A bill and a law are the two ends of a same pole and are ideally quite confusing to understand in the first time. It is hence very easy to get confused between what is a law and what is a bill! In a civilised world, laws hold no less importance than the basic amenities for life. One of the most basic differences is that a law is the final stage whereas a bill is the first stage.
A society without laws is a society of no ethics and humanity. In our mother country, a will for a law is presented through a bill. Before knowing how does a bill become a law, here’s an overview:
What is a bill?
A bill is strictly a formal presentation of a legislation and it may or may not have a future as a law. Generally, bills are of 2 types; Government bill (presented by any minister) and Private member bill (anyone other than minister). A bill is ideally presented first in the parliament and if it passes in both the houses and gets the approval of the president, then it becomes a law. However, the opposite of this scenario could also cause the bill to lapse.
What is a law?
A law is a strict form of rule for the citizens of a country, which governs the behaviour of citizens in the respective countries. A law, unlike a bill, has a definite future with guaranteed execution. Laws generally begin as ideas which may come from a representative in the Parliament or even from an everyday citizen of a country.
If the citizen’s idea for a law can be implemented and has certain weightage then the representatives who have been contacted by that citizen do their research right and pass the bill in the parliament for further scrutiny.
How does a bill become a law?
Once the difference between a bill and a law is understood, it is very important to then understand how the journey commences further. When it comes to understanding Political Science and knowing about the Government rules and regulations, a bill becoming a law is an integral part of it.
The journey that a bill embarks on, towards becoming an enforced law, is a very detailed and in-depth process that goes through many folds of approvals. It is very vital that a bill go through each and every step set according to the parliament, get thoroughly vetted and cross examined, so that the law is then justified and fair to one and all.
Here are the generic stages/steps that are often referred to as the journey of a bill, towards becoming a law:
- The Bill is initiated at the early stage
- Initiated draft of the bill is then supposed to be proposed by a sponsor
- This proposed bill is then introduced in the Parliament for scrutiny
- Bill then goes to a committee for review, research and further inspection
- Upon committee approval, the bill gets reported
- The next stage is for the bill to be discussed and debated upon
- Thereafter, the bill gets voted on using any one of the many methods of voting a bill
- If majority is in favour then this bill now gets referred to a Senate
- Finally the bill reaches the President of a country for a decision, wherein the President can either pass the bill, refuse or veto the bill, or even choose to simply do nothing
- If the President has chosen to sign the bill then it is now officially a law that will be enforced by the government of that particular country
The journey of a bill towards becoming a law is quite a lengthy and stretched a process, but it is mandatory and quite useful since these multiple level checks are being conducted on that one idea which came as a draft in the Parliament. Often citizens wonder that how does a bill become a law and the answer to this may not be that short but it definitely is quite realistic and simple to understand.
While governance and political science might not be most lucrative of the subjects to study, they surely are relevant for every citizen, in every country. Keeping current and staying updated with your country’s government, law and order, is very ideal and hence it is in everyone’s best interest to have topics like ‘how does a bill become a law’ added to the syllabus of students in schools and colleges alike. After all there is right to knowledge for all, isn’t there?