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IAS Exam: Understanding Parliamentary Terms

Mar 9, 2016 11:48 IST

    To understand the functioning of Indian Parliament, the aspirants of Civil Services IAS Exam should have proper understanding of the various terms which are commonly used during the proceedings of the Parliament. Such understandings of Parliamentary terms are very important in regard to UPSC IAS Prelims as well as IAS Mains examinations which will help Civil Services aspirants to present their answers in a proper manner.

    Here, we have provided proper definition or explanation of the Parliamentary terms which have some significant use and assigned for some specific place during the functioning of Parliament:

    “Act”: A Bill passed by both the Houses of Parliament and assented to by the President.

    “Adjournment of the debate”: Adjournment on a motion adopted by the House, of the debate on a Motion/Resolution/ Bill on which the House is then engaged to a future day or sine die as specified in the motion.

    “Adjournment of the House”: An adjournment terminates the sitting of the House which meets again at the time appointed for the next sitting. An adjournment also signifies brief break of the sitting of the House which re-assembles at the appointed time on the same day.

    “Adjournment sine die”: Termination of a sitting of the House without any definite date being fixed for the next sitting.

    “Agenda paper”: This is equivalent to the List of Business issued under rule 31(1) and contains items of business to be taken up by the House in the order in which they stand in it.

    “Appropriation Bill”: A Bill passed annually (or at various times of the year) providing for the withdrawal or appropriation from and out of the Consolidated Fund of India of moneys by Lok Sabha and moneys charged on the Consolidated Fund for the services of a financial year or a part thereof.

    “Ballot”: A method applied to determine the relative precedence of Private Members’ Bills and Resolutions, notices for Half-an-Hour discussions, Questions, Adjournment Motions, Calling Attention, or any other notice given by more than one Member simultaneously on the same subject for being taken up at the same sitting. [Rules 27, 28, 55, 57, 197, 377 and Directions 3 to 9]

    “Bill”: The draft of a legislative proposal which, when passed by both the Houses of Parliament and assented to by the President, becomes an Act.

    “Budget”: Annual financial statement of the estimated receipts and expenditure of the Government of India in respect of a financial year. The Budget is presented in Lok Sabha in two parts, namely, the Railway Budget pertaining to Railway Finance and the General Budget which gives an overall picture of the financial position of the Government of India excluding the Railways. [Article 112 and Rule 204]

    “Bulletin”: Bulletin means the Bulletin of the House. It is published in two parts, Part I containing a brief record of the proceedings of the House at each of its sittings; and Part II containing information on any matter relating to or connected with the Business of the House or Committees or other matter which in the opinion of the Speaker may be included therein. [Rule 2]

    “Calendar of Sittings”: A provisional Calendar of Sittings circulated to Members along with the summons for a session showing the days on which Lok Sabha is to sit and the nature of business to be transacted by it.

    “Casting Vote”: The vote cast by the Speaker, or person acting as such in the House and by the Chairman or person acting as such in a Committee in the case of an equality of votes on a matter. The Speaker in giving his casting vote may state his reasons for taking the side in whose favour he votes but he is not bound to give such reasons. He almost always votes in such a way as to maintain the status quo or to postpone the settlement of the question. [Article 100(1) and Rule 262]

    “Closure”: In order to bring a debate to a close, a member may rise and move “That the question be now put”. The acceptance of a closure motion lies within the discretion of the Speaker. Before he accepts it, he considers whether the question before the House has received adequate debate or not, whether or not the views of the Opposition have been adequately expressed before the House. The Speaker also intervenes by restricting the closure to occasions when a motion is made not in abuse of the rules of the House or infringement of the rights of the minority. Such a motion is generally made at the conclusion of a speech and also at times whilst a member is addressing the House and the Speaker may accept it immediately or within a few minutes after a proposal to this effect is made to the House. The convention is to leave to the Speaker much discretion as to the time and circumstances in which closures should with propriety be granted. The discretion that the Speaker exercises in the matter of accepting a proposal for closure or in refusing it is entirely absolute and is not open to debate. No debate is allowed on a closure motion. When a closure has been moved and carried, it is not considered to be in order to reflect upon the moving of the closure. Neither time nor motive of closure can be discussed. The effect of a closure is that the original question is put forthwith and decided without further amendment or debate save as otherwise provided in the rules. [Rule 362]

    “Contingent Notice”: Notice of a motion or resolution or Bill which if admitted, may be included in the List of Business with a suitable footnote that it would be taken up only after the conclusion of the business on which that notice is contingent. [Rule 333]

    “Crossing the floor”: Passing between the member in possession of the House and the Chair. To cross the floor, is a breach of Parliamentary etiquette. [Rule 349 (IV)]

