The process of passing a new law can be broadly divided into four steps:
Step 1: Need for new legislation, or amendment of existing law. This can be done by the government or by citizen groups that can make the public aware of the need for the law.
Step 2: The relevant department writes the text of the proposed law, called ‘Bill’. The Bill is being circulated to other relevant departments for comment. Comments from the public on the proposed framework can also be invited. For example, recently, UIDAI has invited public comments on the National Authorities Framework Bill. Following this, the draft is being revised to include such inputs and amended by the Legal Department. It is then submitted to Cabinet for approval.
Step 3: After Cabinet approved the Bill, it was introduced in Parliament. Under India’s political system, Parliament is a legislative (or legislative) body. All Bills read three readings in both houses before they become law.
During the First Reading the Bill was introduced in Parliament. The introduction of the Bill can be challenged and the matter can be voted on in the House. In August 2009, the Minister of Justice withdrew the proposal to introduce the Judiciary Bill (Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities) as many members of Parliament opposed the Bill, on the grounds that it violated the Constitution.
After the introduction of the Bill, the Chief Executive Officer of the House (Speaker in the case of Lok Sabha, Chairperson in the case of Rajya Sabha) may refer the Bill to the relevant Representative Committee of the Department for consideration.
The Standing Committee considers the broader objectives and specific sections of the Bill to which they refer and may invite public comment on the Bill. For example, the Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forestry has invited proposals for the Nuclear Economic Harms Bill, 2010.
Bills under various departmental structures can be submitted to the Joint Committee.
The Committee then submits its recommendations in the form of a report to Parliament.
In Second Reading (Consideration), the Bill is thoroughly scrutinized. Each section of the Bill is referred to under the House and may be adopted, amended or rejected.
During the Third Reading (Pass), the House votes for a re-enacted Bill.
If the Bill is passed in one House, then it is sent to another House, where you go through the second and third readings.
During the second reading, the Government, or any member of Parliament, may make amendments to the Bill, some of which may be based on the recommendations of the Standing Committee. However, the Government is not obliged to accept the Committee’s recommendations.
Step 4: After both houses of Parliament have passed the Bill, they are presented to the President for approval. You have the right to seek information and clarification about the Bill, and may refer it back to Parliament for consideration. (This can only be done once. If both Houses pass the Bill again, the President must approve it.)
Step 5: After the President approves, the Bill is introduced as a Bill. Thereafter, the Bill is implemented and the rules and regulations for the implementation of the Act are introduced by the relevant department, and are tabled in Parliament.