper
5. Types of Bill
6. How A Bill Becomes an Act
7. Conclusion

2 | Page

A draft act of Parliament is known as a Bill.
In territories with a Westminster system, most bills that have any possibility of becoming law
are introduced into parliament by the government. This will usually happen following the
publication of a "white paper", setting out the issues and the way in which the proposed new
law is intended to deal with them. A bill may also be introduced into parliament without
formal government backing; this is known as a private member's bill.
In territories with a multicameral parliament, most bills may be first introduced in any
chamber. However, certain types of legislation are required, either by constitutional
convention or by law, to be introduced into a specific chamber. For example, bills imposing
a tax, or involving public expenditure, are introduced into the House of Commons in
the United Kingdom by convention, and in Canada's House of
Commons and Ireland's Dil as a matter of law. Conversely, bills proposed by the Law
Commission and consolidation bills traditionally start in the House of Lords.
Once introduced, a bill must go through a number of stages before it can become law. In
theory, this allows the bill's provisions to be debated in detail, and for amendments to the
original bill to also be introduced, debated, and agreed to.
In bicameral parliaments, a bill that has been approved by the chamber into which it was
introduced then "sends" the bill to the other chamber. Broadly speaking, each chamber must
separately agree to the same version of the bill. Finally, the approved bill receives assent; in
most territories this is merely a formality, and is often a function exercised by the head of
In some countries, such as in Spain and Portugal, the term for a bill differs depending on
whether it is initiated by the government (when it is known as a "project"), or by the
Parliament (a "proposition", i.e. a private member's bill).

3 | Page

Introduction of a Bill
There are various ways in which Bills may be introduced:
1. Much prominent government legislation can be traced to a political party
manifesto, where a political party establishes its intentions if elected to govern.
2. A significant number of Bills have been inspired by international treaties, such as
the Treaty of Rome or theEuropean Convention on Human Rights.
3. Suggestions within departments by reform commissions, such as the Law
Commission, and recommendations from a Royal Commission established for a
particular purpose, such as the reform of the House of Lords (the Wakeham
Commission), have also influenced Bills.
4. Any individual MP can introduce a Bill. This type of Bill is known as a Private
Members Bill. The chances of such a Bill becoming an Act are rather limited.
5. There are routine Bills, which are passed every year whichever government is in
power. Approximately a quarter of Government Bills are of this type. Examples
include Finance Bills and Consolidated Fund Bills.
The Government may also introduce a Green Paper and a White Paper as a preliminary to the
actually introduction of a Bill before Parliament. Green Papers and White Papers are types of
command papers and may be the subject of statements or debates in the House of Commons.

4 | Page

Green Paper:
A Green Paper is a consultation document, issued by the Government, which contains
proposals for future government policy to be raised for debate and discussion. Each proposal
usually includes several alternatives which are discussed before a final decision on the best
policy option is made.
The government would then issue stronger recommendations in a White Paper.

White Paper:
A White Paper is the last stage before the proposals it contains are brought before Parliament
in the guise of a Bill. It is sometimes produced following the consultation process undertaken
when the government issues a Green Paper.
Unlike a Green Paper, a White Paper is issued by the government department to which it
relates (e.g. Health, Employment, etc.) and will contain in-depth proposals for legislation.
The introduction of a White Paper is made to the House by the Secretary of State responsible
for the department sponsoring the proposals. The introduction usually includes a statement
concerning the contents of the White Paper and its implications for future legislation.

5 | Page

Types of Bills

There are three different types of Bill: Public, Private and Hybrid Bills. There is also another
kind of Public Bill called Private Members' Bills.
Different types of Bills can be introduced by:

the Government

individual MPs or Lords

private individuals or organisations

Public Bill
In the legislative process, a public bill is a bill which proposes a law of general application
throughout the jurisdiction in which it is proposed, and which if enacted will hence become
a public law or public act.

