A History of Private Bill Legislation:

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Yet it was on account of the enormous cost and delay of these Bills, and the occupation of the time of Parliament with unworthy objects, that Parliament gradually devolved those proceedings on other tribunals. The result is that while Estate Acts in Parliament in the sixty-five years, to , numbered 2,, in the seventeen years, to , there were only , and the number is diminishing and ought now to cease altogether. So from to the number of Naturalisation Acts was ; between and ,owing to the process of naturalisation being devolved on the Home Office and to the amendment of the law as to aliens holding property, there were only Divorce Acts from to numbered From to there were still 5, owing to the absurdity that British, i.

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Charity Private Acts from to numbered Since the Charity Commission, and the Endowed School Commission now fused with it, have obviated the necessity of going to Parliament ; and though some bodies, like the Sheffield Town Trustees, still prefer to spend their money in Acts of Parliament, and though, except in the case of educational endowments, the powers of the Charity Commission are limited, yet now an Act of Parliament is simply a luxury indulged in only owing to solicitors' love of costs.

A similar reduction has been effected in regard to things ecclesiastical, such as church building, by the establishment of the Ecclesiastical and Church Estates Com- missioners. But perhaps the most conspicuous instance of saving time, money, and property by the adoption of the principle of devolution, is that of the Enclosure Acts. These had risen from 2 in the reign of Anne, to 16 in the reign of George I.

In the Enclosure Commissioners, now -the Land Commis- sioners, were appointed, and though more than , acres have been enclosed since, the enclosure was done without troubling Parliament and without the enormous costs previously incurred. Moreover, now that it has parted with its direct con- trol over individual enclosures, Parliament has found it much more easy to deal with principles and general legislation on the subject ; so that now enclosures are rednded to a minimum, and the public interest is effectually safeguarded in those that are made.

If, however, Parliament is to cope successfully with the ever- growing demands of public legislation, it must carry the prin- ciple still further. While Parliament kept the control of divorce, only the richissimi uomi? Women, how- ever rich, were practically as unable to obtain divorce as the poor. Since the Divorce Act, if there has not been absolute, there has been a far greater approach to equal justice between the sexes and for all classes; and it is impossible to doubt that happiness and morality have alike been benefited by the change.

The saving of money and the benefit to the country caused by the substitution of the regular and inexpensive action of the various commissions named for the interested and spasmodic and costly action of Parliament, is simply enormous. Why should not the pro- cess be extended to the railway, gas, and water, dock and harbour, and other purely commercial or municipal matters that now waste the time of Parliament and the money of the nation, merely to swell the income of a clique of surveyors, solicitors, and banisters?

Legislation : Loksaha

Clifford's answer, like Mr. Pemberton's in the Nineteenth Century, appears to be twofold. First, he says, in effect, Look at the enormous capital which has been invested in undertakings under Parliamentary sanction, which could not have been undertaken without Parliamentary sanction, and see, therefore, what immense benefits Parliament has conferred on the country, and ask how any inferior tribunal could do the like.

Clifford might just as well claim that the organ-blower was the efficient cause of Dr. Stainer's performances in St. Paul's Cathedral, as that Parliament was the cause of railway or dock building, because Parliamentary powers were necessary to their being carried out.

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If going to Parliament had been a means of compelling land- owners to accept reasonable prices for lands taken by a railway company, instead of furnishing an additional lever for additional extortion, there might be something in the plea. The vast expenses and delays and uncertainty of the proceedings might have been justified ; but every one knows that the necessity of an appeal to Parliament has had the very opposite effect, and that a pro- minent cause of the smallness of railway dividends and the host of railway failures has been the frightful expense, direct and indirect, due to Private-Bill legislation.

No tribunal could be imagined which could have performed the work with more expense, with less regard for public interests, and less foresight and intelligence, than Parliament.

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Every page of Mr. Clifford's book bears abundant evidence that once given the principle involved in the compulsory taking of land, which is the sole cause of the necessity of going to Parliament at all, Parlia- ment has been a clog and a hindrance to enterprise, not a help.

But, as Mr. Clifford shows, Parliament has, by its treatment of the two latest forms of industrial undertaking which have come under its cognisance, expressed a decided opinion that the present system of Private-Bill legislation is to be avoided. In the case both of tramways and electric lighting it has to a large extent adopted the principle of devolution.

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In both cases it has preferred to pass general Acts, leaving their application in detail to an outside tribunal, the Board of Trade, merely maintaining the nominal control which is evinced by the necessity of sub- mitting a Bill for the confirmation of the Provisional Orders for the formal sanction of Parliament.

