What Are Private Members’ Bills? Can They Fill Gaps In Existing Laws?
A Private Members’ Bill is a proposal for a new law that can be introduced in Parliament by a Member of Parliament who is not a Minister.
These bills are important because they allow MPs to address issues that may not be covered by government bills or to highlight gaps in existing laws.
However, only a few private members’ bills have actually become laws. In the current session of Parliament, there are around 300 private members’ bills listed for discussion, including bills on abolishing caste identities in educational institutions and legalizing same-sex marriage.
According to PRS Legislative, no private members’ bill has been passed by Parliament since 1970.
Private members’ bills are introduced by individual members of the legislative body. The process involves drafting the bill and giving one month’s notice, unless the Speaker allows for a shorter notice.
In the Lok Sabha, these bills are discussed on Fridays in the last two and a half hours of a sitting, while in the Rajya Sabha, they are discussed on alternate Fridays.
The House secretariat examines the bill to ensure it complies with constitutional provisions and rules before listing it. It is conventionally accepted that the motion for introduction of a bill is not opposed.
A constitutional amendment is a change made to the Constitution, which is the highest law of the land.
There are different types of constitutional amendments, including those that require a simple majority vote in Parliament, those that require a special majority vote, and those that also need to be ratified by the states.
To amend the Constitution, a bill is introduced in either house of Parliament, and it needs to be passed by a certain majority of members.
If the amendment affects the provisions of the Constitution, it also needs to be ratified by the states. Once the bill is passed by both houses and receives the President’s assent, it becomes an act and the Constitution is amended.