The Indian Constitution has provisions for holding joint sitting of the two houses of the Parliament. Enumerate the occasions when this would normally happen and also the occasions when it cannot, with reasons thereof.
Joint sitting is extraordinary machinery provided by the Constitution to resolve a deadlock between the two Houses over the passage of a bill. The joint sitting of the Parliament is called by the President and is presided over by the Speaker or, in his absence, by the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha or in his absence, the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
PROVISIONS FOR JOINT SITTING OF PARLIAMENT
JOINT SITTING OF THE TWO HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT CAN BE CALLED ON FOLLOWING OCCASION:
In case of deadlock: A deadlock is deemed to have taken place under any one of the following three situations after a bill has been passed by one House and transmitted to the other House:
- if more than six months have elapsed from the date of the receipt of the bill by the other House without the bill being passed by it.
- On the above occasions, the president can summon both the Houses to meet in a joint sitting for the purpose of deliberating and voting on the bill.
Reason: 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.
JOINT SITTING OF THE TWO HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT CANNOT BE CALLED ON FOLLOWING OCCASIONS
- The provision of joint sitting is not applicable to money bills. Reason: In the case of a money bill, the Lok Sabha has overriding powers. The powers and status of the Rajya is not equal and coordinate with that of the Lok Sabha. Rajya Sabha cannot amend or reject a Money Bill. It should return the bill to the Lok Sabha within 14 days, either with recommendations or without recommendations.
- There is no provision for holding a joint sitting of both the Houses of Parliament if there is a deadlock over the passage of a constitutional amendment bill. Reason: To maintain the federal equilibrium, the Constitutional amendment bill must be passed by each House separately, otherwise the Lok Sabha with greater number will win the battle in a joint sitting.
INSTANCES WHEN JOINT SITTING HAS BEEN CALLED
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.