A private member is any MP who is not a Minister. While bills introduced by ministers are referred as government bills, private member bills are piloted by Non-minister MPs. The scope of a PMB is same as that of a Government Bill. These bills can deal with any issue and can also be a Constitutional Amendment Bill. But, unlike a Government Bill, a PMB is not discussed by the Council of Ministers internally.
How are PMBs can be introduced in Parliament?
Decision for admissibility of private member bills are taken by Rajya Sabha Chairman and Lok Sabha speakers in the respective house of parliament. Before the Private member’s bill can be listed for introduction, the members must be given at least a month’s notice. The bill is examined by House secretariat for compliance with constitutional provisions and rules on legislation before listing. PMB must be accompanied by the ‘Statement of Objects and Reasons’ wherein the Private Member explains her/ his rationale for the introduction of the Bill. While government Bills can be introduced and discussed on any day, private member’s Bills can be introduced and discussed only on Fridays. S
ome of the examples of private members bill 26th amendment: Abolished privy purses in 1971.
61st amendment: reduced the voting age from 21 to 18.
Some important facts
- According to PRS Legislative Research (PRS), 372 PMBs were introduced in the 15th Lok Sabha (2009-2014). Only 11 out of them were discussed.
- In the 14th Lok Sabha (2004-2009), only 14 out of the 328 PMBs which were discussed.
- In the 13th Lok Sabha (1999-2004), only 17 out of the 343 PMBs were discussed.
- No PMB has become law since 1970. In fact, only 14 PMBs have become laws in India since independence.
- The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014 was passed by the Rajya Sabha after a gap of 45 year, but stuck in the Lok Sabha.
Hurdles to Private Member’s bills In recent decades, government has tended to look private member’s bills as an encroachment into their domains. It is also seen as highlighting the incompetence of the government. PMBs even if receiving support from MPs, are requested to withdraw the bill, with the commitment to introduce a new version of same bill. The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014 was requested by the government to withdraw it.