Context: Manipur discussion not allowed in Rajya Sabha under Rule 267
The adjournment motion is a form of censure of the government which has its origin in the House of Commons in the United Kingdom.
In India under the rules of the pre-independent bicameral legislature established under the Government of India Act of 1919 provide for the adjournment.
- The central assembly and legislative council members could move the adjournment motion in their Houses.
- Presiding officers of these Houses allowed adjournment motions because members did not have other procedural devices for raising urgent matters.
- The British administration was not under the legislature’s control, it was one of the few procedural measures for members to express their concerns over a particular serious matter.
After the passage of the Indian Constitution, two changes came about to it:
- The Council of Ministers became collectively responsible to Lok Sabha.
- In 1952, the adjournment motion was placed in the Lok Sabha Rule Book. Therefore, it was left out of Rajya Sabha.
- The Speaker to decide whether to allow the Member of Parliament to move the motion.
Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Lok Sabha
Rule 56 states that
“Subject to the provisions of these rules, a motion for an adjournment of the business of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance may be made with the consent of the Speaker”
Restriction on adjournment motion (Rule 58)
- Not more than one such motion shall be made at the same sitting
- Not more than one matter shall be discussed on the same motion
- The motion shall not raise a question of privilege;
- The motion shall not revive discussion on a matter which has been discussed in the same session
- The motion shall not anticipate a matter which has been previously appointed for consideration.
- the motion shall not deal with any matter which is under adjudication by a court of law having jurisdiction in any part of India;
- The motion shall not raise any question which under the Constitution or these rules can only be raised on a distinct motion by a notice given in writing to the Secretary-General.
Very exceptional device
- Rajya Sabha cannot use it.
- Availability of other devices like question hours, zero hours, calling attention motion etc.
- Rarely granted by the speaker as it put normal legislative business at halt.
- As an urgent public matter is the prerequisite for acceptance of the motion.
Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Rajya Sabha
Rule 267 titled as the suspension of rules states that
“Any member, may, with the consent of the Chairman, move that any rule may be suspended in its application to a motion related to the business listed before the Council of that day and if the motion is carried, the rule in question shall be suspended for the time being: Provided further that this rule shall not apply where specific provision already exists for suspension of a rule under a particular chapter of the Rules.”
It should be noted that Rule 267 only suspends a Rule, only to take up matters that are already on the list of business.