    “Cut motion”: A motion for the reduction of a demand for grant by or to a specified amount. The three kinds of cut motions are:

    (i) Disapproval of policy cut: when the motion moved is “that the amount of the demand be reduced to Re. 1”;

    (ii) Economy cut: when the motion moved is “that the amount of the demand be reduced by a specified amount”; and

    (iii) Token cut: when the motion moved is “that the amount of the demand be reduced by Rs. 100”. [Rule 209]

    “Demand for Grant”: The estimate of expenditure in respect of a Ministry/Department not charged upon the Consolidated Fund of India, placed for approval before the House on the recommendations of the President. [Article 113 (2) and (3), Rule 206]

    “Dilatory motions”: Motions for the adjournment of the debate on Bills, motions or resolutions etc. or motions to retard or to delay the progress of a business under consideration of the House. Debate on such motions should be restricted to the matter contained in such motions. [Rule 341]

    “Division”: The mode of arriving at a decision on a proposed measure or question by recording votes for or against it. [Rule 367] (20) “Expunction”.—Deletion of words, phrases or expressions from the proceedings or records of the House by an order of the Speaker or from the proceedings or records of a Committee by an order of the Chairman of the Committee or the Speaker as being defamatory or indecent or unparliamentary or undignified. [Rule 380 and Direction 64]

    “Finance Bill”: A Bill ordinarily introduced each year to give effect to the financial proposals of the Government of India for the following financial year and includes a Bill to give effect to supplementary financial proposals for any period. [Rule 219]

    “Financial Bill”: Financial Bills can be divided into two categories:

    (i) In the first category are Bills which inter alia contain provisions for any of the matters specified in sub- clauses (a) to (f) of clause (1) of article 110 of the Constitution. Such a Bill cannot be introduced except on the recommendation of the President and a Bill making such provisions cannot be introduced in Rajya Sabha, and

    (ii) In the second category of Financial Bills are those Bills containing inter alia provisions which if enacted and brought into operation would involve expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India. Such Bills cannot be passed by either House of Parliament unless the President has recommended to that House the consideration of the Bill. [Article 117]

     “Gazette”:  The Gazette of India. [Rule 2]

     “Guillotine”: Putting by the Speaker of outstanding question or questions relating to the business in hand on expiry of the time allotted for its discussion. Unlike closure, the guillotine to be applied is not preceded by any motion. On the last of the allotted days at the appointed time, the Speaker puts every question necessary to dispose of all the outstanding matters in connection with the demands for grants. The guillotine concludes the discussion on demands for grants. [Rules 208(2) and 291]

    “Hear, hear”: This exclamation by members during the progress of a debate has been sanctioned by long parliamentary usage; but if it is used with immoderation or with undesirable intonation, it is declared to be out of order by the Chair.

    “Leader of the House”: The Prime Minister, if he is a Member of the House, or a Minister who is a member of the House and is nominated by the Prime Minister to function as the Leader of the House. [Rule 2]

    “Leader of the Opposition”: A member of the House who is for the time being the Leader in that House of the party in opposition to the Government having the greatest numerical strength and recognised as such by the Speaker. Explanation—When there are two or more parties in opposition to the Government, having the same numerical strength, the Speaker shall, having regard to the status of parties recognise any one of the leaders of such parties as the Leader of the Opposition and such recognition shall be final and conclusive. [Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977, Act No. 33 of 1977]

    “Lobby”:

    (i) The covered corridors immediately adjoining the Chamber and coterminous with it known as Inner and Outer lobbies. The Inner Lobby functions as the Division Lobby as and when votes are to be recorded in the Lobby. The 82 ‘Ayes’ Lobby is situated to the right of the Speaker’s Chair and ‘Noes’ to its left.

    (ii) Where the votes are not recorded either by the automatic vote recorder or by distribution of ‘Aye’ or ‘No’ slips in the House, members may be asked to go to the division lobbies to record their votes. [Rules 2, 367, 367A, 367AA and 367B]

    “Maiden Speech”: This is the first speech of a member elected for the first time in a new House. Such a member is, as a matter of courtesy, called upon by the Speaker to make his maiden speech in preference to others rising to speak at the same time. This privilege is, however, not extended by the Chair unless claimed within the term of the House to which the member was first returned.

    “Member”: Means a member of the House of the People (Lok Sabha). (31) “Member in charge of the Bill”.— The member who has introduced the Bill and any Minister in the case of a Government Bill. [Rule 2]

    “Message”: A communication from the President to a House or Houses of Parliament under articles 86(2) and 111 of the Constitution and a communication sent from one House of Parliament to the other House. [Articles 86(2) and 111 and Rules 23, 97, 103, 108, 153, 236 and 237 etc.]


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