All matters at any sitting of either House or joint sitting of both the Houses are decided by a majority of votes of the members present and voting, excluding the presiding officer. Only a few matters, which are specifically mentioned in the Constitution like impeachment of the President, amendment of the Constitution, removal of the presiding officers of the Parliament and so on, require special majority, not ordinary majority.
The presiding officer of a House does not vote in the first instance, but exercises a casting vote in the case of an equality of votes. The proceedings of a House are to be valid irrespective of any unauthorised voting or participation or any vacancy in its membership.
The following points can be noted with respect to the voting procedure in the Lok Sabha :
1. On the conclusion of a debate, the Speaker shall put the question and invite those who are in favour of the motion to say ‘Aye’ and those against the motion to say ‘No’.
2. The Speaker shall then say: ‘I think the Ayes (or the Noes, as the case may be) have it.’ If the opinion of the Speaker as to the decision of a question is not challenged, he shall say twice: The Ayes (or the Noes, as the case may be) have it’ and the question before the House shall be determined accordingly.
3. (a) If the opinion of the Speaker as to the decision of a question is challenged, he shall order that the Lobby be cleared.
(b) After the lapse of three minutes and thirty seconds, he shall put the question a second time and declare whether in his opinion the ‘Ayes’ or the ‘Noes’ have it.
(c) If the opinion so declared is again challenged, he shall direct that the votes be recorded either by operating the automatic vote recorder or by using ‘Aye’ and ‘No’ Slips in the House or by the Members going into the Lobbies.
4. If in the opinion of the Speaker, the Division is unnecessarily claimed, he may ask the members who are for ‘Aye’ and those for ‘No’ respectively to rise in their places and, on a count being taken, he may declare the determination of the House. In such a case, the names of the voters shall not be recorded.