6 | Page

The term "public bill" differentiates such a bill from a private bill, which is a legislative bill
affecting only a single person, group, or area, such as a bill granting a named
person citizenship or, previously, granting named persons a legislative divorce.
In practice, a (technically) public act can have the effect of a private act by the addition of
restrictions such as limiting the act's effect to areas falling within a certain population

Private bill
A private bill is a proposal for a law that would apply to a particular individual or group of
individuals, or corporate entity. If enacted, it becomes a private Act (of Parliament). This is
unlike public bills which apply to everyone within their jurisdiction. Private law can afford
relief from another law, grant a unique benefit or powers not available under the general law,
or relieve someone from legal responsibility for some allegedly wrongful act. There are many
examples of such private law in democratic countries, although its use has changed over time.
A private bill is not to be confused with a private members bill, this being a bill introduced
by a backbencher.

Private Members bill

Private Members' Bills are Public Bills introduced by MPs and Lords who aren't government
ministers. As with other Public Bills their purpose is to change the law as it applies to the
general population. A minority of Private Members' Bills become law but, by creating
publicity around an issue, they may affect legislation indirectly.
Only a small proportion of private members' bills are enacted. This is generally because of
lack of time - a controversial private member's bill can be "talked out". In some cases,
measures that a government does not want to take responsibility for may be introduced by
backbenchers, with the government secretly or openly backing the measure and ensuring its
passage. They are sometimes known as "handout" or "whips' bills." The Abortion Act
1967 was enacted in the United Kingdom through this means, with the Bill itself being
7 | Page

introduced by a Liberal Party Member of Parliament, David Steel; through the support
from Home Secretary Roy Jenkins the Bill was given enough government time to allow a full

Hybrid Bill
A hybrid bill is a public bill which affects the private interests of a particular person or
organization. It is generally initiated by the Government on behalf of non-Parliamentary
bodies such as local authorities and is treated like a private bill for the beginning of its
passage through Parliament. This gives individuals and bodies an opportunity to oppose the
bill or to seek its amendment before a Select Committee in either or in both Houses. The bill
is then treated as a public bill.
The use of hybrid bills originated as part of the parliamentary procedure of the United
Kingdom Parliament, but the procedure is also occasionally used by overseas parliaments and
assemblies set up on similar lines to that of Westminster.


First Reading
The legislative process starts with the introduction of a Bill in either House of Parliament
Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. A Bill can be introduced either by a Minister or by a
private member. In the former case it is known as a Government Bill and in the latter case it
is known as a Private Members Bill.
It is necessary for a member-in-charge of the Bill to ask for leave to introduce the Bill. If
leave is granted by the House, the Bill is introduced. This stage is known as the First

8 | Page

Reading of the Bill. If the motion for leave to introduce a Bill is opposed, the Speaker may, in
his discretion, allow brief explanatory statement to be made by the member who opposes the
motion and the member-in-charge who moved the motion. Where a motion for leave to
introduce a Bill is opposed on the ground that the Bill initiates legislation outside the
legislative competence of the House, the Speaker may permit a full discussion thereon.
Thereafter, the question is put to the vote of the House. However, the motion for leave to
introduce a Finance Bill or an Appropriation Bill is forthwith put to the vote of the House.

Publication in Gazette
After a Bill has been introduced, it is published in the Official Gazette. Even before
introduction, a Bill might, with the permission of the Speaker, be published in the Gazette.
In such cases, leave to introduce the Bill in the House is not asked for and the Bill is
straightaway introduced.

Reference of Bill to Standing Committee

After a Bill has been introduced, Presiding Officer of the concerned House can refer the Bill
to the concerned Standing Committee for examination and make report thereon.
If a Bill is referred to Standing Committee, the Committee shall consider the general
principles and clauses of the Bill referred to them and make report thereon. The Committee
can also take expert opinion or the public opinion who are interested in the measure. After
the Bill has thus been considered, the Committee submits its report to the House. The report
of the Committee, being of persuasive value shall be treated as considered advice given by
the Committees.

