Joint Session of Parliament: How NDA stands

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Joint Session of Parliament: NDA's stand
The current NDA government at the Centre although has an overwhelming presence in the Lok Sabha or the Lower House of the Parliament, it lacks majority in the Rajya Sabha or the Upper House [See seats in details].

Current scenario in the Rajya Sabha:

Total members: 242 (Halfway mark: 122)

BJP: 42

NDA: 57

Congress: 69

UPA: 102

In this situation, passing a bill (new or those lapsed in the previous Lok Sabha) is a worry for the new government and it requires support from both the Houses for getting a bill passed to become a law. Here a Joint Sitting of the Parliament becomes relevant.

Constitutional provision for Joint Session

As per Article 108 of the Indian Constitution, a joint sitting of both Houses can be convened if a bill

a) has been passed by one House but rejected by another or
b) if the two Houses disagreed on the amendments to be made in the bill
c) if over six months have elapsed after a bill has been passed by one House but is not passed by the other.

A joint sitting is presided over by the Lok Sabha Speaker and a simple majority is required to get a bill passed. It is then sent to the President for his assent.

Under Article 118 of the India Constitution, the President can call a joint session of the two Houses to pass a bill which is not a constitutional amendment one.

Joint session figures in the current Parliament:

Total members: 785 (543 in Lok Sabha and 242 in Rajya Sabha)

Majority mark: 393

NDA: 391 members (BJP has 330)

UPA: 162 members (Congress 113)

Others: 232 members

Bills passed in joint sitting so far:

Only three bills have been passed at joint sessions in the history of the Indian Parliament. They are the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (session was called on May 6 and 9, 1961), the Banking Service Commission Repeal Bill, 1977 (session was called on May 17, 1978) and the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (session on March 26, 2002). A fourth session was called in 2008 for the Women Reservation Bill but it could not be passed.

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