Joint sitting is extraordinary machinery provided by the Constitution under Article 108
to resolve a deadlock between the two Houses over the passage of a bill. A deadlock
is deemed to have taken place under any one of the following three situations after a bill has been passed by one House and transmitted to the other House:
o If the bill is rejected by the other House
o If the Houses have finally disagreed as to the amendments to be made in the bill
o If more than six months have elapsed from the date of the receipt of the bill by the other House without the bill being passed by it.
- In the above three situations, the president can summon both the Houses to meet in a joint sitting for the purpose of deliberating and voting on the bill.
- It must be noted here that the provision of joint sitting is applicable to ordinary bills or financial bills only and not to money bills or Constitutional amendment bills. In the case of a money bill, the Lok Sabha has overriding powers, while a Constitutional amendment bill must be passed by each House separately.
- The Constitution does not provide for the mechanism of joint sitting of two Houses of the state legislature to resolve a deadlock between them over the passage of a bill.
- The Speaker of Lok Sabha presides over a joint sitting of the two Houses and the Deputy Speaker, in his absence. If the Deputy Speaker is also absent from a joint sitting, the Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha presides. If he is also absent, such other person as may be determined by the members present at the joint sitting, presides over the meeting. It is clear that the Chairman of Rajya Sabha does not preside over a joint sitting as he is not a member of either House of Parliament.
- The quorum to constitute a joint sitting is one-tenth of the total number of members of the two Houses. The joint sitting is governed by the Rules of Procedure of Lok Sabha and not of Rajya Sabha.
- The Constitution has specified that at a joint sitting, new amendments to the bill cannot be proposed except in two cases:
o Those amendments that have caused final disagreement between the Houses
o Those amendments that might have become necessary due to the delay in the passage of the bill