The Parliament of India is bicameral. Concurrence of both houses are required to pass any bill. However, the authors of the Constitution of India visualised situations of deadlock between the upper house i.e. Rajya Sabha and the lower house i.e. Lok Sabha. Therefore, the Constitution of India provides for Joint sittings of both the Houses to break this deadlock. The joint sitting of the Parliament is called by the President and is presided over by the Speaker or, in his absence, by the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha or in his absence, the Deputy-Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. If any of the above officers are not present then any other member of the Parliament can preside by consensus of both the House.
As per Article 108 of Constitution, a Joint session of Parliament can be summoned in the following situations.
If after a Bill has been passed by one House and transmitted to the other House—
(a) the Bill is rejected by the other House; or (b) the Houses have finally disagreed as to the amendments to be made in the Bill; or (c) more than six months elapse from the date of the reception of the Bill by the other House without the Bill being passed by it, the President may, unless the Bill has elapsed by reason of a dissolution of the House of the People, 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 for the purpose of deliberating and voting on the Bill
However, in calculating period of six months, those days are not considered when house is prorogued or adjourned for more than 4 consecutive days.
If the above conditions are satisfied, the President of India may summon joint sitting of both the houses of parliament.
Not all bills can be refereed to a joint sitting of Parliament. There are two exception.
1. Money Bill
Under the Constitution of India, money bills require approval of the Lok Sabha only. Rajya Sabha can make recommendations to Lok Sabha, which it is not required to accept. Even if Rajya Sabha doesn't pass a money bill within 14 days, it is deemed to have been passed by both the Houses of Parliament after expiry of the above period. Therefore, a requirement to summon a joint session can never arise in the case of money bill.
2. Constitution Amendment Bill
Article 368 of Indian constitution require that constitution of India can be amended by both houses of parliament by 2/3 majority. In case of disagreement between both houses, there is no provision to summon joint session of parliament.
Article 118 provides that President of India may after consultation with the chair of the Rajya Sabha and the Speaker of Lok Sabha may make rules for procedure of joint session of parliament.
The speaker of Lok Sabha presides over joint session of parliament.
However, in case of joint sitting of house, new amendments cannot be proposed in the bill except those which has been agreed by one house and refused by another. Only those amendments can be proposed to house which are relevant to the matter of disagreement. The decision of presiding officer shall be final in respect of admissibility of amendments.
The bills are passed by simple majority of total members present and voting. In such case bill shall be considered as deemed to have been passed by both the houses of parliament.
Joint session of Indian parliament has been called for only three bills i.e. dowry prohibition act, 1961, banking service commission act and POTA, 2002.