Sessions of Parliament

A session of Indian Parliament is the time period during which a House meets almost every day continuously to transact business. There are usually three sessions in a year. They are the Budget Session (February to May); the Monsoon Session (July to September); and the Winter Session (November to December). A session contains many meetings. Each meeting has two sittings – morning sitting from 11 am to 1 pm and post-lunch sitting from 2 pm to 6 pm.

A sitting of Parliament can be terminated by adjournment, adjournment sine die, prorogation or dissolution. Technically, a session of Indian Parliament is the period between the first sitting of a House and its prorogation or dissolution. The period between the prorogation of a House and its reassembly in a new session is called ‘recess’.

Summoning
Summoning is the process of calling all members of the Parliament to meet. It is the duty of Indian President to summon each House of the Parliament from time to time. The maximum gap between two sessions of Parliament cannot be more than six months. In other words, the Parliament should meet at least twice a year.

Adjournment

An adjournment suspends the work in a sitting for a specified time, which may be hours, days or weeks. In this case, the time of reassembly is specified. An adjournment only terminates a sitting and not a session of the House. The power of adjournment lies with the presiding officer of the House.

Adjournment Sine Die

Adjournment sine die means terminating a sitting of Parliament for an indefinite period. In other words, when the House is adjourned without naming a day for reassembly, it is called adjournment sine die. The power of adjournment sine die lies with the presiding officer of the House.

The presiding officer of a House can call a sitting of the House before the date or time to which it has been adjourned or at any time after the House has been adjourned sine die.

Prorogation

Prorogation means the termination of a session of the House by an order made by the President under article 85(2)(a) of the Constitution. Prorogation terminates both the sitting and session of the House. Usually, within a few days after the House is adjourned sine die by the presiding officer, the President issues a notification for the prorogation of the session. However, the President can also prorogue the House while in session.

# All pending notices (other than those for introducing bills) lapse on prorogation and fresh notices have to be given for the next session.

Dissolution

A dissolution ends the very life of the existing House, and a new House is constituted after general elections are held. Rajya Sabha, being a permanent House, is not subject to dissolution. Only the Lok Sabha is subject to dissolution.

The dissolution of the Lok Sabha may take place in either of two ways:

  • Automatic dissolution: On the expiry of its tenure – five years or the terms as extended
    during a national emergency.
  • Order of President: If President is authorized by CoM, he can dissolve Lok Sabha, even before the end of the term. He may also dissolve Lok Sabha if CoM loses confidence and no party is able to form the government. Once the Lok Sabha is dissolved before the completion of its normal tenure, the dissolution is irrevocable.

Note: When the Lok Sabha is dissolved, all business including bills, motions, resolutions, notices, petitions and so on pending before it or its committees lapse.

When Does a Bill Lapse in Indian Parliament?

Please remember that only the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assemblies are subject to dissolution (and there is no dissolution for Rajya Sabha and State Legislative Council).

When the Lok Sabha is dissolved, all business including bills, motions, resolutions, notices, petitions and so on pending before it or its committees lapse. They must be reintroduced in the newly-constituted Lok Sabha to be pursued further. Articles 107 and 108 of the Indian Constitution deals with these provisions. The position with respect to lapsing of bills is as follows:

Cases when a bill lapse:

  1. A bill originated in the Lok Sabha but pending in the Lok Sabha – lapses.
  2. A bill originated and passed by the Rajya Sabha but pending in Lok Sabha – lapses.
  3. A bill originated and passed by the Lok Sabha but pending in the Rajya Sabha – lapses.
  4. A bill originated in the Rajya Sabha and returned to that House by the Lok Sabha with amendments and still pending in the Rajaya Sabha on the date of the dissolution of Lok Sabha- lapses.

Cases when a bill does not lapse:

  1. A bill pending in the Rajya Sabha but not passed by the Lok Sabha does not lapse.
  2. If the president has notified the holding of a joint sitting before the dissolution of Lok Sabha, does not lapse.
  3. A bill passed by both Houses but pending assent of the president does not lapse.
  4. A bill passed by both Houses but returned by the president for reconsideration of Rajya Sabha does not lapse.
  5. Some pending bills and all pending assurances that are to be examined by the Committee on Government Assurances do not lapse on the dissolution of the Lok Sabha.

When Does a Bill Lapse in State Legislative Assembly?

The legislative council, being a permanent house, is not subject to dissolution. Only the legislative assembly is subject to dissolution. The position with respect to lapsing of bills on the dissolution of the assembly is mentioned below:

Cases when a bill lapse:

  1. A bill originated in the Assembly but pending in the Assembly – lapses.
  2. A bill originated and passed by the Council but pending in Assembly – lapses.
  3. A bill originated and passed by the Assembly but pending in the Council – lapses.

Cases when a bill does not lapse:

  1. A bill pending in the Council but not passed by the Assembly does not lapse.
  2. A bill passed by one or both Houses but pending assent of the Governor does not lapse.
  3. A bill passed by one or both Houses but returned by the president for reconsideration of the Council does not lapse.
  4. # Adjournment – terminates a sitting.
    # Prorogation – terminates a session.
    # Dissolution – terminates the life of a House.
    # Adjournment (of a sitting) does not affect the bills or any other business pending before the House and the same can be resumed when the House meets again.
    # Prorogation (of a session) does not affect the bills or any other business pending before the House. However, all pending notices (other than those for introducing bills) lapse on prorogation and fresh notices have to be given for the next session.
    # When Lok Sabha is dissolved, all business including bills, motions, resolutions, notices, petitions
    and so on pending before it or its committees lapse.
    # A bill becomes an act only after passing through various legislative stages.