Second Reading
The Second Reading consists of consideration of the Bill which is in two stages.
First Stage: The first stage consists of general discussion on the Bill as a whole when the
principle underlying the Bill is discussed. At this stage it is open to the House to refer the Bill

9 | Page

to a Select Committee of the House or a Joint Committee of the two Houses or to circulate it
for the purpose of eliciting opinion thereon or to straightaway take it into consideration.
If a Bill is referred to a Select/Joint Committee, the Committee considers the Bill clause-byclause just as the House does. Amendments can be moved to the various clauses by members
of the Committee. The Committee can also take evidence of associations, public bodies or
experts who are interested in the measure. After the Bill has thus been considered, the
Committee submits its report to the House which considers the Bill again as reported by the
Committee. If a Bill is circulated for the purpose of eliciting public opinion thereon, such
opinions are obtained through the Governments of the States and Union Territories. Opinions
so received are laid on the Table of the House and the next motion in regard to the Bill must
be for its reference to a Select/Joint Committee. It is not ordinarily permissible at this stage to
move the motion for consideration of the Bill.
Second Stage: The second stage of the Second Reading consists of clause-by-clause
consideration of the Bill as introduced or as reported by Select/Joint Committee.
Discussion takes place on each clause of the Bill and amendments to clauses can be moved at
this stage. Amendments to a clause have been moved but not withdrawn are put to the vote of
the House before the relevant clause is disposed of by the House. The amendments become
part of the Bill if they are accepted by a majority of members present and voting. After
the clauses, the Schedules if any, clause 1, the Enacting Formula and the Long Title of the
Bill have been adopted by the House, the Second Reading is deemed to be over.

Third Reading
Thereafter, the member-in-charge can move that the Bill be passed. This stage is known as
the Third Reading of the Bill. At this stage the debate is confined to arguments either in
support or rejection of the Bill without referring to the details thereof further than that are
absolutely necessary. Only formal, verbal or consequential amendments are allowed to be
moved at this stage. In passing an ordinary Bill, a simple majority of members present and
voting is necessary. But in the case of a Bill to amend the Constitution, a majority of the total
membership of the House and a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present
and voting is required in each House of Parliament.

10 | P a g e

Bill in the other House

After the Bill is passed by one House, it is sent to the other House for concurrence with a
message to that effect, and there also it goes through the stages described above except the
introduction stage.

Money Bills
Bills which exclusively contain provisions for imposition and abolition of taxes, for
appropriation of moneys out of the Consolidated Fund, etc., are certified as Money Bills.
Money Bills can be introduced only in Lok Sabha. Rajya Sabha cannot make amendments in
a Money Bill passed by Lok Sabha and transmitted to it. It can, however, recommend
amendments in a Money Bill, but must return all Money Bills to Lok Sabha within fourteen
days from the date of their receipt. It is open to Lok Sabha to accept or reject any or all of the
recommendations of Rajya Sabha with regard to a Money Bill. If Lok Sabha accepts any of
the recommendations of Rajya Sabha, the Money Bill is deemed to have been passed by both
Houses with amendments recommended by Rajya Sabha and accepted by Lok Sabha and if
Lok Sabha does not accept any of the recommendations of Rajya Sabha, Money Bill is
deemed to have been passed by both Houses in the form in which it was passed by Lok Sabha
without any of the amendments recommended by Rajya Sabha. If a Money Bill passed
by Lok Sabha and transmitted to Rajya Sabha for its recommendations is not returned to Lok
Sabha within the said period of fourteen days, it is deemed to have been passed by both
Houses at the expiration of the said period in the form in which it was passed by Lok Sabha.

Given that approximately 70% of legislation initiated by governments is not voted on when it
comes to the second readings of Bills, it can be said with confidence that the Government is
the dominant player when it comes to getting legislation passed.

11 | P a g e

Bills are discussed, on average, for 7 hours, but this allocation is not equally distributed
between or within Acts. During the Commons processes, much legislation is therefore passed
with little or no scrutiny.
Due to strong party affiliation within the UK system of government, many controversial Bills
can be forced through all of their parliamentary stages. One such Bill was the Criminal
Justice and Public Order Bill, which was opposed almost unanimously by the Opposition.
Because of the government majority, however, the Bill survived, its original content
practically unscathed, to become an Act.
This has led to concerns that the Commons is being used as a rubber stamp by governments
with large majorities and that backbenchers are becoming increasingly irrelevant when faced
with a strong and dominant executive.
Many commentators have been calling for greater scrutiny of legislation. There have been
suggestions that the role of the Committee could be expanded. For instance, perhaps a Hybrid
Committee could be created from the current Standing and Select Committees. Ministers
could be summoned to appear before such a Committee to account for certain provisions that
are either absent from or included in the proposed legislation, and to explain the reasoning
behind them.

12 | P a g e