News regarding private member bills
•In January 2019, NCP MP Supriya Sule has introduced a private member's bill for setting up an Employees' Welfare Authority to confer the right on every employee to disconnect from work-related telephone calls and emails beyond work hours and on holidays and the right to refuse to answer calls and emails outside work hours.
•The Right to Disconnect Bill mandates companies to detail out-of-work demands “as a way to reduce stress and ease tension between an employee’s personal and professional life.”
•Similar provisions have been implemented via the French Supreme Court, introduced in New York, and discussed in Germany.
Private Member Bill
•A Member of the Parliament who is not a Minister (i.e. not a member of the Government) is regarded as a Private Member.
•A Bill introduced in either house of Parliament by any such Member of Parliament is called a Private Members’ Bill;
•Bills introduced by Ministers are called Government Bills.
•PMBs are drafted by MPs themselves, or their offices, and are checked for legal consistency by the Parliament Secretariat.
History of PMB
•Only 14 PMBs have become law since India’s independence, the last being passed in 1970. This was Supereme Court (enlargement of Criminal Appelate Jurisdiction) Bill 1968.
•In 1977, Rajya Sabha passed a private member’s Bill to amend the Aligarh Muslim University Act. The Bill then went to the sixth Lok Sabha, where it lapsed with the dissolution of the House in 1979.
•Recently, The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014 introduced by Mr. Tiruchi Siva was passed in the Rajya Sabha after a gap of 45 years since the passing of the last PMB. It, however, lapsed as LS did not pass it.
•On 26 February 2016, the bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha for debate by Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Baijayant Panda.
•According to PRS Legislative Research, over 370 PMBs were introduced in the 15th Lok Sabha. None were passed; barely 3% were discussed and 97% lapsed without any deliberations.
Introduction of Bill
•A Private Members’ Bill is introduced in the Parliament by giving prior notice of one month along with a copy of the ‘Statement of Objects and Reasons’ wherein the Private Member explains her/ his rationale for the introduction of the Bill.
•The final order of introduction is decided by a ballot system to ensure fairness.
•On the day allotted for such Bills, the Speaker/ Chairman of the Lok Sabha/ Rajya Sabha calls out to individual Members who then introduce their Bills.
•In India, usually, alternate Friday afternoons during session time (generally between 2 pm and 6 pm) are reserved for discussions on Private Members’ Bills.
After the discussion
•Upon conclusion of the discussion, the Member piloting the Bill can either withdraw it on the request of the Minister concerned, or he may choose to press ahead with its passage.
•In the latter case, the Bill is put to vote and, if the private member gets the support of the House, it is passed.
Committee on Private Members’ Bills
•There is a Parliamentary Committee on Private Members’ Bills and Resolutions.
•This committee allots time to different PMBs and goes through all of them.
•It also helps in classifying these Bills based on their nature, urgency, and importance. This classification, in turn, determines which of the introduced Bills are discussed first.