Adjournment Sine Die

Six days ahead of schedule, both houses of Parliament have adjourned sine die.

Parliamentary Session and Related Terms

  • During a session, both Houses meet almost daily, barring holidays, to conduct business, whether it is to discuss public issues, frame laws, amend laws, place Standing Committee reports, or pass financial bills, among other things.
  • The Houses meet three times a year: during the Budget Session (February to May), the Monsoon Session (July to September), and the Winter Session (November to December).

Session termination

  • During a session of Parliament, there are usually two sittings: one in the morning from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and one after lunch from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • The Parliament’s sittings in both Houses can only be ended by adjournment, adjournment sine die, prorogation, or dissolution (not applicable to Rajya Sabha).
  • A session of Parliament technically refers to the time between the first sitting of a House and its prorogation or dissolution.
  • A recess is a time between the prorogation of a House and its reassembly in a new session.

(1) Adjournment sine die

  • Adjournment sine die refers to the termination of a Parliamentary sitting for an indefinite period of time; that is, when the House is adjourned without naming a day for reassembly, it is called adjournment sine die.
  • The presiding officer of the House has the authority to adjourn the House sine die.
  • The presiding officer of a House, on the other hand, has the authority to 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.

(2) Adjournment

  • An adjournment suspends work in a sitting for a set period of time, which can be hours, days, or weeks.
  • The time of reassembly is specified in this case because an adjournment only ends a sitting and not a session of the House.
  • The presiding officer of the House has the authority to adjourn the House.

(3) Prorogation

  • Prorogation refers to the termination of a House session by an order issued by the President under Article 85(2)(a) of the Constitution.
  • The prorogation ends both the sitting and session of the House and is usually done within a few days of the presiding officer adjourning the House sine die.
  • The President issues a prorogation notice for the session. However, the president has the authority to prorogue the House while it is in session.
  • It should be noted that all pending notices, with the exception of those for introducing bills, expire.

(4) Dissolution

When a dissolution occurs, the existing House is dissolved, and a new House is formed following the General Elections. However, only the Lok Sabha is subject to dissolution, as the Rajya Sabha, as a permanent House, is not. The Lok Sabha may be dissolved in one of two ways:

  • On the expiration of its tenure: five years or the terms as extended during a national emergency.
  • Order of the President: If the President is authorized by the Council of Ministers, he or she may dissolve Lok Sabha before the end of the term. The president may also dissolve the Lok Sabha if the Council of Ministers loses confidence and no party is able to form a government. If the Lok Sabha is dissolved before the end of its normal term, the dissolution is irreversible.

Impact on legislation process

  • When the Lok Sabha is dissolved, all bills, motions, resolutions, notices, and petitions pending before it or its committees expire.
  • Summoning is the process of summoning all members of Parliament to a meeting.

Bill lapse in Indian Parliament

Depending on the status of the pending legislation and where it originated, the Bill may lapse upon dissolution of the Assembly.

Bills originated in Lok Sabha.

  • Any Bill that was introduced in the Lok Sabha but could not be passed dies.
  • A Bill introduced and passed by the Lok Sabha but still pending in the Rajya Sabha expires.

Bills originated in Rajya Sabha

  • The Constitution also empowers Rajya Sabha MPs to introduce Bills.
  • As a result, a Bill that originated in Rajya Sabha and was passed by it but is currently pending in Lok Sabha also expires.
  • A Bill introduced in the Rajya Sabha, returned to that House by the Lok Sabha with amendments, and still pending in the Rajya Sabha on the date of the Lok Sabha’s dissolution expires.

When a Bill does not lapse

  • Bills that have not yet become law do not all expire at the end of the Lok Sabha’s term.
  • A Bill that is pending in the Rajya Sabha but has not been passed by the Lok Sabha does not expire.
  • A Bill passed by both Houses but awaiting the President’s assent does not expire.
  • A Bill passed by both Houses but returned by the President of India to the Parliament for reconsideration does not expire.
  • Some pending Bills, as well as all pending assurances to be examined by the Committee on Government Assurances, do not expire with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha.
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