As regards undertakings within the limits of the jurisdiction of a single Local Authority —say tramways, or gas, or water—there is no reason at all why Parliament should not devolve its jurisdiction on the Local Authority, Town Council, or County Board, when County Boards are elective and when Town Councils have gathered all local power into their own hands.

As regards " international " undertakings, which pass through, or, like the conservancy of rivers, affect more jurisdictions than one, surely the Board of Trade, or the Local Government Board, or a body like the Rail- way Commissioners, could not be more dilatory, more expensive, or more narrow-minded than Parliament itself ; while there would be one great advantage gained, that Parliament itself would approach the discussion of principles in dealing with general laws affecting such matters without bias and without fixed pre- judices.

In showing clearly that Parliament has always been a clumsy and dilatory tribunal for dealing with private and par- ticular interests, and that it has from time to time recognised its own shortcomings and devolved the work on special bodies more fitted to perform it, Mr. Clifford has done good service. The learning and industry he has brought to bear have been great ; and if when he goes into details he is inevitably dull, the general reader will find the Introduction, which forms the greater part of this volume, full of interest and novelty.

Spotted a problem with this article? Zoom page 12 September Previous page. Next page. Amendments can be moved to the various clauses by the members of the Committee. After the report of the Select or Joint Committee has been presented to the House, the member-in-charge of the Bill usually moves the motion for consideration of the Bill, as reported by the Select or Joint Committee, as the case may be. A Bill may be introduced in either House of Parliament. However,a Money Bill can not be introduced in Rajya Sabha. It can only be introduced in Lok Sabha with prior recommendation of the President for introduction in Lok Sabha.

If any question arises whether a Bill is a Money Bill or not, the decision of the Speaker thereon is final.

Rajya Sabha is required to return a Money Bill passed and transmitted by Lok Sabha within a period of 14 days from the date of its receipt. Rajya Sabha may return a Money Bill transmitted to it with or without recommendations. It is open to Lok Sabha to accept or reject all or any of the recommendations of Rajya Sabha.


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However, if Rajya Sabha does not return a Money Bill within the prescribed period of 14 days, the Bill is deemed to havebeen passed by both Houses of Parliament at the expiry of the said period of 14 days in the form in which it was passed by Lok Sabha. Like Money Bills, Bills which, inter alia, contain provisions for any of the matters attracting sub-clauses a to f of clause 1 of article can also not be introduced in Rajya Sabha. They can be introduced only in Lok Sabha on the recommendation of the President. However, other restrictions in regard to Money Bills do not apply to such Bills.

The Constitution vests in Parliament the power to amend the Constitution. Constitution Amendment Bills can be introduced in eitherHouse of Parliament. While motions for introduction of Constitution Amendment Bills are adopted by simple majority , a majority of the total membership of the House and a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting is required for adoption of effective clauses and motions for consideration and passing of these Bills.

Constitution Amendment Bills affecting vital issues as enlisted in the proviso to article 2 of the Constitution after having been passed by the Houses of Parliament, have also to be ratified by not less than one half of the State Legislatures. Article 1 of the Constitution provides that when a Bill other than a Money Bill or a Bill seeking to amend the Constitution passed by one House is rejected by the other House or the Houses have finally disagreed as to the amendments made in the Bill or more than six months lapse from the date of the receipt of the Bill by the other House without the Bill being passed by it, the President may, unless the Bill has lapsed by reason of dissolution of Lok Sabha, notify to the Houses by message, if they are sitting, or by public notification, if they are not sitting, his intention to summon them to meet in a Joint Sitting.

The President has made the Houses of Parliament Joint Sittings and Communications Rules in terms of clause 3 of article of the Constitution to regulate the procedure with respect to Joint Sitting of Houses. So far, there have been three occasions when Bills were considered and passed in a Joint Sitting of the Houses of Parliament.

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After a Bill has been passed by both the Houses of Parliament, it is presented to the President for his assent. The President mayeither assent to the Bill, withhold his assent, or return the Bill, if it is not a Money Bill, with a message for reconsideration of the Bill, or any specified provisions thereof, or for considering the desirability of introducing any such amendments as he may recommend in his message.

The President may either give or withhold his assent to a Money Bill. A Money Bill can not be returned to the House by the President for reconsideration. Also, the President is bound to give hisassent to Constitution Amendment Bill passed by Parliament by the prescribed special majority and, where necessary, ratified by the requisite number of State Legislatures.

Branch, Lok Sabha Secretariat. Papers Laid on the Table of the House.